Music On, photo from https://www.facebook.com/musiconofficial/
Paco Osuna, Do Not Sleep's Neil Evans, and Pikes and former We Love promoter Sarah Broadbent step up for the fourth in our series of features recapping the Ibiza 2017 season.
A few years ago, anyone hoping to catch Rødhåd and Len Faki performing at Pacha would have been sectioned on the spot. Thanks to parties like Maceo Plex’s Mosaic who brought both acts to the club for the first time, unadulterated techno was everywhere in 2017.
Circoloco booked Marcel Dettmann and Nina Kraviz. At Privilege, Carl Cox conserved the age-old traditions of the rave scene, leaving Afterlife to focus on the more sci-fi side of techno. Over the road at Amnesia, Cocoon celebrated 18 years as Ibiza’s longest running techno night and Marco Carola's Music On once again pulled some of Amnesia’s biggest numbers.
Ibiza 2017 was also a big summer for leftfield venues like Pikes, where DJ Harvey and Artwork regularly delivered extended sets. And of course UK tech house. Electric Ibiza programmed not one, but two, weekly events - the first Do Not Sleep at Sankeys in Playa d'en Bossa, and the second - Cuckoo Land in San Antonio, with the former being spearheaded by one of the scene’s most outspoken DJs, Darius Syrossian.
Paco Osuna and Marco Carola at Music On Closing.
Paco Osuna, resident for Music On: “When I started out as a resident at Amnesia in 1999, the only techno night on the island was Cocoon. Now techno is huge. Over the years, I have seen how techno music has grown in popularity in Ibiza. Richie, Marco, Sven, Ricardo, Carl, Luciano, Dice, myself - we built something incredibly special on the island.
In the beginning, it was so nice to see all of us together as friends, sharing music, production ideas, having fun before the gigs and at the after-hours. Everybody was close. Now this magic has changed. I think that once we became famous there was a conflict of egos. My night is better than your night, that kind of thing. But I'm really out of all of that.
In a musical sense, there was a time when all of us here in Spain - and I include myself in this - thought of Ibiza as being totally separate to Spain. The dance scene and the music people were listening to on the dancefloor in Ibiza, was completely different to the music we were listening to in Barcelona.
For example, when Pacha was having huge success with guys like Erick Morillo and Roger Sanchez, in Barcelona, we were really getting into house music from San Francisco. The sounds of DJ Garth and David Alvarado; a deeper kind of sound. We refused the music that was playing in Ibiza because it was too commercial. Back then, Spanish people only went to Ibiza to party at Privilege. Today, Ibiza is much closer to Spain and everyone is going to Ibiza."
The Pikes guestlist always attracts cheek.
Sarah Broadbent, events manager Pikes Hotel: “The original freedoms we once had here in Ibiza have nearly gone. But I think that's only natural. Look at the pictures from Amnesia all those years ago when Alfredo first started playing. There's only about 100 people on the dancefloor. It looks great, but you can afford to have that kind of freedom when there are only 100 people inside your venue. As soon as you have 5,000 bodies on the dancefloor, the crowds need to be controlled.
Here at Pikes, we are trying to find a balance between modern Ibiza and hippie Ibiza, making it safe enough for a few hundred people to dance, without controlling the things that are fun. In contrast to the clubs, we’re conscious not to charge an entry fee on the door. We want to keep the traditional vibe of the island alive and we believe that charging massive amounts on the door could have a negative impact on that.
Interestingly, considering the way Ibiza is modernising, Pikes is becoming more popular and the crowds are growing. The age and history of the venue creates its own atmosphere.
Obviously it's wonderful that so many top DJs want to play here now, but moving forward we want to steer away from being an after party venue. Instead, we want to continue focusing on our fun house parties. These are the events that make people feel like they’re partying somewhere historic, somewhere really special."
Do Not Sleep residents Darius Syrossian and Alan Fitzpatrick.
Neil Evans, Do Not Sleep promoter: “This year, we put on two very different parties at two very different venues, at opposite ends of the spectrum. Do Not Sleep at Sankeys [in Playa d'en Bossa], an underground night with no compromise on music whatsoever. And Cuckooland Pool Party, a daytime event at Ibiza Rocks Hotel [in San Antonio], where the challenge was to make the transition to a pool party.
Do Not Sleep at Sankeys seemed the perfect fit. We had some of the most outstanding nights I've ever been to in Ibiza. There aren’t very many places left where the crowd is a purist music crowd; it really did put my faith back into the scene. Names like Mathias Kaden, Caleb Calloway and Christian Burkhardt stood out alongside residents Darius Syrossian and Alan Fitzpatrick, who always lead from the front.
Ibiza is now so competitive that many promoters are playing it safe. You see the same DJ playing at three or four different parties in the same week and the venues are still busy. Other nights trying to be more experimental can struggle. But you have to find your niche and work damn hard to make it work.
In general, I don't think anyone really knew what the end of Space would mean for Ibiza. I don’t think we've seen the full effects yet. But we do know that there are less real clubbers on the island than in previous years. Ibiza has always been expensive, but is definitely becoming a lot more elitist.
Even so, I can’t see anywhere else taking over. Croatia is tour operator-led rather than club led and it doesn’t have the same infrastructure. But I do think that Ibiza's pricing policies have to change. I don’t think the kids can afford to pay the ridiculously high prices anymore. The island has become overpriced."
Photo credits: Mike Portlock (Pikes), Marc De Groot (Do Not Sleep).