It was one of those events we were told is the best of the year, “A ne pas rater!” We checked the list of bands and considered going, but decided against it on account of the hour and a half drive across the island from Sainte-Anne we would have to do at midnight after spending a full day out. There were two acts from London—Ms. Dynamite (who I recently discovered was not a Canadian one-hit-wonder, don’t judge me) and Toddla T featuring MC Sarocee—that we were interested to see. I’ve been to one concert in my life (Usher, Confessions tour. Don’t judge me, I was 16) and maybe two festivals (one in Jamaica, during which I fell asleep. Don’t judge me, I was 10 and had just gotten off the plane) and so I was little bit disappointed I would miss this alleged epic event.
Luckily, a student (we say student, but she’s a middle-aged woman) of Tom’s made us an offer we couldn’t refuse: tickets to Sunday’s events! We got a good night’s sleep and prepared ourselves to have our minds electropically blown. See what I did there?
We arrived at Club Med Sainte-Anne early on Sunday afternoon. By early, I mean an hour late but an hour before they were prepared to start shuttling people over to the event spot. After a Desperados on a nearby patio we were shuttled in cars from the entrance of Club Med to the far beach across the bay from Le Marin. As soon as we arrived, it was advertising galore: taste of Hagen Daaz’s new mint chocolate ice cream, free t-shirts, Trace FM sunglasses, etc. I could see the sort of day this was shaping up to be.
As we walked towards the stage, JFL, a group from Montreal was playing their organic, African-inspired electronic music with tambours. Not very many people had arrived yet so we walked around to gather our bearings. On the other side of the beach, the Rise Up Sound was mixing reggae, hip hop and dancehall. This was where I got my dance on for most of the day. After some time we bought a beer and relaxed in front of the stage.
While the wakeboarding and wakeskating demonstration was going on, I went for a swim. Besides almost stepping on a bed of sea urchins, the shallow, clean and warm Caribbean Sea made it very refreshing. Between the bikinis, outfits and hairstyles it obvious that this was an event for “being seen” (no sexism here. Yes, the men had bikinis, outfits and hairstyles, too). Regardless, the atmosphere was chaleureux—people were there to have a good time, and why wouldn’t you want to be seen at the best event of the year?!
As night fell, the party really started to heat up. The headliners were getting close, the crowd was big and people were already tipsy. To really take things to the next level, during Manaré’s set, a DJ from Paris, Ms. Dynamite and MC Sarocee got on stage for an impromptu show. I was really excited to see them perform and it was quite funny when Manaré missed their verbal cues to hype the music—language barrier. No one really noticed or maybe didn’t care; it was about the music, the moment and collaboration and both performers adapted gracefully.
“He looks like Jesus,” Tom said of one of the headliners, Breakbot. Another Parisian Electro/Funk artist he had some fun disco remixes that energized the crowd. He was definitely my favourite of the night. Every so often we made our way to the other side to dance to reggae and dancehall and I revelled in the nostalgia of my favourite 90s and early 2000s dancehall. The final band was Kwaxicolor, a zouk band from Martinique that is also popular internationally. I didn’t find them that interesting though I did the requisite zouké-ing with Tom, of course.
Overall, it was an awesome event and we ran into a lot of people we know—our students included. Considering it runs from mid-day to midnight, there were not enough food options. One restaurant available was of a good quality (where they got 100% beef burgers, I have no idea). Conversely, alcohol flowed readily and without interruption. Chilling on the beach with a beer cup hanging around my neck was new for me, but I certainly enjoyed it.
They did promote responsible partying, passing out blood alcohol level tests, having people fill out questionnaires and testing any drivers’ blood alcohol before departure. Tom blew 0 BAC so we walked back to our car, drove home, pleased that we got to combine a day at the beach with excellent music and nice weather.
Martizik really is a unique festival, a fun métissage of Caribbean and international music, under the sun on the white sand on the edge of the Caribbean Sea.