Music, arts, and lots of surprises @ SXM Festival

Music, arts, and lots of surprises @ SXM Festival

With more than 80 local and international artists, surprising art installations, and some of the island’s most stunning venues, it is no wonder that SXM Festival attracts thousands of visitors to our shores each year. But why leave this extraordinary event to those who flock here from abroad for five days of musical bliss? With sharply reduced resident rates, the festival wishes to encourage locals to come out and dance in the sand at Boho Beach Club and experience the wonderland at Happy Bay.

After five successful events, the 6th edition of the festival will be one for the books. “It is going to be very special,” Festival Founder Julian Arbia said at a press conference at Hommage Hotel in Nettle Bay on Tuesday.

According to the organisers, this year’s festival will feature lots of surprises and new partnerships to promote the excellence of the Caribbean. Attendees from more than 50 countries will enjoy music by local deejays as well as regional food and drink options.

Electronic music lovers are in for a real treat this year. According to Artistic Director Driss Skali, St. Maarten / St. Martin has grown into an electronic music hotspot over the years. “When we started this [SXM Festival] in 2016, there was almost no electronic music scene on the island. But over the years, we created something, and there is so much talent from the island that we are trying to promote.”

This year, the line-up features over 35 local deejays, which comprises about 30% of the total line-up to expose local talent and mix them with big international names such as Black Coffee for a “melting pot” of old school, new school, local and international artists. 

“We’re really trying to push diversity,” Skali says. Besides the local aspect, almost 20% of the line-up promotes female talent. “I’m sure everyone is really going to enjoy the music programme this year,” he concludes.

SXM Festival kicked off on Tuesday, March 7, with DJ Kidzman, Vito, Moodsh!ne, Sush and a special guest at the Warm-Up Party at Mykonos. And the long-awaited festival experience, which began yesterday, Wednesday 8, at Boho Beach Club and Happy Bay, will continue until Sunday, March 12.

Happy Bay

Happy Bay is the heartbeat of SXM Festival. This popularised secluded beach, nestled tightly in lush nature next to Friar’s Bay, is usually quiet and relaxing. But in March, Happy Bay transforms into a wonderland as the main site of SXM Festival from sunset to sunrise. Talented visual artists from around the globe trek to the island months in advance to handcraft the iconic Arc Main Stage and the immersive and intimate Ocean Stage.

Boho Beach Club

Boho Beach Club in Nettle Bay is the perfect place to chill out and escape during the day with a stellar DJ line-up. Dance with your feet in the sand as the sun filters through the lush nature overhead and mixologists prepare exquisite cocktails. Immerse yourself in a real Caribbean experience.

Also, by attending satellite parties at various venues, party animals can take full advantage of all that St. Maarten has to offer – from villa and boat parties to hilltop sunrise sessions. Check out the full schedule and line-up on or on the official festival app.

 “Obviously, SXM Festival is about music, but it is also about arts, art installations, and visuals – it is so action-packed,” says Julian Arbia. According to the festival founder, Happy Bay has always been a wonderland, with amazing vibes, “but then we dress it up and it becomes something even crazier. We are really excited for everyone to see it.”

 Day access passes will be available at Happy Bay for $65 before 9:00pm and $95 thereafter. For more information and VIP or satellite party tickets, check out

The Daily Herald

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