I’m in Sint Maarten. Why? Well here’s some background. A journalist set to cover a music festival on the remote island forgot about it, passed, and confirmed flight and accomodations had already been booked. Instead of incurring an astronomical cost and ill will, the offer was up for grabs among a flurry of writers the morning of . Conveniently, and thanks to my mother, I was out and about, showered and dressed , in a car accompanying her to a follow-up appointment post-regularly-scheduled argument and cry, refreshing my phone screen for the first time in an effort to fade out of the atmospheric ire and inevitable ensuing argument. The radio wasn’t enough.
It was the morning of Valentines Day. There was my editor’s name. I immediately opened up the email to see what work, if any, there would be for an unpaid freelancer. All it read was, “Anyone want to go to ?”
”Trip” stood out to me in the subject line. I read St. Martin and then “SXM Festival". I immediately jumped on the opportunity, wrongly thinking that the misspelled location was a city in Texas or elsewhere in the Southwest for a mainstream music festival - perhaps the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Festival and SXM was some kind of abbreviated abbreviation? I know - ridiculous. Two minutes later I accepted the offer.
It was only after my parents and I thought something had finally hit in my favor that research proved me wrong: Sint Maarten was an international trip - a half Dutch and half-French dual nation in the middle of the ocean. The festival was niche - for dance/techno raving. I grew anxious. YouTube videos from past festival goers suggested a scene completely out of my comfort zone and the little available coverage left me a bundle of nerves. I turned into a malignant tumor - my health already dire. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Nil information of the island aside from some post-Hurricane coverage meant a wide-open market for reporters to make their make and share untold stories.