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Ibiza worldwide | Defected NYE at The Ivy, Sydney

From the Mediterranean to the world stage.

Ibiza's super-clubs are on sabbatical now for winter, but the island's global influence continues elsewhere in the world. During the low season, we bring you club reviews from Ibiza favourites at other party destinations from around the world.

New Year's Eve is paradoxically both the biggest party night of the year and yet also often the biggest anti-climax. Determined to experience the former instead of the latter, we flew all the way to Sydney, Australia for Defected's first of five NYE parties in five different time zones.


Defected New Year's Eve | The Ivy, Sydney, Australia | Sunday 31 December

We pull up before 21:00 and spill out of our Uber XL onto the street.

Uniformed police officers, stewards wearing high-vis vests and errant diners dressed to the nines congregate. Another trickle of revellers are harbour bound for the firework display. Clearly, the city of Sydney is expecting a big one.

Towering over us, The Ivy is dressed in the creeper from which it borrows its name.

Under normal circumstances, we'd be criminally early for a night out, but today is no ordinary night. Tonight is New Year's Eve.

Defected New Year's Eve | The Ivy Sydney by Blake Houghton

Usual etiquette about times of arrival and height of the night go out of the window. We're in the neverland. Time, as a concept, went out of the window the Friday before Christmas. Long haul flights in the intermediary have only added to the confusion. Normality, this is not.  

In fact, in clubbing terms, from the crowd to the music policy, tonight's about as atypical as you're likely to encounter. "The rules" do not apply on tonight of all nights.

Danny Howard is our first international headliner. Playing the all-important 22:00 slot, it would appear he's brought a stronghold of support with him. The foundations of the night lie in his hands. No pressure, Danny.

Tracks that have stayed in his record bag all summer, such as Rossi.'s U Won't See Me, lead us closer towards the fabled striking of midnight. Nic Fanciulli's Vente is another that suggests the direction the night is headed. Us and the rest of the crowd are too busy on our feet to be clock-watching, despite the impending turn of the calendar...

Defected New Year's Eve | The Ivy Sydney by Blake Houghton

A cheer goes up, so loud we double-check the time to see if midnight has crept up in stealth. In fact, the roar from the crowd is the result of Carl Cox appearing in the DJ booth. We're getting close. At 23:45 Coxy assumes his position and is handed the controls. Here. We. Go.

The Melbourne resident can often be found playing festival stages and club sets in Victoria and New South Wales at this time of year, but make no mistake. Defected capturing him for NYE is a massive coup - and it's about to pay off.

This is Cox in jovial mood. Then again, when isn't he? His playful demeanour is on full display in the opening half hour of his set.

Marshall Jefferson's Move Your Body, Michael Gray's The Weekend, the Love Story versus Finally mash-up and his own steel percussion remix of Ninetoes' Finder make for a fun-loving intro, accessible to a notoriously casual NYE crowd and helping to ease everyone in gently.

Defected New Year's Eve | The Ivy Sydney by Blake Houghton

The combination of starting track Madan, Coxy's Hawaiian-print shirt and his cheeky Barbadian shuffle, paired with the stifling humidity on the dancefloor give tropical vibes. Much needed, since the weather outside had refused to play ball.

Carl Cox leaves no stragglers behind, but never at the expense of his die-hard following.

Later, he turns it more underground, leaning into his Techno sensibilities. Old Innervision's favourite Rej and Josh Wink's no nonsense Talking To You give that bit more oomph, now that the crowd are on-side, inebriated and in high spirits.

Just as the fireworks illuminated the night's sky above the Sydney Harbour Bridge, things are erupting in The Ivy.

Defected New Year's Eve | The Ivy Sydney by Blake Houghton

Riva Starr could hardly have wished for more jakked dancefloor to be handed over to him. Job done, Coxy departs for a well-earned sit down and drink. The big man with the gap-toothed grin is still box office. If ever a DJ was built for the big occasions, it's Carl.

Further into the night, Conor and Sean, the lads from LF System, join the festivities. The duo are fresh from hosting their own New Year celebrations on a wind and rainswept rooftop of The Ivy, the adjacent open-air venue. A little dishevelled, but in buoyant mood.

New Year's Eve, so often over-hyped, has delivered in sparkling fashion. All we needed to do, was jump on a plane and travel two-thirds of the way around the world! All for a night out, eh.

Defected celebrates turning 25 in 2024. Defected XXV will see the label, party series and artist management house enter a new age. Same mentality, new era. Talking of which, isn't it about time it told us about its plans for Ibiza this summer? We already know it'll be somewhere new.

We think it's going to be a vintage year. Here's to 2024.

Defected New Year's Eve | The Ivy Sydney by Blake Houghton

PHOTOGRAPHY | by Blake Houghton


In the interim, we'll bring you more Ibiza worldwide reviews from Australia and beyond over the coming weeks. For anyone lucky enough to find themselves on Balearic soil, head to our party calendar to cater to your dancing needs.

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