Spirit of Canadian-Caribbean SXMusic Festival coming to Electric Island this summer

Despite a number of challenges, Toronto's Joel Smye, Stephan Philion and Montreal's Julian Prince celebrate their first successful electronic fest in St. Martin-Sint Maarten

Despite strong winds, heavy rains and an unrelated protest road closure that pushed the festival’s start by three hours, SXMusic Festival successfully debuted March 9 to 13 in the colourful French-Dutch Caribbean island St. Martin-Sint Maarten. Toronto music veterans Joel Smye and Stephan Philion partnered with a team including SXMusic Festival visionary Julian Prince, a Montreal DJ-restauranteur who wanted “a quality boutique festival that will grow annually but remain exclusive, never become commercial, and be as cutting-edge as possible.”

Given Smye and Philion’s success with Coda Nightclub and Electric Island Festival, Toronto Island’s much-anticipated summer concert series, it is no surprise SXMusic Festival won international kudos as the “hottest,” “most beautiful” EDM festival to attend in the growing global destination party circuit.

“The Coda team is still feeling pretty elated about the whole SXMusic experience,” Smye says. “We’re very proud of what we were able to accomplish in the face of all the challenges that came our way. It’s been refreshing and inspiring and we’re definitely looking to harness that energy and bring it to Electric Island this summer.”

For five days, the glitz of the EDM movement – including the annoying “bro” quotient – was as archaic as the rusted-out cars in junkyards dotting the picturesque Caribbean island. Showcases by Get Physical, Mixmag, Ellum, Igloofest and Paradise featured extended DJ sets at epic daylong beach parties and chic Dutch nightclubs. Toronto talent Nitin, Jeff Button, Nature of Music, Night Vision and My Favourite Robot played various venues and unofficial after-parties in posh, secluded villas (many by Toronto’s SummerDaze crew). The festival concluded with a killer All Day I Dream sunrise set at Layla’s Beach club with Lee Burridge and YokoO and a last-minute after-party Monday night featuring Jamie Jones, Dubfire, Pascal Daze, Demi and Toronto’s Jeff Button.

Blondish at Tantra Get Physical showcase2.jpg

Ded Pixel & Alec Donnell Luna from Ded Agency

Blond:ish at Tantra nightclub

Personal highlights include Mauricio Rebolledo’s set in a glowing black-lit DJ booth despite gusting winds knocking out power at the Palm Beach Club Thugfucker, Behrouz and Bedouin at Mixmag’s beach party Guy Gerber at Le Shore (rivaling his 4-hour set at Smye and Philion’s first nightclub, Footwork) dancing in the rain to Montreal’s Mightykat and Blond:ish at Sky Beach and Jamie Jones at the Orient Beach Paradise Party while holding a tarp over our heads. The stunningly sultry Loterie Farm Jungle Party, where lush beats from Behrouz, Chaim and The Doctors flowed from a treetop DJ booth and fresh-water infinity pools trickled into a large pool hugged by the thumping dance floor, was sheer bliss.


Ded Pixel & Alec Donnell Luna from Ded Agency

Danny Daze, Palm Beach Club

SXMusic Festival headliners Apollonia, DJ Tennis, Guy Gerber, Jamie Jones and Toronto’s Nitin will also play Electric Island Festival with local support by Aaron Santos vs. Cosmic JD, Alberto Jossue, Brian Johnson, Borzoo, Butrous, Dirty Dale, Jamie Kidd, Jeff Button, Jonathan Rosa, Members Only, Nature of Music, Simon Jain, Sean Miller and Koki from Japan!

Plus, Mark Atkinson confirmed the Electric Island Team is going green in 2016. Initiatives include NO straws, hand-sorting every garbage bag into recyclable, compostable and returnable material to reduce landfill waste by 60-75 per cent and zero trace cleaning crews who’ll scour the site for up to a week after the festival.

You can revel in SXMusic Festival’s afterglow and warm up for Electric Island at these upcoming parties: Alberto Jossue (Toika, April 9), Nature of Music (Toika, April 9, Cabal April 15, Parlour, April 23 with MightyKat!) and Jeff Button’s hip hop brunch (April 17). Or with Jeff Button’s 2016 SXMusic Festival promo set. 

Get your Electric Island summer pass here

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