Hands up if you want a new residency in Ibiza this summer? Photo credit: Facebook
MK's new pool party rubberstamps San Antonio's re-emergence as a clubbing superpower…
Todd Terry, Craig David, Derrick Carter, Rudimental, Roger Sanchez, Sandy Rivera, CamelPhat, Stormzy, Amine Edge & Dance, Monki, Claptone, Franky Rizardo, Danny Howard… and now MK, who will front a new pool party residency at Ibiza Rocks this summer, these are just a few of the top-level electronic acts locked down to perform in San Antonio in 2018. It's a far cry from the situation just a few years ago when clublife in Ibiza's second city looked completely doomed.
So what's changed? Well, right now, the promotion teams currently working the town to really understand their audience. The task they face is very specific: programming parties to a marketplace comprised predominately of British tourists, aged 18 to 25. Yet despite their youth, the kids who hang in San An are extremely knowledgeable about their music. If you have designs on acquiring their hard-earned cash, it goes without saying that you need to deliver the very best in dance music entertainment. And presently top party brands like Defected and Ibiza Rocks are doing just that.
One of the faces behind San Antonio's continuing revival is Defected label boss Simon Dunmore. Speaking to Ibiza Voice about the relocation of his all-conquering house music brand to San Antonio, Simon explains: "Good business is all about repeat business. Ibiza benefits massively from having amazing hotels, top restaurants and great beaches. And people definitely look up to their celebrity idols who tweet about their 5-star experiences in Ibiza. It encourages people to come here on holiday. But most people can't afford to live like that, so they have to be catered for. I have nothing against the whole VIP thing - it has it's place - I just think the balance is wrong, that’s all. Charging kids 10€ for a bottle of water, for instance, it's obscene."
Defected returns to Eden this summer, photo credit: Facebook
Are you concerned that rising prices may prevent young clubbers from visiting the island?
"100%. I want my label to have longevity and to have longevity you have to keep attracting the young kids to the dancefloor. As people move on through life they need to be replaced by the next generation of clubbers. So to go to Eden, which is populated by a younger demographic, and to make it an affordable night, is absolutely our strategy. I think it worked massively last year. We were super happy with the results. I think that will stand us in good stead this summer."
Is it more of a challenge booking DJs into San Antonio compared to Pacha?
"Certain managers and certain agents have the perception that San An isn’t the cool place to be. But I think that's changing. And do you know what? San Antonio is where the kids are based and if you want your DJ to play to a crowd that is really engaged, right now it's the best place on the island."
Will Defected benefit from added foot traffic if Sankeys doesn't open?
"With Ushuaïa, Hï and Sankeys being in Playa d'en Bossa, it makes that destination very attractive. If Sankeys doesn’t open, it may have a small effect, but I don’t think it would be significant at this moment in time. But if Sankeys are going to open they are leaving it really late considering they are yet to announce any sort of programme. They may be of the opinion that they can announce in the middle of April. Nevertheless, I think it will have a detrimental effect on their season in what already feels like is going to be a tough year."
Ibiza Rocks Director of Programming, Jordan Hallpike is also working to positively to enhance San Antonio's image as a bona-fide clubbing destination.
Is it true the average age of clubbers visiting Ibiza is rising?
"Apparently so," Jordan says, "but up until now we don't seem to have been affected and I personally haven't seen a change. The reason why Ibiza Rocks has always been so important is because it offers something exciting to young people wanting to travel to Ibiza. They decide to come to Ibiza Rocks because they feel it is achievable and affordable and most importantly they know and want to see the artists performing here. So, while the average age across the rest of the island seems to be increasing, our audience isn't getting any older. As the biggest youth brand on the island, I think it is important for us to continue leading the way, rather than looking to change into something we're not."
Stormzy #MerkyFestival 2017 @ Ibiza Rocks. Due to demand, now a 2 day event in 2018, photo credit: Facebook
Does it matter that artists like Stormzy aren’t delivering a traditional Balearic soundtrack?
"Stormzy is an act that we have a super relationship with. We love working with him and his team. He started supporting us four years ago and you could see then that he was an absolute star in the making, yet so humble and professional. He's played headline shows for us, gone on to front a mini-residency, and last summer we put something together that really showcased his status as an artist: the #MERKY Festival where we laid on a festival-sized line-up."
Do you think grime music is helping San Antonio evolve?
"This genre of music is a crossover sound. From the underground to the more commercial dancefloors, grime music reaches out to various cultures and demographics. This sound is being played by 10-year-olds and 40-year-old ravers. Kids living in white neighbourhoods, kids living in black neighbourhoods. It's a really important sound that represents current youth culture and what we're doing here at Ibiza Rocks is offering that sound a platform in Ibiza, just like we did with rock music in the mid-part of the last decade. That's why Stormzy is so important to San Antonio. He enables San Antonio, yet again, to be this musical hub for young people. Not only is it great musically, it also helps to keep the average age of clubbers visiting the Ibiza as low as possible, which is important, because in the longer term these kids are the lifeblood of the island."
Ibiza Rocks TS5 pool party 2017, photo credit: Facebook
And now to this week's big news - what can you tell us about MK's new AREA10 pool party residency at Ibiza Rocks?
"The booking is a testament to what we achieved at the venue last year. The fact that we can approach artists like MK and they want to work with us is a good sign. It also illustrates how far San Antonio has come in the last couple of years. When I first had a conversation with MK's agent, his team were excited. So I flew to Amsterdam over the wintertime and we put together a very appealing package for five exclusive shows. I think MK's production history within the house music scene is second to none. He's somebody that both underground and commercial artists want to work with and he' also really recognisable to our audience. I think the sound he delivers from a DJ perspective is just perfect for a sun-licked, daytime, poolside environment like the one we have here at Ibiza Rocks. The whole concept is on a perfect tip for us and we're very excited about the summer ahead."
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