Another Ibiza season is gone, documented in oh so many Instagram photos and Facebook videos we made with such meticulous obsession before our phones vanished somewhere between the party and the afterparty… or was it between the beach party and the nightclub? Above myriads of fabulous private memories there will always be some typifying features and milestones that place the season in the annals of the epic history of Ibiza – and in this article we will try to single them out.
The resurgence of daytime open air parties might be yesteryear’s news, but it’s in 2014 that the impact of these events increased dramatically. Almost every day there was something exciting and well-attended on offer: tINI & the Gang at Sands, Rumors at Beach House, Luciano & Friends and Diynamic Outdoors at Destino, preparties at Café Mambo, free entry surprise gigs by the likes of Solomun and Jamie Jones.... The true star of Playa d’en Bossa was No Name with its sporadic, semi-clandestine one-offs. Fines, denuncias and last moment cancellations notwithstanding, we finally felt that dancing in the open is back as a permanent fixture, and if a party is shut down somewhere, it will immediately pop up in another location. By the way, Cova Santa, despite of the fact that all of its events were eventually cancelled, doesn’t give up and optimistically promises to come back in 2015. Time will show if Channel Zoo that joined the toll in the middle of the season will ever be back as well.
The only lesson life teaches us is that life teaches us no lesson. When Shazam published its first summer installment of most often identified Ibiza tracks, it was a curious note. When the second and the third ones were disclosed, it looked like as if no one ever checked these lists, since people went on digging for the same tunes over and over: Josh Butler 'Got A Feeling' (Bontan Remix, Pleasurekraft Edit), Emeli Sandé 'Read All About It' (Stefan Biniak Bootleg), Ten Walls 'Walking With Elephants' et cetera, et cetera... The hugest mystery was how ‘Forget’ by Patrick Topping managed to keep topping the chart throughout the season – this track has been posted and re-posted by so many sites, blogs and socket accounts, only a blind person could have missed out on it.
From Bieber vs Bloom scuffle to Riccardo Tisci’s birthday bash, Ibiza now should be called not Hippy but Vippy island. Going on holiday here is like coming of age, proving the bottomlessness of your bank account and confirming your jet-setter status all in one. Half a century ago celebrities and aristocracy adored Ibiza as an island of escapism, where no one ever got to know about their entertainment and misbehaving. Now Ibiza allures VIP clientele for exactly the opposite reason: making a selfie on the island is every socialite’s duty, even if this socialite is just a Z-list reality show “star”. And then kids fly to Ibiza not for the sake of listening to Carl Craig or Todd Terry (who are they?), but because the lovely Bieber was there.
For a long time Ibiza had a reputation of a completely safe and clean island, and Formentera was baptized as “the last piece of Paradise in the Mediterranean”. Very soon, though, this paradise may be lost thanks to oil exploration right off the coast of Ibiza. The first half of 2014 witnessed a massive anti-oil public campaign that included collection of signatures, street processions and celebrities speaking out against the prospection. At the moment the fight against oil exploration in the Mediterranean is going on in the European Parliament.
The second glaring case was that of Tagomago: protected area with unique flora and fauna, a part of Natura 2000 network, an important destination of birds migration routes and a private island that is rented out per weeks. There is a luxury villa and a beach club on Tagomago, and this summer brought up the issue of the island’s further development, such as enlarging the moorings and opening a hotel in the lighthouse. Even though the projects were rejected by the authorities and Tagomago is in the process of being declared a Special Area of Conservation now, the very name of the tiny island became synonymous with the self-will of the rich.
Middle-sized clubs and their homogeneous programming
Until recently, Ibiza was dominated by superclubs that were huge, famous and ready to accommodate every single music genre. Moreover, they were aiming at representing as many genres as possible, catering for a vast and most diverse audience. In 2014 Sankeys, Booom resolutely broke this pattern, thus putting a new format on Ibiza party map: middle-sized club, customized for a particular type of sound. In terms of brand identity it’s cool when a certain venue is associated with a certain kind of music, but this might not work for hangar-sized discos. But honestly, who needs hangars now that there are so many beach clubs?
Ibiza can’t live a single season without a big club scandal. It’s true that Booom wasn’t evicted out of the premises it occupies, but instead we witnessed the Gatecrasher saga. The notorious UK brand took over the renovated yet poorly attended Eden club almost immediately after entering into administration in Birmingham, which looked really suspicious. But as it often happens, the glitzy name won over hard facts and people put their faith in Gatecrasher, which eventually led to party cancellations, staff being not paid for months, DJs being announced on posters even though they had officially refused to perform, and the season rounded off prematurely. Ibiza party landscape has never been too pastoral: feuds, denuncias and framings are rife on our island, but Gatecrasher simply brought it to the next level.
Measure and reason
Last summer too many promoters believed Ibiza was ready for a profusion of underground events and deplorably burnt their fingers on oversaturating the island’s party programme with this type of sound. This season clubs acted way more prudent: for example, the only new nights at Amnesia and Pacha were pure EDM, and Ushuaïa left just one non-commercial event in their schedule. However, the sound that is once again noticeably solidifying its positions in Ibiza is more or less classical house, be it its vocal, deep or tech variation: championed by the likes of Insane, Ibiza Rocks House at Pacha or almost any party at Booom, the music that is neither too underground nor commercial is back in the big game.
The ball spins around the wheel until the dealer says "no more bets or rien ne va plus".