The Caribbean region has for years now provided idyllic backdrops to its rapidly growing electronic music scene, harnessing momentum from relevant local communities, inviting global stakeholders and exhibiting talent in paradisiac venues.
SXM Festival, hailing from the the half-French half-Dutch and fully breathtaking island of St. Martin, has successfully pioneered electronic music organizing over the past three years, commandeered by Montreal native Julian Prince. Price has developed an annual 5-day long immersive musical and artistic experience, particularly exceptional in the quality of its curation. Albeit a young festival, SXM has demonstrated forward-thinking artist selection, welcoming Nina Kraviz, Jamie Jones, Lee Burridge, Âme, Maceo Plex, Bedouin, Richie Hawtin, Bob Moses and many more.
Yet SXM’s grounds and a remaining 95% of the island have recently been met with the destructive blow of category 5 Hurricane Irma, devastating the island’s infrastructure, resources, housing, businesses and so on. Locals are left in situations of heavy uncertainty and dependency on support in order to rebuild. SXM has launched a Rescue & Rebuild fund, accessible here. Support for this fund is now more relevant than ever as Hurricane Maria is set to hit the island on Tuesday.
The crowd-sourced relief fund currently stands at $31 535 of its $1M goal. It has been officially endorsed by the St. Martin tourist bureau and island’s French and Dutch governments; all parties have demonstrated continuous collaboration, cementing joint logistical support as a national priority.
SXM sets an important precedent in the mobilization of music and arts industries towards efforts made mandatory by the devastation of natural landscape, and its critical effects on the livelihoods of locals. Supporting this endeavour is essential in demonstrating the potential of harnessing cultural communities into humanitarian action when needed. SXM has been a positive presence on the island, assuring annual financial influx from its festivalgoers, stimulating businesses and tourism, employing local visual artists for the boutique component and spreading traditional Caribbean and indigenous Taino culture to a wider audience.
We’ll be looking forward to and closely following St. Martin’s recovery efforts and SXM’s highly anticipated 2018 edition. The latter is presently uncertain, as organizers have stated that “as an organization it is our duty to look at all the options. Our first, of course, is a return to St. Martin. (…) We want to establish, with certainty, that there will be infrastructure enough to support an outstanding experience for our guests. Regardless of how we must restructure, we are dedicating all our efforts in 2018 to the reconstruction of the island.”
We also look forward to the occurrence and development of up and coming Caribbean electronic music gatherings, such as Vujaday’s first edition in Barbados, spanning across different locations each of its five days and showcasing a variety of house and techno genres, as well as Aruba’s annual Electric Festival, the first electronic music festival in the Latin American and the Caribbean region, which recently welcomed Chus & Ceballos.
SXM has expressed immense gratitude towards those who have already contributed, as well as the concerned members of the music community: “ In the wake of the destruction caused by hurricane Irma, we appreciate all the words of love and of support from SXM Festival guests, artists, talent bookers and media.” Their key message can be viewed at the forefront of the SXM Festival home page.
The festival is also accepting supplies, the donation of which can be directly coordinated by contacting moc.l1519532063avits1519532063efmxs1519532063@feil1519532063er1519532063. We urge you to donate today and to keep up to date with how you can help Caribbean communities in the future.
Article by Lola