Lately there have been lots of complaints about parties in Ibiza that are harmful, illegal or disturbing. A few days ago after receiving an alert from the ecologists’ police stopped a 300 capacity boat party. Residents of the neighboring houses were disturbed by the loud music from the AMP open air in Dalt Vila and Music On afterparty at Cova Santa. Two illegal raves were shut down at Cala Comte and Cala Vedella during the latest full moon. Several bars exceeded noise limits and aren’t allowed to play music anymore until they install special equipment that will regulate the loudness of their soundsystems.
Instead of taking sides and sympathizing either with the infuriated locals or the party-goers failing to understand how such beautiful thing as music can disturb someone, we got perplexed by the question: why do the authorities need to crack down on parties now? For decades Ibiza was a free and tolerant island, why impose restrictions and limitations today?
First of all, parties in their modern, EDM-ish incarnation, have almost nothing to do with what happened in Ibiza clubs, coves and villas before. 25 years ago music was not as loud as now, so that people could enjoy talking to each other – talking, not screaming at the top of their lungs straight into their interlocutor’s ear. The soundsystems were not as powerful, but even if they were, they couldn’t disturb the neighbours, simply because there were no neighbours nearby. Marina Botafoc and Playa d’en Bossa used to be pretty empty and uninhabited if compared to their present state, clubs stood away from residential areas and there was no chance for clubbing excesses to interfere with casual everyday life. The only club that had permanent issues with neighbours was Ku, before it was baptized as Privilege and covered with a roof, but its promoters found a smart solution – they just rented the adjusting houses for the whole season so that the music and the party crowds wouldn’t irritate anyone.
40 years ago there was no mass market tourism in Ibiza. Celebrities, millionaires, bohemian folk, artists and freaks used to come here on holiday, but they were not that numerous. They didn’t buy package tours and were much better integrated into Ibiza lifestyle, staying at villas and respecting local traditions. Now the island welcomes more than 3 millions tourists a year with at least 1 million, we reckon, being young, wild and reckless – we can’t but admit that there should be some control over the crowds.
If each person of these 3 millions leaves just one plastic bottle on the beach and throws a cigarette end on the road, Ibiza will be if not burned to the ashes than buried under plastic. Because of the tourist influx our island has been suffering from scarce electricity and water supply in summers. Some time ago the Buddha face painted on a rock in Atlantis was vandalized (but then, fortunately, restored) – if we need to find a symbol for the lout devastation that Ibiza undergoes quite often now, this is it.
The excuse that people are having fun and spreading good vibes, so let’s be more tolerant to their antics, is not relevant anymore. Enthusiasts propagating love and fun have been replaced by businessmen winkling out from the island the maximum it can give.
Indeed, parties used to be a cultural phenomenon where people got to know each other, discovered new music, got inspired by diverse ways of thinking and enjoyed freedom of self-expression. To be precise, its subculture rather than culture, but the essence is the same.
On the contrary, modern parties are not about involvement, interaction and sharing experiences, they are about consumption. People come to Ibiza to see a show, to buy merchandize, to make iPhone videos, to post check-ins and to consume everything that can be consumed, drugs included.
Didn’t parties disturb the locals at all decades ago? Of course they did – not only parties but people of different lifestyles who advocated alternative morals and values. For example, in 1968 41 hippies were expelled from Ibiza for alleged drug dealing deviant behavior. Now in a globalized society we’ve come to a state when banning anyone won’t help – if you push out an intruder, another one will take his place in a matter of seconds. Spreading awareness and consciousness is what we need to keep Ibiza a harmonious place.
Who will take the responsibility to regulate the rules of the game? Clubs and promoters are way more interested in their revenues, and what’s more, they are in a constant fight against each other, so hardly a consensus can be reached here. Clubbers themselves – come on, they are here to consume, not to take care.
Who else then? Government and non-governmental organizations. They aren’t perfect, but there is just no one else to take on the duty. The clubbing scene is regulated by people who don’t belong to it and who aren’t especially interested in developing it. For them it’s often easier to ban something than to find a more elaborate solution. And they can’t be blamed for this – clubheads would do the same if asked to take control of, for example, horticulture or needlework.
We get frustrated when a party is stopped by the police. We get angry when we are forced to turn the volume down. We get mad when we are told that our fun is someone’s grief. What we want is others to be tolerant towards us and not vice versa. Sorry, guys, but such an approach will lead us to a dead end.
We need tourism and entertainment in Ibiza to be environmentally friendly, discrimination free, safe and not so crazily expensive. That’s why we should re-evaluate our own behaviour before grumbling over the laws, rules and bans.