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Dance Music History: IMS

We delve into the relatively brief history of the International Music Summit Ibiza.


By Spotlight

Summer is literally just around the corner, and with it plenty of thoughts are turning to the Balearic White Island. But it’s not all about pure hedonism and endless insomnia, as the biggest event of the launch party calendar has shown a number of times already.

OK, so it still involves mammoth danceathons, for example this year’s Grand Finale Festival features legends like Carl Cox and Pete Tong alongside contemporary faces such as Loco Dice, Seth Troxler, and Jamie Jones. Meanwhile, club bashes see organisations from Intec Records and Mulletover to Skiddle and EPM hosting DJs including Francois K, Martyn, Diplo, Julio Bashmore, Huxley, and Calvin Harris.

IMS 2008

Above: IMS 2008

All this to one side though the annual Ibiza International Music Summit has always been about providing a place for some of the industry’s key spokespeople, performers and promoters to congregate and partake in open debate and discussion, with the idea being to push things forward from the Gran Hotel Ibiza. That’s the place where Erick Morillo explained why promoters were once a little apprehensive about hosting him in their clubs, and Toddla T confessed to a panel including Annie Mac, Busy P, Heidi and Skream how his home town of Sheffield, despite its rich dance music heritage (from Warp to Gatecrasher) is actually “shit”.

Above: IMS 2009

That such talking points have been mused over under warm sunshine on one of Europe’s most beautiful islands is, of course, a big bonus for all those involved. And the concept of a meeting of minds with such good weather is a key reason why this three-day event, originally set up in 2007 with Pete Tong one of its founding fathers, is seen by many people as a direct competitor to the longer established Miami Winter Music Conference, which takes the Florida city by storm every March.

The U.S. institution welcomes some 300,000 visitors to town each year, so in contrast the Balearic variety is far smaller, but it’s also much younger (let’s not forget the first WMC welcomed no more than 80 delegates to the Fort Lauderdale Marriot back in the 80s). Clearly though there is room for both to co-exist, not least as activity Stateside has taken on a distinctly less business focused model in recent years, as such the International Music Summit has established itself as a welcome addition to the global industry calendar.

Needless to say clubbers have also greeted it with open arms. In fact it’s so welcome that after the inaugural Grand Finale DJ Magazine claimed the event “could join Alfredo’s ’87 Amnesia sets and Grace Jones dancing naked in the rain at Privilege in Ibiza’s cultural history books”. That’s quite some seal of approval, if you ask us.

Above: IMS 2010

But then there’s really no need to rely on outside opinions, because the event is and has always been open to the public, who have the option to jump in for that closing day spectacular, which takes place at a UNESCO World Heritage site on the island, or any of the individual parties. As such everyone has the opportunity to hear some of the world’s best players and their records in the some of the most unique locations on the planet; a truly unforgettable experience, make no mistake, it’s explanation enough of why, despite its relatively short life span, the International Music Summit already deserves some recognition.

Above: IMS 2011

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Parties

IMS Grand Finale Festival at Dalt Vila - Day 1
Thu 21 May 18:00 - 23:59
IMS Grand Finale Festival at Dalt Vila - Day 2
Fri 22 May 18:00 - 23:59

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