IMS: Closing hours and After-hours. The Ibiza House Mafia meets the Godfather of the Consell Insular...

Words by: smac
Posted: 3/6/08 19:29

There's never a better time to get some choice sound bites from the island bigwigs than just before the openings of the season. Tensions are running high, ego's are close to bursting and the testosterone levels are enough to make your eyes water.

Wednesday afternoon saw all 7 of the island's super-clubs (with El Divino conspicuous only in it's absence) represented at a forum with the Secretary to the President of the Consell Insular Paco Medina, as part of the International Music Summit being held in Ibiza this week. And there were plenty of beautiful snippets worthy of sharing around. Not a lot of resolution to be fair.

The only thing really clear from the barely there discussion was that the last 15 years of music and club development on the island seem to have completely passed the Council by without them noticing a thing. There was actually an almost smugness on behalf of the council in the fact that they are now recognising the influence the clubs have on the island, both socially and economically. Perhaps shame would have been a more appropriate emotion. 

However, I think we can let them speak for themselves…. On the councils realisation of the importance of the clubs to Ibiza;

Paco Medina (General Secretary of the President of the Ibiza Consell Insular)
"I remember that 2 years ago, it coincided that I was with the actual President of the Consell Insular of Ibiza, in a meeting in Greece, with the European Foundation, he was back then the Mayor of Ibiza, and we were in a little island in the XXX, and we came across a train, a little wooden tourist train with 7 carriages. It was incredible, to see such a small island, creating the work, the theme of economic promotion, without doing anything, this train had 7 wagons and each one was a discotheque, Amnesia, Pacha, Privilege, it was incredible. It was a realisation that the institutions the public administration had not had before..."

Only 20 years behind the rest of us then….

"There are 2 documents which up to now have been the reference point for the strategy, for the economic level of the island, its touristic agendas, and marketing concerns of the island that not once in any moment have referred to the musical phenomena of the island, to the businesses related to it, and not just the discotheques but the producers, creators, all of the world related to the nightlife, which we like to call the 'cluster economy' of Ibiza. There still doesn't exist a study of the impact, economically or socially, of the music in Ibiza."

"This is one of the first things that this government of the island is going to start work on, together with the Government of the Balearic Islands, to really analysis what is the actual economic force of the music sector in Ibiza.  But not just the economic effect on the island, its international marketing power too." 

Well that's a positive step no? 

"The second project is the development of an advisory council specifically for the music of Ibiza, with two objectives. Organise the sector under public administration, and protect that same sector through the development of its economic value in the island. We ask the sector for organisation or order, and then we, as a public administration have an obligation to protect it. Order, to a level that tries to make compatible the everyday life of the normal citizens with responsibilities, with the life of the night, where the majority of this sector is concerned.  And protection, upon which we will close down and cut off all illegal offerings, all the options that are not compliant with our laws and regulations." 

So that's the real crux then...taxation, regulation and curbing illegal activity...  And what do the rest of them think about the illegal parties? Bearing in mind we all know who's particular illegal after hours parties everyone is talking about here…. 

Manuel Lopez (Privilege)
"Well I guess there will be illegal parties like there has been and there will always be, but I think the biggest problem of these parties is the safety aspect, as they are mostly in those villas without any safety regulations and me personally, I've seen a lot of them, and there can be sometimes 500, 600 people dancing around a pool. It's this aspect that should be regulated by the police. Club wise, I cannot and will not make any comment as to whether they are behind it or not. " 

Daniel Magdalena
"What are bad for the image of Ibiza are unsafe parties. When you see that there is an accident here, or an accident there, what I think would be important, would be for the government is to control the safety. If we (the clubs) have to work under conditions of safety, or permits, paying security and everything then everyone should have to work this way. Some of these parties are just out of control; we at least control things (in the clubs)

But these parties, it was always a complement of the Ibiza, we all have to admit that, and it's part of the history of the island. And nobody can change that, no matter how much the government can try to control it, or we can try to adapt, we all know what Ibiza is." 

Juan Arenas  (Space)
"I really think that this government are going to stop a lot of them, and to try to do the job to support the clubs. We are legal, we play social security to all our people, we hire ambulances, and we have emergency exits updated. If they appear in the summer (illegal parties) I can tell you for sure that I will try to stop it." 

Isaac Hidalgo (Eden)
"…Nobody is saying to you that you can't do parties in your home, they are just saying - Don't charge for it!. Don't have 3000 people in your home with families around. We are behind this. Not behind the great creativity or having 20 of your friends in your house, like we have been doing for years.
After Parties arrived just 10, 12 years ago, Ibiza as a business has been going for 37 years, never were there after parties before.

The question shouldn't be 'Why should they stop? Why should the government stop them? But really why did they appear? We're all happy to make parties in our homes, I make parties in my home, but I don't charge for it.  I'm not having 3000 people in my home…I'd like to have so many friends!

The government is against having 20 parties every single day of between 300 and 3000 people. It's normal that they should stop that. There's no safety, there's people working there under 3rd world conditions and that's not right." 

And are we including DC10 in that bracket? Is DC10 an illegal club? A legal club? 

Andreas Pelino is tired of talking about it.(circoloco)
"It's 10 years now that we listen to always the same thing; "DC10 will be closed", "DC10 is a problem for the island", "Stop the after-hours", "Circo Loco is too crazy", but we never hear about what Circo Loco really did for the island in the last 10 years, about how Circo Loco changed the music for the island in the last 10 years, how many DJs we have brought for the first time into this project, how Circo Loco is doing around the world at this moment.

These are the points that we never touch on, outside the issue of whether DC10 is legal or illegal…. the concept that we created in the last 10 years, because in July will be 10 years since we started Circo Loco, I think we created something special for the island, we brought people to the island, they're coming also for us, also for Space, but we need to help all these parties."

He add I respect Space, I respect Pacha, I respect the Consell, but I think the best way to make something positive for this island, for the marketing of the clubs, is to also use the power of the new people coming to the island, involve the new ideas, and change this idea that the only real power is the owners of the big clubs."

Andy Mackay thinks he sees a way out (Manumission)
"…the answer to all these issues and problems is self regulation. All these other industries in the UK and everywhere self regulate. The problem is as an organisation the clubs here are not at a level where they can self regulate yet unfortunately. There's nothing wrong with a party at 10 in the morning at Space where the people wake up and decided to dance in the day. No one's got a problem with that. The issue is when people have been up for 2 or 3 days taking drugs. And that's the image that they (the government) want to change. 

Surely there will come a point we were can sit there and say dancing in the day is not a problem, but there has to be a level of law and there's so many loopholes, that what we have to do is get the owners of the clubs to be a little bit more responsible and respect the meaning behind the law, rather than the law itself.

And to allow the government to give them a little bit more flexibility because they're not taking the piss, and I'm sorry but in the past what's happened is clubs have taken the piss out of the loopholes in the law and that's why we're being hammered now.
So lets all change a bit and maybe we'll get a better future out of it." 

And are these opening hours here to stay? Is the end of the road for dancing in the daytime in Ibiza?

Pete Tong was concerned that the politicians still don't really understand it…
"….you mentioned seeing a little train in Greece with all the club names on, did you realise, did the government realise how strong the daytime party image of Ibiza is around the world? I go all over the world, if someone in China wants to run an Ibiza party, what do they do? They run it during the daytime and that was the inspiration for all of us. Particularly for Space and for DC10, I wondered why it was 6 o'clock, why it wasn't 12 o'clock, or 2 o'clock? The daytime parties, you realise when you travel round the world, it's such a powerful image of Ibiza, dancing in daylight. I think we all felt that."

Perhaps most interesting of all was the fact that the Consell, don't seem that sure themselves…

Paco Medina
"This is the first year that we tried to change the situation, and we had only 2 months in order to work on this year.  Next year things like the timetable of the opening hours I think is going to change….as a council we're not imposing the opening of the hours, we are trying to bring things together…we only suggest to the town councils… Political bank-pedalling already? Step away from the new law everyone before it backfires drastically!"

We'll leave the last word to Andy McKay…. 

Andy Mckay
"…Lets be realistic about it, there's a market force for after-hours. And after-hour parties will not go away. I think the difference is that people like me, who've now become a little bit of the establishment, will not be doing them, in fact very few people on this table will be doing them, but I think out of this what we're going to get is a new breed of creativity, we're going to get new promoters who WILL break the law, who will find ways to do this little parties and we'll get new talent coming through, and I think that's really positive thing.  … we are a bunch of dinosaurs sometimes as organisations, and I mean that as club owners, as club promoters, and certainly as politicians in the past, and I think it's great that the law has changed and we're going to get some creativity back on this island… I'm not going to be doing any more after-hour parties, but I'm quite happy that other people will." 


Here at Ibiza-Voice we couldn't possibly condone any type of illegal after hour activity, or dancing in the daytime outside of club opening hours, but party safe, in small numbers, without bothering anyone… and I don't think that there'll be that many people rushing to stop you…


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson