Cocoon Says Adios To Ibiza Residencies
The iconic Cocoon party, founded by the Godfather of techno Sven Vath has ended its run of Ibiza residencies after 23 years on the island. The first techno parity to establish the genre in Ibiza when it debuted at Amnesia in 1999, was a full-on high energy techno feast that brought clubbers on an ecstasy fuelled journey. It was the industrial sound of Germany, and Frankfurt was the city where Sven Vath plied his trade over three decades, honing his skills to become one of the most respected artists on the techno scene. Sven never sold out on his roots and set the standards for others to follow. His move to remodel his Ibiza residency marks the end of an era for the island currently undergoing a transition stage in its clubbing DNA. Rumours suggest that Cocoon will concentrate on more bespoke, one-off events and guest appearances at selected venues and parties, reflecting a more couture finale to its Balearic legacy.
Sven Vath has always had his finger on the pulse of the island’s beat, and his decision to end the established tradition of holding weekly residencies reflects a change in the island’s party ether. The authentic Ibiza scene is now going underground, with private villa parties and smaller venues reflecting local culture now popular with clubbers not so enamoured with the current commercial scene. I was lucky enough to attend Cocoon at Amnesia in 1999 when Trance and House music were the prominent two genres in Ibiza. I first saw Sven play at Cream in 1997, an established and popular trance event, and I was taken with the sound he was playing, a distinct heavier beat than the euphoric, hands in the air vocal melodies the trademark of the Liverpool party. When it was announced he was to create Cocoon Ibiza in 1999, I was upfront and centre. Thanks to Cocoon, Ibiza turned to Techno which soon began to influence the sound of the island, especially over at DC10, which brought a distinct, lighter, more minimalistic Balearic vibe thanks to DJs like Luciano and Jamie Jones.
The island has changed a lot since Cocoon first shook things up in 1999. It’s not the same innocent, open environment that it used to be. For those of my generation, one that had its time enjoying the spending power of the peseta, open-air terraces, 24 hour day and night parties and the freedom to do essentially what you want, it’s difficult for many of us to relate or connect to the current controlled commercialised scene. In 1999, DJs were paid up to 300 euros a night; today, they are demanding up to 150,000 a gig which is putting massive pressure on clubs and venues to stay open, as trying to balance the books after paying current DJ rates is putting many out of business. Now is the time to shine for artists who are not primarily about the money and more about the music. There are plenty of them resident on the island, Lucky Life and Melon Bomb are two that spring to mind not to mention legends like DJ Pipi and Alfredo. In my opinion, the day of the overpaid celebrity DJ, more invested in their social media image and brand is in decline after two years of Covid starving them of attention and relevance. It was sad to watch some of the Facebook Live streams that cried out for attention during Covid.
Papa Sven can once again change attitudes in Ibiza by promoting a more underground and real agenda where the clubbing scene returns to its roots of diversity, inclusiveness, freedom of expression and a music first policy. This cannot be achieved at the big club venues due to the outlined reasons above. The scene in Ibiza needs to educate young clubbers on the ethics of good music and clubbing sociability, not how to make the perfect and most popular Instagram image on their smartphones. A substance over style agenda will sow the seeds for future clubbers to enjoy. What we seek is not found in the mainstream, plus not everyone can afford to pay 80 euros a ticket and an 800% mark up on drinks. As a generation that created that culture, we need to ensure that its ethos and essence are handed down to our children to understand its real value; otherwise, we will lose it forever. Inclusiveness and diversity were the pillars of the Ibiza club scene. The best chance to rekindle that culture is to go underground and rebuild.
The love is gone replaced by the cold fingers of accountants, influencers and self-promoting DJs.
I prefer not to run down any person’s music style as Ibiza has room for everybody to enjoy themselves. Still, the current scene is not my cup of tea, and I can relate to Sven Vath’s reasons to disconnect from the Ibiza residency circuit. It holds no attraction or resonance for our generation. The love is gone, replaced by the cold fingers of accountants, influencers and self-promoting DJs. Is this the grim reality that faces the clubbing industry going forward? I would prefer not to partake and leave it to a younger generation as the island was always the preserve of youth. Ibiza now has an opportunity to create a more Balearic offering and thankfully I can report that green shoots are emerging from the fertile red Ibicenco soil.
If an artist with the pedigree, talent and respect that Sven Vath holds can influence fresh thinking, there is real hope for a change of direction in the Ibiza party scene. On a personal level, I would like to thank all the team at Cocoon for the many, many good memories and parties and wish them the very best of good health and luck for the future.
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