Cocoon to Pacha :: Is it a surprise?

Words by: Johnny Lee
Posted: 12/2/18 9:37

Cocoon's relocation to Pacha, after 18 years at Amnesia, took many dance portals reporting the news last week by complete surprise. But, in actual fact, the move has been on the cards for years.

In truth, the 'Cocoon Is Leaving Amnesia' whispers began prior to the start of the 2012 summer season. 2012 was the year Marco Carola and his fledgling Music On brand landed at Amnesia. Mindful that the arrival of another full-bore techno party in San Rafael could undermine their position, team Cocoon were said to be pondering a move away from their long-term home. However, as it turned out, the rumoured relocation never materialised and Cocoon made it through the summer largely unaffected by the arrival of Music On.

18 months later and the Ibiza rumour mill was once again abuzz with reports of Cocoon's imminent departure. And this time Cocoon's new home had been identified - and that venue was Pacha.

The rumours made sense for a number of reasons. At the time, Steve Hulme had just replaced Danny Whittle as Pacha's new Music Director. Hulme, so the story goes, was eager to bring in a big name techno brand to augment Pacha's underground appeal. And his first choice was Cocoon. A guaranteed floor-filler, Sven Väth's legendary party insignia would replace Guy Gerber's overly daring Wisdom of the Glove night on the Pacha roster. But despite being touted by all the right people, once again the proposed merger never materialised.

And so Cocoon and Amnesia romped on. Yet beyond 2014, the gig seemed to go a little flat. The raw inimitability that once distinguished Cocoon from the rest of Amnesia's weekly programme was diminishing year on year. Music On was now rivalling Cocoon as Amnesia's flagship techno event. Then, in 2015, a third gargantuan underground party, in the form of HYTE, landed at Amnesia. The arrival of elrow, the undisputed dance brand of moment, further diluted Cocoon's appeal with transient clubbers who seldom visit the same nightclub more than once during their holiday. Factor in the exponential rise in beach club culture, which continues to hinder post-midnight clubbing attendances across the island, and it's easy to see why Cocoon have chosen to relocate to a more intimate Ibizan venue where they can reign supreme as the only pure techno brand on the roster.

In terms of scheduling, Cocoon at Pacha opens on May 30 - and May 30 is a Wednesday. Yet the fact that Cocoon won't be retaining its legendary Monday timeslot this summer seems entirely logical. After all, following on from Sunday's Solomun+1 party would likely put the two gargantuan party brands in direct completion with each other. The next question, of course, is who makes way for Sven? Reminiscent of Guy Gerber and his aforementioned Wisdom of the Glove shindig, you do wonder if Maceo Plex and his hugely underrated Mosaic party will bear the brunt of being slightly too experimental for Ibiza Town.

And so moving forward, it's time to get excited about the future. And the future is an intriguing one. It will be fascinating to see just what Ricardo Villalobos, Adam Beyer, Nina Kraviz and Ilario Alicante can achieve at a fully refurbished, dancefloor friendly Pacha. While the possibility of hearing more of Sven in pre and after party mode at Pacha's open-air venue Destino is truly mouth-watering.

But leaving all the anticipation and the rumoured whys and wherefores aside for a single sentimental moment, it's still a little sad to see Cocoon and Amnesia parting company. And yet these two influential juggernauts of the scene do so in a genuinely dignified manner, having etched their stomping union into Ibizan folklore forever.

Nevertheless, it definitely feels as though we're closing in on the end of a main era for techno music in Ibiza. Or maybe we've already transitioned into the next phase, a time period defined by the slow migration of full season techno residencies into smaller rooms.


Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson