Mercury Fest 2018

Written By Tevyn Gill | Photos courtesy of the St. Lucia Tourism Authority

Only 3 weeks after an action packed Carnival season, the beautiful, tourism driven island of Saint Lucia followed up keenly with their highly anticipated beach and boat festival, Mercury Fest Saint Lucia. Formerly the hosts of the popular Mercury Beach — initially of Martinican origins — that gained much of its growth on the same Lucian shores of Pigeon Island, saw an end to the event’s four-year run in Saint Lucia. Being one of the most anticipated events of the summer to be held on island, however, the proactive action of Epic Events and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority seized the opportunity to fill the gap with their own version of the same concept to satisfy the ever growing demand.
The two day event comprised of three events between August 10th & 11th. Its inaugural installment of the now 100% locally produced festival attracted an influx of visitors from all around the region, with over 4000 guests from the French speaking territories where the concept was populated. It is also estimated to have hosted over 150 vessels, which included speedboats, catamarans and yachts from Martinique and Guadaloupe, Barbados, Trinidad, St. Marteen, Puerto Rico, Africa, France and Canada.

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Photos courtesy of the St. Lucia Tourism Authority

Clearly a successful replacement, Mercury Fest generally followed a similar format to its predecessor, with a concert-styled event on Friday night and the typical massive beach party during the day on Saturday at the same venue. Tickets to the events were sold independently, costing EC$100/EU$33 for the Friday alone and EC$150/EU$50 for Saturday only, or as a two-day pass for one price of EC$230/EU$75. As per last year, the Gros Islet Street Party was also promoted as the pre party to the concert, and was a free addition to help usher in the fantastic vibe of the wild weekend.

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Often called the “Spring Break of the Caribbean,” the festivities started on August 10 from 8pm with the traditional Friday night street party in Gros Islet, where the electric atmosphere of the weekend was off to a roaring start. Foreigners and locals could be seen in the packed streets of the vibrant little village enjoying the unique culinary delights of the island or drinking and dancing the night away to the local entertainment. Visitors were offered a smooth introduction to the culture of partying like a local, while also promoting the integration of the variety of cultures present on the island. After their crash course at Gros Islet, ticket holders and spontaneous pumpers alike made their way over to Pigeon Island beach for the first official offering of Mercury Fest 2018.

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For the first time, the venue was outlined in such a way that even the beach’s local vendor huts were incorporated into the event, providing a wide variety of food options and even smaller bar alternatives (a local revenue stream that was missing in previous years). Hosted on both days by the domestic beauty, Mareen Alexander, and energetically translated by the bubbly Esmerasta from Martinique, the show drew an impressive crowd for Friday’s headliner, Kalash. The French Dancehall sensation, known for his hits ‘Free Me’, ‘Taken’ and ‘Mwaka Moon’ was preceded by local artistes such as Ricky T before gracing the stage to the delight of the ecstatic and heavily French populated crowd. However, both French and English speakers alike united in singing the Martinican star’s lyrics word for word as he continued to entice the crowd more and more with his ‘Mavado-esque’ style. Kalash impressively closed the first show, leaving people in great anticipation for the grand festivities of the following day.

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Wasting no time, patrons and vessels began arriving from 9am on Saturday. The classic theme of boats, bikinis, foam and fun was in full effect, with rows of boats lining the entire span of beach, and people swimming and basking in the calm, clear waters. Advertised as the “ultimate beach party,” the festival provided an abundance of the most beautiful women and coolest personalities of the Caribbean. The picturesque ambience provided by the foamy fun and magnificent weather were amplified by the entrancing music by some of the top DJs from Martinique and Saint Lucia, including the likes of DJ Gil, Levi Chin, Hollywood HP and DJ Litchie on the impressive cast. The growing crowd was also treated to performances by the very best Saint Lucian artistes including Shemmy J, Sedale, Mata & Migos, Keisha, Teddyson John and Cooyah leading up to the headline act, Jamaica’s dancehall superstar, Popcaan.

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The popular Jamaican artiste had the crowd chanting his lyrics to every song, and completely captivated by his entertaining antics. He previewed stand out songs from his new album, Forever, such as ‘Silence’, ‘Foreign Love’ and ‘Firm and Strong’. He gave a performance that indubitably left both patrons and promoters satisfied with the Mercury Fest product for 2018, and eagerly looking onward to the future of the festival.
For its first edition, Mercury Fest definitely kept all its promises, as well as keeping the major boat and beach event alive in the island of Saint Lucia. Each year the nautical event succeeds to provide a memorable experience to attendees as the biggest and best beach party. Tourism Minister, Mr. Dominic Fedee said he sees it as a tremendous success, especially in light of the enormous economic impact it has on the island. His hopes are that it continues to gain traction and pull even bigger and more diverse crowds as the event is way more than just a party. It also features local gourmet cuisine, premium drinks, and promotes international integration, home-grown talent and exceptional entertainment from around the region. It is an opportunity to promote Saint Lucian culture and arts while encouraging the engagement of the wider Caribbean region in this all-encompassing experience.

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The vision is that the two-day festival will gain similar regional and international recognition as other notable Caribbean festivals, such as Dream Weekend in Jamaica. This will further boost tourism in Saint Lucia, and by extension, the economy while playing a role deepening Caribbean integration. The saying “out with the old, and in with the new” may be quite applicable for the little island with big dreams, it seems. Regardless, one thing is certain: in the island of Saint Lucia, Mercury Fest is by far the best and biggest beach party of the summer. See you there in 2019!

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Wasting no time, Day 2 patrons and the line water vessels began arriving from 9am. The classic theme of boats, bikinis, foam and fun was in full effect, with rows of boats lining the entire span of beach, and people swimming and basking in the calm, clear waters. Advertised as the “ultimate beach party,” the festival provided an abundance of the most beautiful women and coolest of the Caribbean. The picturesque ambience provided by the foamy fun, the magnificent weather were amplified by entrancing music by some of the top DJs from Martinique and St. Lucia, including the likes of DJ Gil, Levi Chin, Hollywood HP and DJ Litchie on the impressive cast. Performances by the very best Saint Lucian artistes including Shemmy J, Sedale, Mata & Migos, Keisha, Teddyson John and Cooyah— leading up to the headline act, Jamaica’s dancehall superstar Popcaan.

The Jamaican superstar had the crowd chanting his lyrics of every song, and completely captivated by his entertaining antics. He previewed stand out songs from his new album, Forever, such as Silence, Foreign Love and Firm and Strong. He gave a performance that indubitably left both patrons and promoters satisfied with the Mercury Fest product for 2018, and eagerly looking onward to the future of the festival.

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For its first edition, Mercury Fest definitely kept all its promises, as well as keeping the major boat and beach event alive in the island of St. Lucia. Each year the nautical event succeeds to provide a memorable experience to attendees as the biggest and best beach party. Tourism Minister, Mr. Dominic Fedee said he sees it as a tremendous success, especially in light of the enormous economic impact it has on the island. He said hopes it continues to gain traction and pull even bigger and more diverse crowds.
The event is more than a party. It displays local gourmet cuisine, premium drinks, and promotes international integration, home-grown talent and exceptional entertainment from around the region. It is an opportunity to promote St. Lucian culture and arts while encouraging the engagement of the wider Caribbean region in this all-encompassing experience.

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The vision is that the two-day festival will gain similar regional and international recognition as other notable Caribbean festivals, such as Dream Weekend in Jamaica. This will further boost tourism in St. Lucia, and by extension, the economy while playing a role deepening Caribbean integration. The saying “out with the old, and in with the new” may be quite applicable for the little island with big dreams, because one thing is certain: in the island of St. Lucia, Mercury Fest is by far the best and biggest beach party of the summer. See you there in 2019!

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