With the long, hot summer finally coming to end, we thought it best to cool down and reflect on a season aptly dubbed “the season of change”. Time and tide have brought many novelties to the island - some of them joyous, some of them disquieting… and all of them noteworthy. Here, we outline the 10 trends that - to our eyes at least - epitomised the season just gone…
01. VIP Obsession
Like it or not, Ibiza is only getting even more upmarket. Between the likes of Lio, Cipriani, Destino (Pacha’s new Hotel and Resort), Ushuaia Tower and now – the plans to refurbish Heaven club – it’s clear that Ibiza’s yearning for upmarket clientele (and upmarket prices) hasn’t been fully exploited quite yet. Such news though, isn’t solely limited to the high rollers. Indeed, it has an adverse knock-on effect on the wallet of your average clubber too, with club tickets and taxi journeys both steadily increasing year-on-year as a result.
Inevitably, a new, snobby element has crept into segments of the island, with the easy-going, cordial, hippy-chic vibes that once characterised Ibiza becoming less and less commonplace. So let’s do our utmost to preserve the White Isle’s soul - before it turns into another Las Vegas or San Tropez.
02. National Separation
Ibiza has always been a melting pot of clubbers from all over the world. This season, however, nationalities seemed to stringently stick together. Marco Carola’s Italian armada for instance, followed his every move, while Sankeys grew into an almost totally British club; with San Antonio going even further and consolidating its status as an independent enclave.
Couple this with the “VIP vs. mortals” division, and it’s clear the island is becoming increasingly segmented, with each group increasingly easy to pigeonhole. There was a time when Ibiza wasn’t a marketer’s playground, but a chance to meet fascinating characters from all over the world. If the majority could just spread their wings a bit and free themselves of the shackles of these self-imposed national ghettos, the morale of the entire island would benefit.
03. Underground Assimilation
The “underground” is no longer a legitimate identity, but rather, just another buzzword used to hype a party. Too many PR & Promoter “masterminds” are aware of the fact too, so much so that they play it safe with their line-ups; line-ups usually brimming with well-known, so-called “underground” figures.
The type of act essentially, that’s sure to draw a predictably uneducated crowd. A “tourist” vibe has left its mark on the island, replacing the one-time plethora of savvy clubbers and musical connoisseurs. We can only hope the island’s clubbing spirit makes a comeback in the near future.
04. Beach Club Domination
Venues such as Ushuaia and Ocean Beach Club might raise the quality bar and introduce new clubbing standards to the island, but they also steal the audience from small restaurants and bars. Amateur “clubbers” in search of instant gratification flock to the venues in their droves; keen as they are to experience confetti cannons and stadium-style DJ performances.
What they miss out on however, is the chance to spend the evening in an intimate venue with typical food, local DJ’s and authentic vibes. It’s a shame, because the trademark Ibiza style is composed of these many beautiful places, each of which is - in its own way - both unique and individual. The beach clubs might be worthy of admiration, but they also offer a manufactured experience that can be replicated in many other corners of the world.
05. Techno Invasion
This summer, techno and house clearly dominated the island’s musical landscape. Again. Ibiza’s reputation as the “Clubbing Capital of the World” presupposes far more diversity, but that is mere theory. No matter how oversaturated the market seemed, this summer, clubbers voted for both with their feet, and it’s abundantly clear they’ll continue to remain as the island’s foremost genres - and accompanying soundtrack - for some time yet.
06. Gimmicks Explosion
New parties coming to Ibiza these days tend to offer more than simply music. Whether it’s a black dot (ENTER.), a red bandanna (Viva Warriors) or neon painting (Diynamic), each and every one tends to rely on their marketing acumen as much as the music in their attempts to entice punters. But hey, it’s fun, it’s fantasy, and it offers an almost peerless sense of belonging to something tangible. So we’re all for it too.
07. Afterparties Absolution
Despite being technically illegal, after-parties by Cocoon, ENTER., Music On and more became the worst kept secrets on the island. An accidental beach reveler could easily bump into Sven Vath shaking sand off his records at a small, beachside restaurant for instance, while one didn’t need a private detective to discover Marco Carola’s whereabouts on a Saturday morning. In that sense, we should be fleetingly grateful to the financial crisis. Without it, Ibiza’s licensing laws might not be so flexible.
08. Mid-season Cancellations
A huge amount of parties were cancelled right in the middle of the summer. Es Paradis parted with established R&B clubbing brand Twice as Nice, Eden gave up their Mondo Loco night, while Sankeys, well Sankeys waved goodbye to inefficient parties with some regularity throughout the course of the summer. Next season, both promoters and clubs would do well to not bite off more than they can chew.
09. Media Inflation
The media has always been obsessed with Ibiza, and not usually for the right reasons. The current spate of Ibiza-related media projects seems to mirror the point too, with many of them just as trashy and forgetful as the White Isle’s seedier and more generic sides. Every second venue on the island offers a case in point too, as many have launched their own magazines for reasons we still can’t fully comprehend. Crucially, the majority of these new projects are lacking in two pivotal factors: quality and originality.
10. Season Extension
The season is obviously getting longer. Not only were the closings postponed for a week, but the IMS kicked off a week earlier too, starting as it did in late May. Winter entertainment is becoming even more diverse too, with both Bubbles and Sankeys staying open. Although the weather in September and early October remains unpredictable, it still seems a good idea to prolong the extravaganza. After all, it’s the spirit, the sense of community, the incomparable freedom and of course, the music – rather than the weather – that remains Ibiza’s foremost characteristic.
Love and respect to Ibiza 2012. See you in 2013