WORDS: JUNE-MEE HONG
PHOTOS: SASHA CHAROENSUB // SashaBPhoto
It’s hard not to take notice of the new kid on the block SXMusic Festival considering the striking chatter around it chanting its praises and compliments on the electronic festival circuit. Those of us few thousand lucky attendees left the five day paradisiacal extravaganza held March 9-13th with nothing but amazingly positive vibes, vibrant memories, love of new and old friends from all around the globe, and most importantly, the promise that SXM will only get better with each subsequent year.
The inaugural episode of the highly anticipated boutique festival held on the quaint and quirky Caribbean island of Saint Martin with its half French half Dutch identity, welcomed music lovers, industry heads, and the hottest global DJs, including Jamie Jones, Lee Burridge, Maceo Plex, Dubfire, Chaim, Guy Gerber, Psychemagik, H.O.S.H., Apollonia, and Adriatique with open arms. SXMusic did not disappoint. Its accessible array of oceanside activities allowed the attendees to truly have unique individual and communal experiences with breathtaking beaches, quality sounds, villa parties, and massive nightclubs at our fingertips for every hour of the five day journey.
After settling into what can only be called paradise on Wednesday with acts like M.A.N.D.Y and Audiofly, and getting our bearings down in order to navigate the five main day and night venues, Thursday kicked off with the wild tech Mixmag party at Palm Beach where Brooklyn acts (represent!) Bedouin and Thugfucker wowed the crowds with heavy dark beats that kept them dancing for hours. The Palm Beach at Orient Bay set up was undoubtedly one of the best of the festival considering its ideal location on the beach with the sound of waves accompanying magical sets that lasted each day from noon until midnight. Not to mention the venue’s jungle hut DJ booth set-up designed with phantasmagorical fauna hanging from its ceiling, a monumental blowup full moon by its side swaying in the sea salt winds, and scintillating beams of color that lit up the beach crowds as day turned to night. Thursday’s deep vibes continued on Le Shore nightclub on the Dutch side of the island where H.O.S.H, Jade, and Swiss duo Adriatique spun unforgettably danceable sets throughout the night.
With two days down, festivalgoers entered the weekend with even more excitement than upon arrival simply due to the awe inspiring series of events involving ultimate relaxation sessions in the sun, private villa parties, and otherworldly music already under our belts… but also with the bittersweet knowledge that we had a finite time left in our beautiful bubble of a world. Friday’s Ellum festivities graciously allowed us to choose between day and night parties where both lineups repeated themselves. With mix master Maceo Plex’s day set being unfortunately cancelled due to rain, it worked out perfectly as he laid down the most wickedly dark and deep tracks during his late night set at Tantra nightclub after a more Burning Man-esque Blond:ISH set at Sky Beach. One of the highlight nights of the festival included Maceo Plex b2b with Rebolledo and Danny Daze sets that had the SXMusic family popping well into the dawn hours inside the beautifully East Asian motif decorated club.
Saturday’s Paradise Party on Palm Beach featured the lovely and talented Lauren Lane who we were extremely excited to reconnect with after her performances at BPM in Tulum a couple months ago. As one of the hottest female DJs on the global electronic market these days who just launched EP “Diary of a Madwoman” under Eats Everything’s label Edible, Lauren eased the beach crowds perfectly into the dusk skies with her chilled out beach sounds with underlying tech house tones that resuscitated hundreds of tired bodies back to life.
Saturday’s Palm Beach celebrations continued on with unbelievably memorable sets by DJ Wild, Kenny Glasgow, Patrick Topping, and Jamie Jones. While more crowds joined from the VIP Jungle Party that same afternoon that took place in the lush Loterie Farm featuring Chaim, DJ Wild spun an idealistic deep and darkly psychedelic set through dusk followed by a sexy series of tracks by the smoothly animated Kenny Glasgow. Heavy rains scared most of the crowds shortly after, but the true soul of the festival persisted as die-hard fans held up a massive tarp, banding together in comradery to continue the beat of the dance.
Finally, after all of those endless hours of day to all night partying, the festival culminated in the pinnacle and prize of the entire journey that was the Sunrise Party at a special beachside venue, Layla’s, starting early Sunday morning at 5AM. The crisp after-rain ocean breeze and eager sunshine crept up to greet us with all but affectionate beams as we congregated for a flawless morning of benevolence amongst new and old friends soundtracked with tropically deep beats by the ever talented founding father figure Lee Burridge and melodically versatile YokoO. This tucked away Zion hosted lush chill out areas and beachfront waves, manifesting seven magical hours of truly-living-in-the-eternal-now that carries the heart and soul of beachside electronic festivalgoers. As we all shared stories, future plans to reunite, and corporeal connection to two of the best sets meshing transcendental tones with deep house dance enticing beats, Sunday morning’s sunrise party painted the most ethereal picture in all of our minds.
Mirroring the romantically strange and entrancing aura of Edgar Allan Poe’s words, “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream,” the Sunrise party and the entire whirlwind of wondrous events and celebrations of life for five days carved out slices of heaven for each and every one of us involved. After its immensely successful launch year, SXMusic has already taken the beach festival hearts by storm, establishing itself as the star to watch for the coming years and will undoubtedly continue to charm the scene with its exquisite, intimate nature and celestial authenticity that is rare to find in the modern EDM world.