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Nine DJs share their first Ibiza experiences

DJ or not, everyone's first time on Ibiza is life-changing.

Ibiza. We all remember our first visit. Whether it was a disaster - lost passports, too many on the West End or one of your mates wandering off for a few days - or a relatively tame one, the likelihood is that you had an unforgettable time.

Ibiza is the holy grail for those who spin records and produce beats. It's understandable, though, since the island is crawling with new and legendary venues, incredible opportunities and the best parties on the globe.

Just think of Danny Rampling, Pete Tong and Carl Cox, whose careers have taken off and flourished here. Clara da Costa, an Ibiza resident who ran away at 13 to the island, went on to become Es Paradis's creative director at the age of 17. This island is the best school for music creatives.

We have picked out some stories from DJs who have made their stamp on Ibizan soil about their first experiences.

Joey Negro

"The first time I went to Ibiza was in the mid-90s for a gig at the now closed El Divino. At that time the authorities were far less strict with the clubs, so the parties went on much later. I recall the music finishing around 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning. Whilst I was spinning, my two friends met some people who invited us to their villa.

So we all ended up heading back there, which was, of course, much farther than they told us and in the middle of nowhere. The guy whose place it was seemed to be on holiday with his son and daughter, but it turned out that the daughter was actually his girlfriend.

After a few drinks, one thing led to another and one of my mates ended up snogging the daughter/girlfriend. Somehow the father/boyfriend found out and asked us all to leave. He called a taxi which didn't show up but the bad vibes made us decide to just leave on foot.

We walked for ages in the baking hot sun along this dirt track (taking turns carrying my box of records) until we finally came to a proper road, then a small bar where we could call a taxi. I've probably been to Ibiza 70 or 80 times since then and always wondered where it was we ended up that morning.

Then last summer I was driving with my wife and family to Portinatx beach, and we passed the little bar from which we had called the taxi, somewhere in the middle of the island near Santa Gertrudis. Somehow it felt good to see it again."

Joey Negro is playing Hï Ibiza for Glitterbox on 18 August, 1 and 22 September.

Mark Knight

"The first time I ever went to Ibiza was on a lads' holiday. To be honest it wasn't really the music or culture or anything like that: it was just one of the only places in the sun we could afford to go!

At the time I was more into funk and soul than house music, but back then it wasn't just house music anyway. We went to the old Amnesia when it didn't even have a roof, and just thought “holy shit what is this place?

We all got stuck in and had an amazing time and went back on more than one occasion. The first time I actually played there was 10 years later in 1999. Since then I've played pretty much every club, had residencies and created so many amazing memories."

Mark Knight plays for Toolroom Live at Taste The Punch at Eden on Friday 4 August, at Cream and Float Your Boat Cream Boat Party on 14 September


"Even before I became a regular DJ in Ibiza-based superclubs, I was visiting the White Isle as a tourist with my friends, who were for the most part active as house DJs at that time.

This must have been at least 15 years ago, if not even more, when Ibiza was ruled by a much more commercial sound, when guys such as Roger Sanchez and Eric Morillo were kings and Cocoon with Sven Väth just started to emerge as the next big thing.

The commercial sound is still present on the island today, and there's a strong discussion of Ibiza getting more and more commercial each year, but there's actually much more space for underground music today on the island than at that time. On the average, the music in Ibiza now is darker than it used to be 15 years ago, at least by my personal experience."

UMEK is playing Privilege for RESISTANCE on Tuesday 22 August.


"The moment that comes to mind when I think of my first Ibiza experience is the first time I watched Paul Woolford close Space terrace for We Love Sundays. It was my first time experiencing house music as it should be - in possibly the greatest club on earth with amazing people.

It may also have been the first time my night had been 'chemically enhanced' too. That night made a lot of things click into place and spurred me on to start producing. Several years later I ended up playing at We Love Sundays myself and now I call this island home all year round, probably all as a result of that night!"

Doorly is playing at Amnesia for Cream on Thursday 14 September, at Hï Ibiza for Hï Sundays on Sunday 17 September and at Ibiza Rocks Hotel for elrow Pool Party on Tuesday 8 August and for Do Not Sleep presents Cuckoo Land on Sunday 10 and 24 September.

Anna Wall

"I first moved to Ibiza for the season on a spur of the moment. I had been offered a gig at Space Ibiza for the Carl Cox opening, so I took it as a chance to pack my bags and head to the island on a one-way ticket.

My first year was wild and wonderful. I spent every Tuesday at Space with the Future Disco crew so I have so many memories from the club. As well as the unforgettable moments DJing on the Premier Etage and El Salon.

One of my favourites was unintentionally being left to control Kryoman, the giant robot in the Main Room, as we had a running-out-of-hierbas emergency. Another usual day in the office!"

Anna Wall is playing at Pikes for Music For Freaks on Thursday 21 September.

Low Steppa

"I remember I first went to Ibiza in 2004 with my pals from Bristol. We were all DJs and mad about the music.

We went to Defected one night at El Divino and we watched JJK back to back Brian Tappert.

I remember being on the dance floor wishing I could be doing that. I guess you could say the rest is history!"

Low Steppa is playing at Eden for Audio Rehab on Wednesday 9 August for Defected In The House on Sunday 27 August and 1 October.

Justin Harris

"My first memories of Ibiza are from over 40 years ago… a bit blurry but I can sort of remember it. My parents brought me here when I was five years old back in 1974. It was one of the first package holidays in Cala Llonga and I think that I even went to a disco, with lights. Apparently, my grandad who was also with us nearly set the hotel on fire because he was smoking in bed… So that was the first time.

Strangely I wasn't to return for around 40 year. Despite being booked to DJ twice over the years, both times didn't work out (one time I missed the flight, not my fault, and the other time I missed flight it was).

The next time I came was to DJ back in 2013 for the launch of my EP on Eiihi Records at Delano Beach D'en Bossa…It was also my wedding anniversary and my wife came along too. The promoter was kind enough to show us another side of the island to the nightlife and we fell in love with it. Now we live here! So technically, I guess I've been coming here all my life."

Justin Harris is playing at Pikes for Music For Freaks on Thursday 21 September.


"My first time DJing in Ibiza was in 2015. I felt that I was definitely thrown in at the deep end! I had never DJed in Ibiza before and was booked to play for Together & Defected at Amnesia, which was one of the biggest nights on the island and one of my favourite clubs out there!

I was staying at the Defected villa with a few other artists like Sam Divine, Riva Starr and Waze & Odyssey plus there were so many other artists who passed through during the day.

It was a real hub of creativity with us all sharing ideas and productions we were working on. After watching the sunset at Mambo's, we headed over to the club around midnight.

Playing at Amnesia that night alongside fellow DJs and producers plus to such a big audience in one of my favourite clubs in the world was an experience and gave me a feeling that I'll never forget."

DJ S.K.T is playing at Eden for Audio Rehab on Wednesday 30 August, at Amnesia for Cream on Thursday 7 and 21 September, for Float Your Boat Cream Boat Party on 7 September


"My first memories of Ibiza date back to my first holiday there in 2000 with several of my mates. As with most 17/18-year-olds, our gateway onto the island was via some cheap hotels in San An. As we experienced both the madness of places like Judgments Sundays at Eden and the beautiful tranquil sunsets at Es Vedrà and Mambo's, it's safe to say we all fell in love with the island that holiday!

Returning every year at least twice a year ever since to moving there full time from 2010 - 2014, I was totally enchanted by the island. The more I returned and discovered it the more I wanted to return and discover!

In the end, it was the off-season and enjoyment of the island itself, not so much the madness, which is why I resided there for four years, but prior to that, the crazy 10 years of partying and discovering were when so many of my favourite life memories were made.

Now I'm lucky enough to return to the island as a DJ/performer at some of the places I once dreamed of doing so all those years ago."

Hauswerks is playing at Eden for Taste The Punch on Friday 18 August, 1 and 8 September.

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