24.01.2017

Happy Bay will host the daily daytime gathering of SXM Festival

THE ORGANIZERS CHOSE HAPPY BAY BEACH FOR THE DAYTIME GATHERING OF THE FESTIVAL. INTERVIEW WITH JULIAN PRINCE, THE FOUNDER OF THE FESTIVAL WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE FROM MARCH 15 TO 19.

You announced on Facebook via a video released on January 6 that part of the festival would ultimately take place in Happy Bay. Why? What are the places that will ultimately accommodate scenes and evenings parties?

Happy bay is the perfect place for our daytime daily gathering. From noon to midnight, from Wednesday to Sunday, festival-goers from more than 40 countries, as well as the Saint-Martiners who love electronic music, will spend magical moments there. We are delighted to have managed to get permission to use this beautiful place where one feels alone and overwhelmed by nature. To secure the site, there is no need to surround the site with metal barriers; vegetation has done all the work. Difficult to access, so easily securable. Fabrice, the site owner, well known in the local area, loved the project and contributed greatly to the achievement of our objectives. Happy Bay is a gathering place that is well-known to locals, but not to tourists. There are a wealth of activities there such as weddings, barbecues, birthdays... this festive character makes sense for the festival. We are proud to be able to use it and to present the beauty of this place. It is an incomparable showcase for the island. Moreover, we are trying to clean up, create a parking lot, cut poisonous trees, pick up litter, secure the ruined buildings, and even refurbish the little beach bar. In short, we will leave Happy Bay brand new! 

The festival will also take place at the Mercure Hotel, Layla's, Sky Beach, The Refuge, the Soggy Dollar, and Tantra. Places were chosen for their large capacity. At SXM, we have many choices, but we needed places close to each other to avoid travel as much as possible and limit traffic jams. We hope to have enough festival-goers next year to return to Orient Bay without having to leave from Maho. The purpose of the festival has always been to discover the whole island, but achieving this goal will require patience and hard work. We will need to draw the world's attention, and the whole island will contribute to producing one of the best events in the world. Based on the success of last year’s edition and the momentum of this year, we are on track to achieve this objective.

It seems that this year, you will involve more local people in the organization and implementation of the festival?

 The aim of the festival is to create the greatest possible economic impact. Most of our suppliers are local, and those who are not are chosen because facilities are not available on the island. Last year we found skills that contributed to the great success of the festival in a vital way. Several top management members such as Laurent Klutcher, Ian Flemming (Director of Land Transport), Mathieu Cherix (Chief Sound and Light Technician), Charlie Bernard of Palm Beach, who is working with us again this year as the Security Manager for the site and as Manager of the Alcoholic Drinks Program, the team of Hotel Mercure, who helps with finding accommodation in more than eight hotels for festival-goers, Aurélie Donis (Merchandising Manager), and so on. From locally-produced food stalls to security and guarding, from drivers for artists to the team of workers assembling and dismantling the stages, as well as around 20 local DJs paired with DJs from Montreal to create more links between France and Quebec. In short, we did as much as possible to give work to more than 200 people and exchange tickets for the work of several volunteers. It's a great team effort, and the festival brings together many people from the island. I should also mention the generous contributions of the staff of both tourist offices, the Collectivité, the Board of Directors, and the members of the two governments. In short, the entire island has joined together!

Less than two months before the beginning of the festival, how many reservations have already been made? 

We anticipate an audience of about 4,000 people, both local and international. We're heading toward this figure since we have sold twice as many passes compared to last year at the same period. The problem is the limited number of hotel rooms on the French side. We hope to attract foreign capital to invest on the island. 

What are the other novelties of this second edition? 

Islanders can go buy passes at very reduced prices at the Marigot Smartphone store as well as Van Dorp (on the Dutch side) beginning in mid-February. We have also planned "after work" specials during the week and a weekend pass to meet everyone’s needs. Visitors spend an average of eight and a half days on the island. The economic impact of the festival is estimated at more than EUR 14 million and the international press talks about the festival as one of the most interesting events in the world. St-Martin shines!

 

Fanny Fontan

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