For the past four years Mercury Beach has been one of the most anticipated events of the summer hosted in Saint Lucia. Each year the nautical event succeeds in its mission to provide a memorable experience to attendees, and it continues to grow, gaining exposure and attracting a bigger and more diverse crowd.
As many would know, Mercury Beach is an upmarket event with its primary objective focused on providing a unique beach experience to Saint Lucians and visitors. The target markets for organizers include French territories like Martinique, Guadeloupe and Saint Maarten.
And it isn’t just a party they’re promoting; the event includes gourmet cuisine, premium drinks, and exceptional entertainment which includes the hottest DJs, primarily of French origin, and regional acts.
Mercury Beach has grown immensely since its inception back in 2014. It was first held on the first beach of Pigeon Island National Park, and most certainly proved successful, which called for a bigger venue just outside the National Park that has been the home for the festivity for the last two years.
Last year, the event pulled 7,000 visitors and scored over 600 vessels: speedboats and catamarans, not just from Martinique and Guadaloupe but also from Barbados, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Africa, France and Canada. Organizers are confident that it is succeeding to generate more of a buzz around Saint Lucia with the tag line, ‘Spring Break of the Caribbean’, and they have the documentation to prove just how much the event has helped the economy.
“Last year the direct economic impact stood at EC $12.1 million,” Cuthbert Didier, Local Partner of Mercury Beach told the STAR. “A full impact study was done by the Ministry of Tourism and reviewed by the Ministry of Finance.”
Going back to its initiation, Mercury Beach didn’t exactly gain the best reviews due to what Didier describes as “the hypocritical Saint Lucian public”. He felt that Mercury was seen then as “a blasé, highly sexualised event” which he said was not the case.
Since then the tables have turned dramatically. The event has gained rave reviews as more people embrace the concept. Price-wise, tickets (for this year particularly) cost EC $260 and include two parties. Mercury Beach will be promoting Gros Islet Friday Night Street Party on 11th August as a precursory event and, after Gros Islet, a pre-party for ticket holders at Pigeon Island. The main event will be held on Saturday, 12th August.
Didier thinks the event is more than worth its price tag, as the cost means organizers are able to maintain the desired standard, roll out the necessary safety features, and control the quality of the event. “Primarily we want to give people great quality in a safe environment; and hopefully they will be willing to pay for it,” he said.
Due to the bigger venue the event now requires more infrastructure, which also comes with hefty cost. Due to the lack of national sponsorship, so far organizers have not succeeded to offset those prices.
“We’ve tried to get people on board but people see it as they’re going to come anyway; they’re going to take our product anyway,” Didier said. “Supermarkets will be filled, hotels will be filled, which is a very sad position to take.”
However, Didier said Mercury Beach was fortunate to have been the recipient of many quality sponsorships from companies including Heineken, Peter and Company, and the Saint Lucia Events Company.
“We’re working very hard with the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and hopefully they’ll come through this year,” Didier said. “We’re also working with a number of key brand sponsors throughout Martinique, and it shows just how much commitment there is for the event, from Martinique. These companies are partnering with us to try and have market penetration in Saint Lucia.”
This year, Mercury Beach will again be filled with surprises. The major give-away for ticket holders will be part of a raffle, which will result in one lucky person walking away with a 26ft speedboat fully equipped with Mercury engines. Persons must be at the event and present when the raffle takes place in order to win.
Organizers have every intention of keeping the good vibes flowing all the way to the give-away, with a host of performances that they’re mostly keeping quiet about for now. Didier did reveal two names however: Jamaica’s Konshens and Busy Signal.
During this week’s interview, Didier also highlighted one of the most important things to organizers, which was keeping the numbers up, and thus stimulating the economy. So far he says ticket sales in Martinique have been booming. As for Saint Lucia, tickets will be on sale from this weekend at SIXT Car Rental in the IGY Rodney Bay Marina.
As we rounded up the interview, Didier assured us that organizers were just as determined as they’ve always been to clean up the beach after their event, as a way of ensuring the venue continued to be preserved for years to come. He encourages other promoters to do the same.
“If you use the resource, you should clean it,” he said. “Prior to Mercury Beach last year, the Mercury team cleared 32 huge bags of garbage. The beach was just left in a disgusting manner.”
As for the scandalous bikinis and (nearly!) bare bodies often spotted at the event, Didier expressed: “The French love their life and their body. Us Caribbean people should be happy in our own skin, and learn to really enjoy ourselves, not in a vulgar or disrespectful manner.”
Mercury Beach will be held in exactly two weeks, and Didier encourages Saint Lucians to come out in support!