The tectonic plates which Ibiza clubland is built upon, shifted quiet markedly this summer. Previously iconic institutions like Space, Ibiza Rocks Live and the original Pacha were lost to us, while a question mark hangs over the elder statesman of the islands clubbing identity, Privilege. When one door shuts another variably opens, and Ibiza 2017 will be remembered for the much heralded arrival of the islands newest superclub, Hi. While some may forlornly gaze at the closed door, those who look forward will do so with optimism and hope as Hi has been a game changer raising the bar to new levels. It was another good year for the two big players on the Ibiza Clubbing scene, the Matutes/Night League alliance (aka Ushuaia Entertainment) and Amnesia, but many clubs were remarking that business was down about 20-30% on last year. Was it to do with the weak sterling exchange rate or were there too many parties this season? I feel it was a combination of both combined with a growing preference by the UK market for daytime parties.
In Ibiza town, the first year without the direction of the Urgell family, Pacha was not the same. Its new corporate parents, Trilantic Capital Partners, have decided to close the club for refurbishment over the winter, further disconnecting itself from the locals. One or two Pacha parties did not have a good season and it will be interesting to see what happens with the music schedual there next year, as the bean counters submit the profit and loss statements to its investors. Solomun’s rumoured move to Amnesia is sure to keep the dogs barking over the winter months, as the time looks right to freshen up his act. Ushuaia will be happy with its season, although they will need to keep an eye on its upmarket beach bars and hotel venues which would benefit from a more an inclusive party atmosphere. Sankeys is hanging in there and DC10 had an uneventful season with the musical headlines been made elsewhere. Maybe a move by Jamie Jones to the Ushuaia stable next year? We will be keeping an eye on this story over the winter.
Privilege was in the preseason news for two big parties that lit up the old venue, Carl Cox and Resistance. Both performed well but the creaking club is really showing signs of old age and the facilities there need a major upgrade if it is to compete with the likes of Hi, Ushuaia and Amnesia. Taking off its shaky roof and returning it to a daytime, outdoor venue would offer the club a new lease of life but any move to refurbish the venue is unlikely to have the backing of its two owners. That said, both Elrow and Woomoon are been mentioned in dispatches as transfer possibilities to Privilege 2018 with Afterlife moving elsewhere, buts its very early in the game to be betting on rumours. Eden has found a good partner in Defected Records and it looks certain to replace the once mighty Judgement Sundays as San Antonios most popular party as there is little real competition about. Judge Jules party remains in the Intensive Care Unit and the most humane option at this stage would be to put it to sleep.
Those DJ’s and promoters who made the risky move to sign with Hi this summer will be happy with their decision. The club has found a replacement for Carl Cox with Black Coffee who made a really impressive debut and hats off to The Night League for its brave signing of the previously unknown South African. Much credit must go to the Pissenem brothers Yann and Romain, who had the club ready to open on time and their French fingerprints were all over the stylish design of the venue, where attention to detail and the islands unique identity were preserved. I loved the open air areas and the olive trees out front. Still not convinced about that Wild unisex toilet room though. We will blog a more in depth review of Hi but suffice to say the club is at the vanguard of the islands new clubbing direction and it will set the trends for others to follow.
Marco Carola and Music On was the seasons best party once again, it even survived a rare cheese virus that attached itself to Carola’s decks in August. The virus also affected the DC10 turntables but not to the same effect. All across the island some well paid DJ’s, felt it was a good idea to play 80’s music in their sets. To my ears, 80’s music is EDM, the new sixties I have heard people refer to it as, but should DJ’s be dropping sure fire 80’s hits into Ibiza sets in clubs? Weddings, bars and niche venues you can make an argument, but in clubs where punters have paid good money to get in, should they have to listen to music that is older than them? Black Coffee was playing an interesting sound at Hi but once again deep Tech held sway with an EDM/Underground hybrid sound also emerging. The track of the summer went to Camelphat & Elderbrook’s Cola which was rinsed and remixed everywhere.
Other notable mentions include the iconic sunset venue Cafe Mambo which landed Deadmau 5 and David Guetta this season, Ocean Beach for its dominance on the West Side daytime party market, Pikes for keeping it real, Hostal La Torre for its Balearic music program, Zoo Project for its wild experience, Woomoon and Las Dalias for keeping the hippy spirit alive and Elements in Benirras for Northern spirit. In club politics, the San Jose council declared war on all Beach Clubs in its municipality, introducing new laws that could effectively stop any parties from starting but it was business as usual for the big players like Blue Marlin, Bora Bora and CBBC.
Overall Ibiza 2017 will be remembered for the loss of Space and both its Opening and Closing parties which were part of the islands musical heritage. Those beautiful simple moments on the terrace surrounded by people of the world. We also said goodbye to Ricardo Urgell and his beloved Pacha club inspired by the hippy dream which is fast becoming a distant memory. For a certain generation a new dawn has risen over the islands clubbing landscape, a lot has changed from those carefree days of the 80’s and 90’s and Ibiza is about to start a new cycle in its life. With the opening of Hi the island has traded in its old Mehari for a high spec executive that was built to order by French engineers and its now the vehicle that will drive the islands musical direction for the next few decades.