For The Record: Ibiza needs to stop playing it safe

Words by: I Voice
Posted: 17/7/17 18:12

Last week Mary Ann Hobbs, told the Guardian she would rather gnaw her own leg off than go to Ibiza.

For the UK’s most well known champion of underground music to rail against one of the world’s oldest bastions of dance music is extremely telling about the island’s music scene. This is afterall one of the earliest champions of dubstep and bass music. A regular and avid supporter of techno and drum ’n’ bass and all of the myriad of sub genres that skirt in between our scene and the experimental fringes of rock.

Does the island have anything to worry about if people like Mary Ann Hobbs are turning their noses up? Perhaps Ibiza needs to accept it is not as cutting edge as it once was.

Compare the club listings for events in Berlin or Croatia this Summer with Ibiza’s and there are very obvious differences of opinion on what is fashionable, and what is deemed to be a safe booking. Over the last ten years we have seen new genres come and go. Dubstep for example was one of the biggest sounds of the 2000's however rarely set foot on the island. Acts like Ben UFO or Pearson Sound are only now just regularly pushing onto island lineups. But where are the Pangea’s and Hodge’s?

Helena Hauff and Shanti Celeste are two of the most exciting new names in electronic music but while both have several dates lined up for Croatia, neither have been booked to play Ibiza. Discwoman’s Umfang has been widely acclaimed for her new album but similarly has not found her way onto any of the island’s listings.

Ibiza does certain things very well. House, Tech House, Techno? Check. Big Room dance music? Check. But where are the sounds of tomorrow? Where is the adventurism?

It’s clear a very important Ibizan club tradition is dying that is as vital to the island’s identity as salt flats and Hierbas. The Ibiza of the 80s, 90s and even 2000s always had one foot in the future. Back in the 1980s at clubs like Amnesia or Ku, DJs like Alfredo were introducing Europe to prototype house music. Future stars like Paul Oakenfold or Sven Väth danced open mouthed and wide eyed under the moonlight before going back to their respective countries to mimic what they’d discovered on the island.

In 2017 we need to rediscover the adventurism of those early days. We need more spaces where new music has the correct amount of space, freedom and time to develop. Too often Ibiza lineups are hampered by the need to fill huge cavernous rooms.

The island’s obsession with super clubs and tickets means its bookers are forced to play it safe and only book those acts deemed to be a safe ticket in Ibiza. A lack of smaller clubs and parties means those acts that require the attention of the more forward thinking music fans have nowhere to go, apart from to catch a token booking for Mosaic at Pacha, Circoloco or Pikes.

Maybe we need more rooms in the big clubs dedicated to new music, much like the days of Manumission when the Coco Loco room was the instant ‘Go To’ room for more forward thinking music fans.

More than ever we need Ibiza to to rediscover its ‘cool.’ We need to realise that being at the forefront of music is more important to the long running health of the island than appeasing the lazy tastes of the island’s super rich. We need an influx of new music fans and DJs. And most importantly, we need important figures in our scene like Mary Ann Hobbs to want to play in Ibiza.


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson