The golden era of the Hippy movement in Ibiza was the 1970s. A decade of innocence, purity, freedom and happiness, where a sweet little Mediterranean island became the crossroads for international travelers discovering enlightenment and new experiences. Much of the islands identity is coloured by those magical days, where the ebb and flow of people created a rich bazaar of artistic creativity and beauty. Ibiza was a melting pot where Arabian travelers met with Indian, African and Hawaiian pilgrims as they explored the spiritual world as one. When the first hippies arrived in Ibiza they discovered an island suspended in time, populated with warm friendly people, who would welcome them into their homes with offers of cool water, sobrassada and bread. It was a simple way of life where people lived in communion with the land and it was the natural cleanliness of the island that led the more discerning travelers, to become an influential part of its society.
The establishment of the Morna Valley private school, in 1973 by the Blackstead family, was a landmark monument of the hippy era in Ibiza. A school like no other, where children of the hippies were exposed to the arts, literature and diverse cultures. The movement then blossomed in unison with the island, as the visitors thrived on the organic way of life introducing Ibicencos to new methods of horticulture. They also brought money to a poor community, offering 8000 Pts a month to rent old fincas while their owners moved into apartments in the city for a quarter of the rent. Sadly for the hippies, they did not think far enough ahead to purchase the fincas, as they were always going to move on to Goa manana, but in reality never did. It was this crucial mistake that led to the beginning of the end of the Hippy golden era in Ibiza, as Spanish and German visitors started to buy up the fincas and land realising the potential of cheap real estate.
With the dawn of the ‘80s, came the introduction of cocaine and life started to change for the hippies. Marijuana and LSD were the drugs associated to the movement, as it expanded the mind and encouraged creativity and free expression. The introduction of cocaine and heroin was alien to hippy culture and Barbet Schroeder’s film, More, which was shot on the island in 1968 did not represent the indigenous culture of the time. While the island was filmed through a loving lens, drugs like heroin and cocaine were not prevalent until the 80’s. Schroeder took something that was happening in Europe and transported it to Ibiza, but maybe he was trying to portray that when confronted with lightness and dark, a part of human nature will always seek the shadows.
The hippies never choose darkness they always loved colour, vibrancy and life. They were beautiful people and the Ibicencos recognised this. They showed us a path and way of life that no other movement has ever done before. They established the clubs like Pacha and Amnesia, where people would dance under the stars with wild abandon. When the clubs became popular in the early 90’s corporate commercialism jumped on board and gradually put paid to a special era of Ibicenco life.
The word hippy is often an overused one, and it is difficult to define the many individuals who believed in beauty, freedom and peace under one label. Like a beautiful woman, mystery entices us with her seductiveness and this is why we will always have a warm place in our hearts for the path the hippies showed us. The Hippy movement gave us hope and love where conformist society gave us despair and war. The original hippies, the ones that fell in love with Ibiza, can still be found tucked away up some dusty camino in the campo. They are a little more complex now, some fighting with the present and others happy to have bank accounts and live in harmony with modern society.
Their children have grown up to be grounded and artistic individuals and carry the flame that their parents instilled in them. They stand apart, influencing people with their inner strength and beauty. Is the Hippy movement of Ibiza still alive? Yes, I believe it is. The mindset required to live the ideals of hippy life may have changed and the environment more difficult, but hope of a better world is still an achievable legacy and a happy return to those pretty and sweet times, Los Tiempos Lindos, is something that we can dream to achieve on an island suspended in time.