The music has stopped. Which nights still have a chair?
Following a game-changing flurry of big brand party transfers and moving house, Ibiza institutions Cocoon, Cream, Do Not Sleep and Afterlife are set start the summer at new homes, while apex-level DJs such as MK, Fatboy Slim and Ricardo Villalobos will headline a slew of brand new super club residencies across the island.
With the majority of this summer's party programme now confirmed, it's time to evaluate the most hectic winter in White Isle clubbing history. Here is the Ibiza Voice analysis with our rating for the amount of activity.
Opening night 2018 at the newly revamped Pacha.
In: Cocoon (from Amnesia), Tuesdays on Mars (New), One Night Stand (pop-up party)
Out: Mosaic (Without a club), My House (Without a club)
Mosaic by Maceo has been shelved after failing to connect with Ibiza's holidaying hordes. Speak to the island's incumbent DJ population, however, and they'll tell you a very different story. As far as they were concerned, Mosaic was a bucket list event and you can understand why. Apart from Afterlife, few White Isle line-ups were as mind-expanding as Mosaic. But ultimately Mosaic didn’t pull in the punters and the event will go down in history books alongside Guy Gerber's Wisdom Of The Glove as an experiment too far.
Sven Väth's iconic Cocoon comes in as an indirect replacement. Despite the fact that unadulterated techno doesn't have much of a history in Ibiza Town, the fact that Pacha's VIP stigma has been allayed in recent seasons should help Cocoon pull in the purists. More importantly, perhaps, the new sound system is now geared up to handle heavier tunes.
Elsewhere on the roster, Martin Solveig's My House makes way for Tuesdays on Mars. This one is essentially a rebrand, with Fatboy Slim introduced as headliner and Solveig still onboard for five dates.
But it's Pacha's recent refurbishment that elevates this Balearic superclub to the top of our off-season performance list. Why? Because every party on the roster will benefit from a subtle reboot that has enhanced Pacha's heritage rather than papering over it.
Ibiza Voice Score: 4+
Ibiza Rocks Hotel
The Ibiza Rocks Hotel has a whole host of new parties to entertain you.
In: AREA10 (formerly Pacha), Rudimental & Friends (New), Garage Nation (New)
Out: Ibiza Rocks (without a club), We Are Rockstars (without a club)
Ibiza Rocks Hotel is another top venue to benefit from a winter refit, boosting it to second place in our list. Over the off-season, this outdoor pool party complex completely upgraded its premium spaces, added a brand new terrace area with beds and sofas and installed an exclusive Party Suite available for 24 hour hire. The Void sound rig has been tweaked and you'll also find a brand new 360-degree ‘island' in the middle of the courtyard. So whether you happen to be cooling off in the pool, stomping around on the dancefloor or soaking up the sunshine on your balcony, you're guaranteed a good view to go with the feel good vibes.
On the dancefloor, Ibiza Rocks' new pool party residencies fit San Antonio like a glove. Rudimental's new residency will land at the same time as their new album hits the shelves back in the UK. And don't forget MK's new AREA10 pool party, which should appeal to underground and credible commercial fans alike. After persisting with live music for two seasons too many, there's no doubt that Ibiza Rocks Hotel is once again catering to the very specific requirements of the young British music fans who like to party there.
Ibiza Voice Score: 4
Amnesia has the new exciting Monday night residency, Pyramid plus the return of Music On.
In: ABODE (from Sankeys), Do Not Sleep (from Sankeys), Pyramid (New), VIBRA! (New), One Night Stand (pop-up party)
Out: Cream (to Hï), Cocoon (to Pacha), Foam & Diamonds (without a club), HYTE (without a club)
Replacing Cream and Cocoon won't be easy, but Amnesia's new in-house Monday-night residency Pyramid already has a potent look about it. World-class techno talent Ricardo Villalobos, Ben Klock, Charlotte de Witte and Maceo Plex front the show and Solomun and Carl Cox hosting special Pyramid takeover events in July. With island politics preventing so many top headliners from hosting their own weekly parties on the island, we wonder whether Pyramid might become a permanent home for more tech-orientated pop-up parties in the future?
On Thursdays, the recent amalgamation of former Sankeys pillars ABODE and Do Not Sleep will appeal to young UK ravers who like to get messy. The Do Not Sleep line-up, in particular, has a solid look about it, with respected international players like Josh Wink and Robert Hood joining residents Darius Syrossian and Alan Fitzpatrick on the billboards.
On the EDM front, Paris Hilton has departed after a four year stint at the venue. No doubt Ibiza diehards will be equally unmoved by the arrival of Italian socialite Gianluca Vacchi. Sonically, of course, they have good reason. After all, Vacci appears to have the musical discernment of a seven-year-old schoolgirl. But otherwise, let's be honest, life seems to be working out pretty well for Gianluca. He's in superb shape, lives in a plush pad, hangs out in his underpants most of the day and is constantly surrounded by hot chicks. And now he has his own weekly Ibiza residency in the bag. There's no doubting the fact that Gianluca Vacchi is living the dream. A materialistic one, perhaps, but in today's currency 11.5 million Instagram followers means you're bordering on godhood. But will all the activity on Vacchi's socials translate into bodies on the dancefloor? Of course.
Ibiza Voice Score: 3+
Tale Of Us will now be hosting Afterlife at Hï and Glitterbox will be back.
In: Afterlife (from Privilege), Cream (from Amnesia), GangStar (New)
Out: In The Dark (without a club), Martin Garrix (continues at Ushuaïa), Hï Sundays (without a club)
Monday nights at Hï now belong to Cathy Guetta and her new Gangstar party. The musical premise? Hip hop and urban classics. The aesthetic? VIP glitz and showbiz glamour. Will it work? Yes. After all, where else on the island can you hear commercial rap and contemporary R&B tunes in a super club setting? Factor in Cathy Guetta's crossover appeal and Hï might just have struck gold with this one. The haters are already out in force, of course, labelling the announcement mercantile. But let's be honest, no 3,000-capacity Balearic nightclub is going to roll with six or seven underground nights on its weekly roster. It just wouldn’t work; there simply aren't enough techno customers to go around. In a musical sense, Gangstar won’t appeal to everybody, but make no mistake, it's a smart booking.
We covered Cream's move to Hï in greater depth last month, but just to reiterate, 2018 is going to be an extremely important year for this iconic club brand. Having departed Amnesia following a record-breaking 22-year run, the question on everybody's lips is: why did Cream leave? Had the party gone a little flat? To be fair, Cream were still pulling in the numbers. Less than in their heyday, granted, but the drop-off was comparable to the rest of the post-midnight events on the island. The truth is the party had simply plateaued, which is why this summer's move to Hï has transpired at exactly the right time.
And now for the most exciting news of all: the return of Tale Of Us and their avant-garde Afterlife party. If you're a professional raver looking to get lost in the very best house and techno sounds the scene has to offer, tune in and drop out with a host of acts that rarely get chance to perform in Ibiza, including extended set maestro Gerd Janson, rip-roaring techno Viking Rødhåd, and the up-and-coming Tijana T.
Ibiza Voice Score: 3+
Ushuaia will host new festival concept, DYSTOPIA this summer alongside ANTS..
In: Dystōpia (New), elrow (pop-up party)
Out: Limited Edition (without a club)
It's pretty much as you were for Ushuaïa in 2018, which is why this state-of-the-art beach club finds itself near the bottom of our list. But that doesn’t mean the Playa d'en Bossa-based giants had a disappointing winter. On the contrary, where Ushuaïa are concerned, the old adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it" seems particularly apt.
Indeed, the only newcomer on this summer's party programme is DYSTOPIA, a brand new party concept which takes a formulaic lead from transformational festivals like Burning Man and sacred party insignias such as WooMooN. Expect a chill out zone, a food market and plenty of psychotropic beats from headliners Luciano and Damian Lazarus. For an extra shot of deep-tech ethnicity, check out nomad-style stars Bedouin, Satori and Britta Unders.
Interestingly, the fact that DYSTOPIA has replaced Hardwell's Limited Edition on the Ushuaïa roster means that this epic open-air club will start the summer with more than one techy event on its weekly party agenda for the first time since 2013. Back then the international crowds in Bossa couldn't handle the underground overload, but with the popularity of EDM diminishing year on year, it feels like the right time for team Ushuaïa to test the water with a view to diversifying their sonic output.
Ibiza Voice Score: 3
Afterlife is out but ultimate super club, Privilege sees the return of the powerhouse Resistance.
In: solid.grooves (New)
Out: Afterlife (to Hï), Pure Carl Cox (morphed into One Night Stand at Pacha, Amnesia and DC10), Suara (without a club), 432 (without a club)
A slew of huge events dropped off the Privilege roster this winter, seemingly arresting the venue's rapid resurgence. But it isn’t all doom and gloom at the World's Largest Nightclub, because Privilege have managed to keep hold of the most influential techno show on the planet, Resistance, which returns to San Rafael in 2018 wielding a fat, vinyl-themed roster. When it comes to booking underground house and techno line-ups, this Ultra-backed brand have the finances in place to book whoever they want. Let's just hope they don't go too wild on the production front, after all, when you have the raw rave appeal of DJs Carl Cox and Adam Beyer in the booth visual gimmicky is only a distraction.
The return of solid.grooves after a twelve month hiatus is another redeeming factor for this juggernaut venue. Like most gigs held in Privilege's Vista Club side room, solid.grooves is a romping, stripped back affair, curated exclusively for underground music lovers. There hasn’t been a great deal of hype about this one, but the Solid Grooves line-up is enticingly strong, with James Zabiela, Richy Ahmed, Skream, Nick Curly and wAFF the pick of a really strong bunch. If you're a serious stomper looking for an off the radar super club event, this might just be it.
Ibiza Voice Score: 2
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