Whilst the opening parties in Ibiza have already begun, with the likes of Underground, Bora Bora, KM5 and Savannah’s already opening their doors to those on the island early this season, the main opening weekend is a main attraction for most. Whether you are planning a short visit to the island to take these in, a longer holiday, you’re around for the season as a worker, or you live here year round, the 5 days from 24th May ‘til 28th May provide one of those situations where you are confronted with a real dilemma as to where to go and who to see. There is loads on this season round, with venues and events starting earlier than previous years, so it’s extra difficult to make those choices. Hopefully this guide can help you.
How do you get here?
Taking the example of you flying from the UK, flights are readily available around this time. You’re looking at around €120 - €150 return for Ryanair (not including any checked in baggage!), around €160+ with Jet2, but around €400+ for Monarch with the vast majority of that costs being incurred on the outbound flight to Ibiza (only €350. Bargain). These are just rough guides on costs for flights, but of course that isn’t the only option open to you. Many people drive over, and although it’s not the most effective method to travel over for a short break you could always make the trip longer by taking in the sights and sounds of Europe on the way. According to Google Maps, driving from London to Ibiza would take around 22 hours, at 1113 miles, including the train through the Channel Tunnel to France and the Ferry from Barcelona to Ibiza Town. Working that out at around 10p per mile the cost is £111.30 or €140. The ferry from Barcelona to Eivissa is around €200 each way depending on the day you travel, and the Eurotunnel train with a car comes out at around £75 each way. So between 4 or 5 people that’s not so bad, and an interesting way to start and finish your trip depending on the condition you’re in.
Where should you stay?
Hotels for clubbers - ibiza-spotlight.com/hotelguide/clubbing_hotels
Playa d’en Bossa Hotels - ibiza-spotlight.com/hotelguide/accommodation_pdb
San Antonio Hotels - ibiza-spotlight.com/hotelguide/accommodation_san_an
Ibiza Town Hotels - ibiza-spotlight.com/hotelguide/accommodation_ibiza
Playa d’en Bossa Apartments - ibiza-spotlight.com/hotelguide/apartment_pdb
San Antonio Apartments - ibiza-spotlight.com/hotelguide/apartments_san_an
Ibiza Town Apartments - ibiza-spotlight.com/hotelguide/apartments_ibiza
Where you stay all depends on where you will be going out most. Although the fact that Space, Ushuaïa, DC10 and Sankeys are all based around the PDB area would lead me to suggest that staying around there would probably be best to save on transport costs to and from all the events. This way you can be within walking distance of a much needed disco nap inbetween the various parties. By day 3/4 of little to no sleep you’ll probably need as much help as possible to get home, and so the shorter that distance, the better. Good luck!
Why should you come?
I suppose if you are showing any form of interest in this website and Ibiza at all then you don’t need me to tell you why you should come visit the island. But if you are one of those who’s experience of the island comes in the form of a week or 2 weeks holiday once a year around July or August time on a mission to drink as much as possible, then perhaps you should put the bottles of Blue WKD (other brands of alcopop are available) down and seriously think about coming for the music. There are few better times to visit Ibiza (for music at least) than around the opening and closing parties. The crowds are smaller, and typically the people are those who are ‘in the know’ and out to have a good time to the music they love (as opposed to the aforementioned mission in the West End etc, not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s your bag).
The main openings weekend is a great showcase of what Ibiza has to offer as a destination for music and culture. In a few short days you can experience some of the most inspirational music, venues, and clubbing atmospheres there are in the world. Ultimately you’ll probably get a taste for it and you’ll delay your flight to go home, or book to come back a few weeks later, so we all win!
Taxi – There are loads of taxi’s around in each of the major towns. Just look for the line of white cars! The main taxi rank in San An is at the bottom of the West End, and there are various taxi ranks along the main road in PDB. You’re looking at around €8 from PDB to Ibiza Town, around €30 from PDB to San An (and vise-versa), and around €25 from San An to Ibiza Town. Obviously that works both ways.
Bus – There’s a bus service that runs. Details here - ibizabus.com
Prices are at about €1-3 depending on the route and time. Although service is extremely limited at this time, if there is any running at all (normal service runs from 1st June).
Spends – ah, the classic question. There is no right or wrong answer to this. But bare in mind Ibiza isn’t cheap, you pay for the best and it costs. A water comes in at say €5-10 venue depending, beers and vodka’s are more. You can find cheap food at the various cafes and beach bars, or you can take the more expensive options of Blue Marlin, Nassau etc. Or why not take the healthy option at places like Passion in PDB? There’s loads of choice about. Otherwise taxi and bus costs are outlined above and prices of each of the events are shown below.
Clothes – The door policies at most of the main venues are pretty relaxed, with the exception of Pacha. But having said that, it’s just common sense. Don’t dress like a scally/chav, but then don’t come dressed for a smart night out. You’re here to party after all.
Chilling – Unless you’re in the honeymoon period of techno discovery, you’re most likely going to need some down time between parties to refresh and refocus. Some suggestions would be Playa d’en Bossa beach; ideal location right by Ushuaia and Space of course. Or perhaps a little further along the coast you could take in the beautiful Las Salinas beach and Sa Trinxa bar. Cala Conta and Cala Bassa beaches are easily accessible via water taxi from San An marina for around €6 return. Or again if you want to take it up a notch the likes of Blue Marlin and Amante are cool options to chill in style.
Day by Day Party Guide
Thursday 24th May
Depending on your tastes in music, there’s pretty much something for everyone on the Thursday. You’ve got the International Music Summit party up at Dalt Vila in Ibiza Town with David Guetta, Paul Oakenfold, Diplo and Goldfish Live. Now had you been on the ball, you could have bought yourself a ticket to the Friday IMS party and got FREE entry to this. Unfortunately it’s all sold out now for the most part. The IMS Dalt Vila parties go from 6pm ‘til midnight.
However, if you are a massive Guetta fan you can catch him playing at his very own ‘F*** Me I’m Famous’ opening party at Pacha (remember, don’t dress like a tool) which would be the ideal continuation from the IMS party as it’s within walking distance. Simply come out of Dalt Vila and walk along the marina, past McDonalds, until you see signs for Pacha. 10 minutes max. Here you’ll find Daddys Groove and Will I.Am playing (fresh from his talk at IMS in the day) and of course David Guetta himself. The party will go on ‘til 6am.
If that kind of music isn’t your thing, then there is a fantastic alternative option in the form of the Sankeys Opening with Carnival. At only €25 for a ticket (grab these quickly before they rise to €30!) the lineup of Solomun, Tiefschwarz, Guti, Tobi Neumann, David August, Stimming Live, Franco Cinelli, Julian Perez, Luis Groove and Molly is astounding.
Friday 25th May
One of the parties of the season, for me, will be the IMS Closing Grand Finale with a huge lineup this year. 2011 was good, but things have been taken up a notch for 2012 with Carl Cox, Loco Dice, Pete Tong, Seth Troxler and Azari & III live. Massive! Tickets are at €30 for this, which is an absolute bargain to be honest considering both the lineup and location. You don’t want to miss this! Once again the party starts at 6pm and finishes at midnight, which means you have more options to continue after that!
You can take the same short walk as the previous night down to Pacha for he awkwardly named ‘Pure Pacha All Gone Pete Tong Opening Party’ with the man Tongy himself, Calvin Harris and Jon Cowan. Tongy's Friday nights at Pacha look set to be massive this year, no doubt the opening party will set a good standard.
Alternative options for Friday night come in the not to shabby form of the second opening party at Sankeys with Bugged Out! And the workers favourite – Departure. Basement Jaxx, Booka Shade, Joy Orbison B2B with Jackmaster, Mosca, Bones, Adam Shelton, Oliver Drops, Dan Sanders and Will Boyd are all on duty for this event and once again for the bargain price of €25. Sankeys are keen to get their season off to a flying start, so at this price and with this lineup you are guaranteed a busy party atmosphere. If you’re going from IMS to Sankeys you can get the €8 taxi no problem, just head to the taxi rank on Avinguda d'lsidor Macabich (opposite the statue on the corner of the marina).
Or, if you fancy staying San An ways and getting frisky in a water party is your thing, the Fiesta del Agua water party at Es Paradis holds it’s opening party on the same night. A beautiful club and a good laugh, worth checking out for sure.
Saturday 26th May
Saturday once again presents you with some real dilemma’s as to where to go, although music taste will no doubt guide you. For the day time parties you have to choose between Ushuaïa opening and Zoo Project opening. Both are fantastic outdoor venues with the latter probably more cost effective if you’re on a budget. Ushuaïa opening will see Luciano as friends take to that amazing stage; expect to see Reboot, Robert Dietz, Maayan Nidam and Andrea Oliva. This one kicks off at 3pm and it’s definitely worth getting down nice and early for. The place will pack out later on and Ushuaïa has a completely different vibe earlier on in the day to when it’s going off 9-10pm onwards, and watching the sunset behind the stage is a pretty special experience. Tickets are €60, so not cheap, but then the place has always been geared slightly more towards a VIP crowd. There is also a combo ticket at 80€ which includes both Saturday and Sunday at Ushuaïa (read on for info on Sunday!).
Your alternative here is a great one with the Zoo Project opening up at Gala Night with an undisclosed lineup so far, but priced at around €25-30. To be honest, Saturdays as the Zoo parties have never really been about who is playing anyway, it’s more the location. The totally unique Zoo setting (although it was never an actual proper zoo…). Poolside dancefloors and seal pit mini amphitheaters make the Zoo Project an amazing party and worth getting down there from the start (4pm) to take advantage of the pool and amazing BBQ (For €12 you get loads of meat, veg and potatoes and a drink meaning you’re sorted for a day or two right there…). Taxi’s from the San An taxi rank (bottom of the West End, remember?) are only around €6, and be sure to check out the Kiss My Fairy shop (inbetween the egg roundabout and Eden) for all your outfits and face/body painting.
The night time events come in the form of the Defected Opening and the third Sankeys party in a row – the London underground party Mulletover. Defected at Pacha up first though; with the sexy French beast (or so he thinks) that is Bob Sinclar, The Shapeshifters, Simon Dunmore and John Jacobsen. Tickets come in at around €38, and depending on your attire you could probably make it down here via taxi or bus after Ushuaïa or the Zoo as the likes of Bob Sinclar and the Shapeshifters probably won’t come on ‘til gone 2am. Your alternative here is to once again take a trip to Sankeys. 4 nights and 4 amazing parties in a row from these guys as Mulletover take over the reigns headed up by Spotlight podcaster Geddes (coming Monday!), Huxley, Joy Orbison, Julio Bashmore and Kubicle. €20 is the price for this one. Money well spent in my opinion.
Sunday 27th May
Sunday is a massive day for parties. This is the day the Space Opening Fiesta takes place which has, more or less, always been considered the official/unofficial start of the season. That is until all the other parties started popping up. Day time wise you’re best bet is to check out Bora Bora Beach Bar in the day as your warm up, located nicely on the beach next to the Jet Apartments. Then take a nice walk along the beach until you hit Ushuaïa, where the second of their opening parties are being held from 3pm with a completely different but no less spectacular lineup to the previous day. Fatboy Slim and Groove Armada take the crown as the big names here, with Karlsson & Winnber of Miike Snow, Alex Metric and Ibiza Rocks Doorly as support. The Sunday party is €20 cheaper at €40 than Saturday, so if you’re made of money get yourself down here before deciding which of the night time events to get yourself to.
Of course, Space’s Opening Fiesta kicks of at 4:30pm so there is that choice to make between Ushuaïa and Space, but then they are just opposite each other on the main road of PDB so you could probably just pop between the two depending on what the door says. The advantage to being down at Space early is taking in the outdoor car park Flight Area that is only around for the opening and closing fiesta’s. A massive outdoor main stage, the Flight area will play host to many of the big names on the lineup, and if you get there from the start it’s a pretty cool way to ease yourself into what could be long night at Space. Artists playing include Carl Cox, 2ManyDjs, Nic Fanciulli, The Japanese Popstars, Dubfire, Sasha, Roger Sanchez, Steve Lawler, Mark Knight, tINI, Wally Lopez and loads more. It’s massive! A €60 ticket gets you in for all that AND a free drink! Winner.
The big question here is do you go against the grain and ignore the pulls of the huge Space Opening Fiesta and get down to Pacha for Luciano’s Cadenza opening..? There you’ll find Luciano, Technasia, Argy, Cesar Merveille, Alex Picone, Michel Cleis and Andy Baxter playing all night long. Luciano has always been a fan of using the alternative DJ booth setup, and this year Pacha have added a new DJ booth to the left of the main stairs where you come in (above the bar), along with a new soundsystem and various other improvements. It’s the cheaper and less obvious option at €38 but guaranteed to be a brilliant vibe nonetheless. The usual door policy of top hats, waistcoats, and fake muzzy’s applies.
Monday 28th May
Now, I’m presuming most people out for the opening will have now taken a battering at the previous set of events, but some perhaps more experienced opening weekenders decide to take it easy in preparation for Monday’s affairs. Circoloco and DC10 open their doors on this day, and for many it is THE must attend party of the weekend. Mostly because it’s a proper underground vibe party, not too much production involved, just some rooms, a few lights and music. Lineup wise it’s pretty epic – Matthias Tanzmann, Dan Ghenacia, Dixon, DJ Wild, Kerri Chandler, the Apollonia trio, Ben Klock, Ellen Alien, Zip, Clive Henry, Laura Jones, Cirillo and Tania Vulcano to name but a few. This kicks off at the very early midday time, so you could feasibly busy yourself along the PDB beach after Space opening and then get down for the very start. It’s more or less round the corner from Space and Ushuaia, maybe €5 in a taxi? It get’s absolutely rammed later on, even with the outdoor area fitted out as an extra arena, so really would suggest you get down as early as your body can handle.
The good thing about this day is that you have a real, proper alternative. In every way. From the venue to the music and the people there are so many differences between Pacha, DC10, Tiesto and the Circoloco lineup. This is Tiesto’s new venture on a Monday night having swapped the monstrous Privilege for a more intimate environment at Pacha, but he is still guaranteed to pack the place out. Playing alongside Hardwell we’re not sure how much trance is going to getting played, we shall report back accordingly. Tickets are priced at €48 for this one, with a lot selling out on Spotlight.
So, hopefully this article will help guide you around the island during the opening weekend. Or perhhaps if you are as yet undecided as to whether or not to go it has convinced you. Don't miss out!