Exclusive Interview: SXMusic Festival Takes the Caribbean

08 January 2016 - - - The DJ List


The most exciting new festival for 2016 just got even better with a third wave of acts and brand partners now being unveiled. SXMusic Festival takes place in the Caribbean paradise island of St. Martin in March 2016 and prides itself on carefully curated line-ups – featuring the world’s best DJs – playing extended sets in very, very special locations.

SXMusic Festival (Phase 3 lineup announced) | March 9th - 13th | Saint Martin | Caribbean from SXMusic Festival on Vimeo.

The full lineup has just been released and features REBOLLEDO, DJ W!LD, The Mekanism, GAB RHOME, GARDENS OF GOD, Oceanvs, Orientalis, MIA LUCCI, Chaim, DEMI, Greg Piddock, JADE, Vanjee, SLEEPY & BOO. These artists will join an already stacked announced of SHAUN REEVES and RYAN CROSSON, Canadian synth specialists My Favourite Robot, Dynamic’s main man H.O.S.H., BEHROUZ, Brooklyn based duo Bedouin, Ibiza favorites AudioFly, tech house giants M.A.N.D.Y. and No.19 artists Maher Daniel and NITIN. KENNY GLASGOW, ODD PARENTS, Shall Ochin and LAUREN LANE also play with the initial headliners including JAMIE JONES, DUBFIRE, DJ TENNIS, LEE BURRIDGE, ADRIATIQUE, THUGFUCKER, BLOND:ISH, FRANCESCA LOMBARDO and PSYCHEMAGIK.

Brand partners such as Paradise, Ellum, Mixmag, Apollonia, Coda Toronto, Electric Island, Tape London, and many more will be helping to make SXMusic Festival run as smoothly as possible. We sat down with two of the major contributors for SXMusic Festival; Joel Smye and Julian Prince for an inside look on the festival.

How did the idea of SXMusic Festival come to fruition?

Julian: I’ve had this dream since 2005 but didn’t feel the electronic music industry was robust enough to support a destination festival. Now we have the research and analytics to confirm people will travel to enjoy what I believe to be the perfect harmony between relaxation and shared experience.

There are some differences between St. Martin vs St. Maarten, can you tell us some of the little differences? Why St. Martin for the location? How are the locals different from the two sides?

Joel: When Julian first brought me here, I was struck by the marked differences between the two sides. It’s literally two countries coexisting on 37 square miles of island peacefully and it’s a vibe that’s unmatched anywhere in the world I’ve ever been!

Julian: Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is known as the “friendly island” and the locals on either side welcome you with open arms and helpful insights as long as you treat them with a happy greeting and respect. I’ve enjoyed bringing friends and local business owners together from both sides of the island. I fell in love with the unique blend culture that creates Saint Martin’s island vibe from day one. If it was simply French or Dutch I might have lost interest in building this dream ages ago…

Can you describe SXMusic Festival to everyone and tell us what makes your festival stand out from all the other parties?

Julian: We have the best DJs in the world and an assortment of unforgettable venues we’ll be transforming to create an unforgettable adventure. For 5 days and nights expect a consistently evolving and dynamic presentation that embraces the island’s unique beauty. We have an international team leading our scenography and production with an exceptionally strong pedigree.

Joel: All artists are encouraged to play longer sets, and many will be staying for a few days to sample the island which will create a very industry and VIP feel. As people who've spent a lot of time around the world at festivals, our team is working hard to deliver the smoothest fan experience from arrival to departure at SXM airport.

Whats been some of the challenges you've faced so far in doing this festival for the first time in the Caribbean?

Joel: Operating on both the French and Dutch side of the island require us to do everything twice, from government approvals to venue agreements to speaking with the police, EMTs and fire department. Permitting and insurance in two remotely governed provinces is no walk in the park.

How many different venues do you plan on having for the festival?

Julian: Saint/Sint martin/Maarten is full of unbelievable spots for a party. We’re not overlooking anything in our quest to deliver something that’s worth planning into your travel schedule for year after year.

Joel: We have massive day-into-night events at key beaches, marinas and jungles but after dark we activate select clubs, villas and exclusive yacht after events to give SXMusic an aspirational edge few festival offerings can boast.

A good sound system at parties/events is important to a lot of people. Can you tell us more about The VOID sound system?

Joel: Some people forget that it’s as important to make the DJs as comfortable with the sound system as the fans. We’ve partnered with VOID and AIS Audio to create an entirely custom VOID rig for SXMUSIC. It’s built to sound amazing and will fit right in against the backdrop of a windswept tropical paradise. A lot of strategy has gone into creating something that’s modular so we can easily transport it from one naturally beautiful location to another!

Can you give a rough estimate of how many people you're expecting to come to SXMusic Festival?

Julian: When we began we were convinced our entire attendance would be comprised of North Americans and Europeans because the Caribbean is usually dominated by reggae music. But it’s been very interesting to see the local reaction as there is a large contingent deep house and techno fans from other islands like Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Martinique and more that have all taken advantage of our early bird ticket pricing and led us to an early sellout at that tier.

This festival will succeed based on the quality of what we’re presenting, not by how many people we’re cramming onto a small island. Exclusivity is what defines the French West Indies and we plan on embracing that to the fullest. We’ve even seen significant ticket purchases from as far away as Australia, and Tokyo!

Any activities or tours outside of the festival that people should explore?

Joel: From Kite surfing to scuba diving to parasailing to zip-lining, Saint Martin offers it all. You can enjoy fine dining on the French side and casino gaming on the Dutch with a selection of other after hours activities that are unmatched around the world. We have negotiated preferred rates for all attendees by mentioning “Island Style” and they can enjoy 10% savings everywhere on the island

Any tips for first time travelers to St. Martin?

Julian : Saint Martin is a duty free island which means extreme savings on everything you might find in your local airport's duty free shops...except somehow it's even cheaper.

Joel: Never underestimate the value of bug spray and sunscreen and bring a power converter if you’re staying on the French side. Let your bank know you’ll be using your card abroad to prevent any blocks! Also, we're going to create a much more comprehensive guide for all travelers that will be released in late January.

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Dale Take
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