Ibiza 2017: How Was It For You #5

Words by: Paul Heilbron
Posted: 23/11/17 14:26

The workers favourite: Paradise at DC-10.

For the last in our series of features recapping the 2017 Ibiza season, we speak to a member of one of the most important groups of people on the island: the Ibiza worker.

Workers in Ibiza make the island tick. They pad out the nights when the tourists aren't filling a venue, they troop from one party to the next on a pitifully small amount of money. They do most of the island's club promotion work. They take on the unpleasant jobs that many are reluctant to do. They endure ever-increasing rents and worsening standards of accommodation. And quite simply, they are the future of dance music. Jamie Jones, Dyed Soundorom, Richy Ahmed, Spactravel and Laura Jones are just some of the DJs who used to be workers on the island. Paul Heilbron reported for Ibiza Voice all season long and for the last in our Ibiza 2017 feature series, tells us what life was really like on the island for this year's workers.

Paul Heilbron, Ibiza worker:  "This season the clichéd statements were bandied about as always; ‘not as good as it used to be’, ‘VIP money is ruining Ibiza.’ But ask the hundreds of Ibiza season workers that are now sat at desks back home scratching their heads looking outside at the pissing rain if they’d do it all over again, and the answer would be a unanimous ‘YES!’

Of course a season on the island does have its drawbacks. It can be intense and difficult. For those that like comfort, normality and routine, being a worker is a struggle. Throw in the obscene rents, basic apartments and the €20 charge for a double shot in the super clubs and it can be hard to see what all the fuss is about. However, the negatives for the majority of workers are insignificant compared to the vast opportunities to have an incomparable time.

Paul Heilborn (furthest right).

This year, like most recent years, apartments were a pain to locate and sort. The closure of so many workers’ apartments blocks made San An burst at the seams with workers attempting to find somewhere to lay their heads for the five months of madness. Apartment rents are ridiculous given the standard of properties we actually live in, and getting your deposit back is almost impossible.

However, there is a reason why workers do multiple seasons. And why their summers in Ibiza are the best of their lives.

Ibiza is about breaking through the barriers of home comforts and normality and wrestling with the mammoth task that is negotiating rave life on the island. It isn't ‘one size fits all.’ The variation of experiences on the island is astronomical and there is something for most people. The increased wealth on the island is obvious, the change is apparent but the original essence of Ibiza is still glistening and many an Ibiza worker would agree that 2017 was still magical.

So what were the workers into this season? After transforming the iconic Space following an emotional farewell in 2016, the launch of Hï for the 2017 season was the source of many worker’s conversations. Granted Hï isn’t Space, and if you keep drawing comparisons, you may never be truly satisfied with it. But considering the colossal shoes the new club was attempting to fill, they gave it a good crack at their first season on the island.

Paul and friends taking in Es Vedra.

There were many plus points for workers. The Disco Toilets was a highlight and source of many an encounter with fellow workers and ‘in The Dark’ issued a season pass to workers, making it a favourite with those in the know.

Workers passes were again key to whether we came to your club regularly or not. Some workers survive on bread and alioli for the Ibiza season so paying for tickets is not an option for the majority of us. Ants, Resistance, Cuckoo Land, Defected, Zoo Project and Sankeys were also firm favourites with workers as a result, while other clubs like Amnesia or Pacha remained a distant dream for those unable to blag a guest list.

The exception to that rule was Paradise. Jamie Jones’ party was once again the most popular night for workers on the island in 2017 despite the fact we had to pay in. A weekly fixture for most, the DC-10 Terrace was swamped with English workers all season.

July saw the return of the king of Ibiza, Carl Cox. He launched his new brand ‘Pure Carl Cox’ at Privilege and one thing we learnt very quickly is that Carl Cox still resonates massively with the new generation of workers, as it did with the workers of bygone seasons.

Both ‘Pure Carl Cox’ events were agreed by most workers to be their highlights of the season. Elrow switching from Space to Amnesia attracted a lot of hype among workers and this was reflected by the enormous numbers Elrow attracted week in, week out. However the general sentiment among workers seems to be that Elrow was much better suited at Space, sorry Amnesia!

Privilege was reborn to reclaim its heyday stature as one of the Ibiza’s most important clubs and it was a fantastic experience for anyone who went this season. ‘Resistance' and ‘Afterlife’ reinvigorated the club and brought high quality weekly nights back to Privilege. Sankeys was still the most obvious “workers club,” despite being thought of by many as nearing the end after announcing that Darius Syrossian would not appear at the club after a fallout with their management in 2015. All that changed with the return of Darius and Do Not Sleep to Sankeys this season, much to the delight of its worker fanbase.  

The improvement to San Antonio’s night life was obvious and perhaps a sign of the changing times. Cuckoo Land over at Ibiza Rocks brought something fresh to San An and Defected drew large crowds regularly and both helped freshen up the town’s ailing club scene. 

Ibiza is becoming more commercial but it still has a distinctive, clandestine edge too it. Private parties, villa parties and workers parties still littered the island this summer. 2017 was the year of the free party also. Blue Marlin, Rumors at Destino and Pikes were popular with workers. And who can forget Solomon’s free party in Ibiza Town’s port at the end of the season.

Modern and hippie ibiza collided at times, particularly at WooMoon, one of the island’s most recent success stories, but the scenes are still distinctly separate.

It may evolve and transform in ways some aren’t happy about but the nucleus of the Ibiza experience, the bohemian ravers, the parties in the hills, dancing on terraces and wondering what exactly happened when October hits; is still the same. Ibiza isn't just a place to go on holiday, it’s a unique culture, a social movement and the pinnacle of the electronic music scene. I can’t wait to see what 2018 season has in the pipeline for us."

For more Ibiza season recap interviews with artists like Adam Beyer or Archie Hamilton, click here.

To read one of Paul's reviews, click here. 



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