The controversy around club closing times is one of the oldest beefs in Ibiza. Every few years it seems to change. Back an hour one year, forward an hour another and the intention behind closing clubs, although annoying for the 7am ravers, is a sane one.
We fully agree with the main argument the government accentuates when imposing restrictions: while parents are taking their kids to school in the morning, drunken party animals shouldn’t be jumping on their car bonnets, chanting Seven Nations Army and waving, for the lack of a flag, the sweaty t-shirts they just took off. Yet doesn’t the problem exist precisely as the consequence of the uniformed closing hours for all nightlife institutions?
In a practical, sane world it may sound insane to say, but clubs in Ibiza should be open 24 hours per day. And no, it’s not because we want to party that madly. We believe that a more flexible approach to opening and closing hours will contribute to the comfort of Ibiza society and will create a more friendly environment both for tourists and locals alike.
When all the big discos in Ibiza turn off the music simultaneously, thousands of people are forced to spill on the streets. Queuing for taxis and buses triggers aggressiveness. Thirst and desire to carry on push crowds to the nearest shops, which result in bottlenecks everywhere. On the contrary: imagine what would happen if everyone had a chance to leave the club at any chosen time. Party people will be evenly distributed more reasonably through the surrounding areas, integrating organically into the everyday life of the island.
Ibiza doesn’t even have to be a pioneer in this sphere. Look at Berlin. Is the infamous afterparty capital of Europe drowning in cruelty, abuse and scandal due the fact that clubbers can have fun as long as they want? Nope, Berlin occupies 13th position in a list of cities rated for their quality of life. Damian Klimak from Ipse, a club on the River Spree in Berlin, argues that when you leave the decision of when to leave for the guest, you avoid situations where crowd control is needed."Less people are waiting in the queue, therefore we have less aggressions, less pressure to get drunk before the club closes and less people needing a taxi at the same time. That means less security is needed and less dangerous incidents happen."
Until 2005 in the UK pubs had to stop serving spirits after 11pm. Was it wise? By 11pm there was be a stampede of thirsty customers, fighting for their right to get the last pint. And then they would fight once again, with each other, in the street, in the midst of the tipsy crowds. After pubs were allowed to sell alcohol 24 hours, it didn’t have any detrimental effect on the society. The UK pub trade has been slow to react to changing times. But even though pubs aren't opening that much later since the law came into force, the rate of violent crimes in the country has gone down, and the number of teetotallers is steadily growing. Of course, this can’t be contributed only to a more permissive alcohol legislation - but neither did the country fall apart or turn into a booze-obsessed mental hospital.
The time has come for common sense. No matter how political parties change and no matter what a controversial issue nightlife legislation is, one thing is obvious: forcing huge crowds to leave clubs in one synchronized movement is a firm cause for endemic misbehaviour.
Last but not least: think about the knock on effect of what happens to those people cast out of the club at current closing times. At 7am there is literally nothing to do: cafes are closed, afterparties are banned, beach beds are piled and chained! So the only way out for the frustrated clubber is to come back to their hotel room, take a seat on the balcony, switch on music on a phone and annoy a neighbour. Or drive worse for wear around the island hunting that elusive villa party in the hills. Wouldn’t it be wiser to let people stay on a dancefloor until it's their time to make their decision to go, not yours?