Written by Zack Kostaras
Photo credits in photo captions
Cover photo by Alec Donnell Luna (@alecduna)
After missing out in 2021 and being the last festival of 2020, SXM Music Festival returned to the beautiful island of Saint Martin with an epic comeback for its 2022 edition. With a lineup filled with old favorites and new SXM debuts, the island of Saint Martin was ready to welcome the locals and travelers from across the globe to take part in 5 days of some of the best partying in the world.
Compared to the 2019 edition I attended, the festival took place entirely on the French side of the island, rather than being split across the both the French and Dutch sides. Most of the day parties took place at Boho Beach Club, while all of the evening parties took place at the main festival grounds located at Happy Bay Beach that held two stages. The change of scenery between venues across the island was a welcoming difference compared to traditional festivals that host all stages on one common ground. While we learned that 2022 was the most successful year of the festival in terms of gross ticket sales, you never felt crammed and had plenty of space to move around at any given point of the festival. As a festival goer, it’s always the icing on the cake to see big names and discover new, emerging artists in intimate settings like this.
Wednesday night kicked things off with a packed lineup that couldn’t the crowd waiting. SXM Festival veterans Marco Carola and Blond:Ish headlined the Arc stage Friday, while Magdalena and her Shadows party hosted the revamped Ocean stage. The first of two satellite parties was held Thursday, with YoKoO headlining the regular boat party while Joeski brought the beats to Boho Beach during the day. Dj Tennis and Âme headlined Thursday night, with DJ Tennis joining Âme towards the end of his set for a very melodic b2b to end the night. The second satellite party was held Friday for VIP ticket holders, where Audiofly and Maga played on top of the Rainforest Adventure zipline park. While it was a journey up the chair lifts, the views were sensational and brought us back to when Blond:Ish performed her Cercle set at the same setting last year.
Later that night, WhoMadeWho hosted the Arc stage with their Tranqulity-curated lineup that brought Mandrake, Chloe Caillet, and Konstantin Sibold. WhoMadeWho, who’s been riding the wave with several massive anthems such as “Tell Me Are We”, closed the main stage with a deep, melodic set that put the crowd in a state of euphoria. Saturday offered the Villa Party to VIP ticket holders that was headlined by Gordo, which was hosted at a beautiful villa on the hills that offered some epic sunset views of the island. Saturday evening’s installment hosted the legends Ricardo Villalobos and Raresh for a wild 4 hour b2b set that got the crowd moving, while Chaim and Jenia Tarsol delivered an equally impressive melodic b2b session filled with impeccable music that may have been my favorite set of the weekend.
Sunday morning brought an epic sunrise session by Behrouz, with music that went on throughout the day until sunset. For the last night, the ocean stage closed with the Swiss sensation Jimi Jules, who’s been one of the hottest artists in the underground dance music scene with his massive hit’s “My City’s on Fire” and “Burning”. Dubfire closed out the main stage with a dark, upbeat set, and even brought Jimi to play his hit “My City’s on Fire” one last time on the main stage to the remaining crowd still rallying after 5 days and nights of partying.
Attending SXM festival for the second time cemented it for me as my favorite music festival I’ve attended thus far. The quality of House and Techno DJs, visual production, crowd, and location put it at the top of the list for an avid festival goer like myself. It doesn’t get any better than attending an intimate festival with the best electronic music in the world on the best island in the Caribbean. SXM, see you next year, and for many more to come.