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Spotlight's Ibiza 2013 Season Review

Another beautiful island summer is done and dusted and it's time to reflect. Here is Spotlight's Ibiza 2013 season review.

Here we are on a now very quiet Ibiza, having just about recovered after the final closing parties of the Ibiza 2013 clubbing season. And boy, what a summer we had! In many ways it was an extremely interesting year, with quite a few surprises and also a few things that didn't quite go the way people had planned. But let's start right at the beginning...

As mentioned in our season preview, the run-up to the summer was a very exciting one because, once more, CHANGE was the main subject. A few clubs massively changed their weekly line-ups (Pacha for example), big DJs went off to do their first solo thing (Loco Dice to name but one) and scores of new daytime and nighttime party venues popped up left, right and centre (Booom!, Destino, Ushuaïa Tower,...). Even before the season kicked off I already had a feeling that all of this might be a bit much and it turns out I was quite right.

Just like every year, the vast majority of holidaymakers that came to Ibiza this summer had a brilliant time as always, especially the Ibiza virgins that had no previous years' experience to compare with. However, speaking to many seasoned Ibiza lovers, summer workers, all year round locals and industry people, one message always stood out: with all those changes it was a somewhat weird season, with some parties simply not as busy as usual, despite the island being as full as ever.

Let's start with a look at our beloved clubs and how they performed in 2013.


Contrary to most other clubs, the San Rafael powerhouse didn't change a single club night this year; why change a winning horse? Their planning was perfectly balanced. Two techno nights: Cocoon (still Spotlight's favourite techno night by a mile with its long DJ sets, varied line ups and best afterparties) and Music On - one of the biggest nights of this summer. Then two nights with the biggest DJ names of the moment: Cream - simply an Ibiza institution that keeps growing and growing, and Together - very much on the pulse with what the youngsters love at the moment. Then there were the two long-running nights that cater for the gay market: La Troya and Matinée, both of course not exclusively gay and very popular with the latin crowd in general, plus a seventh party that's been doing pretty well for a few seasons now - Popstars.

Amnesia's biggest PR stunt of the summer was surely Paris Hilton's four week DJ stint at the Foam Party (which during her residency period was renamed Foam & Diamonds). Music purists went on a ranting marathon on every social media channel available and, whilst you may think of this whatever you like, it must be acknowledged that her shows were a success, while many other venues/promoters failed, trying to be uber cool. I'm not a fan of PH, but just the same as I always welcome live concerts in the clubs every now and then, I can't see it such a bad thing if a big starlet comes to have some fun for a few weeks of the year. Firstly, we all know it doesn't take much to mix a few tracks together these days. Second, it's only for a few nights and third, there's always something different going on if you don't want to see her.

Amnesia's season ended with their infamous Closing Party on Saturday 5th October...or shall I say on Sunday 6th October. Again it was a legendary party (with Maceo Plex being the highlight in my opinion) and we at Spotlight will miss the Terrace in the next few months. Read the closing party review here.

BOOOM! could write a book about the history of this venue. As many of you might know, the location had changed names and owners aplenty in the past (going through Zulu, Angels, Penelope and Heaven) and the story continued this year. Ex-Pacha manager Danny Whittle and booker Mark Netto teamed up with restaurant owner Giuseppe Cipriani to open up the venue again. After some twists and turns, including having to change the venue's name and opening later than originally planned, Booom! eventually got booming mid-July. It certainly wasn't an easy first season for them; with the oversupply on parties on the island not just the new venues, but any Ibiza club was facing fierce competition this summer. In the end, they reduced the number of nights Booom! was open every week and the two best-running events were the ones on the weekend - Defected In The House was packed every Saturday and Luciano's Cadenza Vagabundos on Sundays was also very busy. The future of the club is currently unclear as Booom!'s lease apparently expires at the end of November this year and an investment company wants to purchase the premises. Rest assured you'll be updated on this on Spotlight as soon as more news is available.


The notorious venue on the road to Salinas continued its successful formula from 2012, throwing the already legendary Circoloco sessions on Mondays, Jamie Jones' Paradise midweek (this year on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays, which definitely was a smart move) and hosting one-off label nights in August. Even though the vibe in DC-10 is much more civilised these days, with a lot of the locals hanging out in the backstage area (proper Monday night social place) and loads of people also sitting and chilling in the now wooden-decked garden area, on the two dancefloors (the legendary Terrace and the dark Main Room) you still get some of the best music played on the island and the line-ups are simply top notch week after week. The closing party alone included a line-up that was worth about four parties instead of just one...


Eden is the second venue apart from Booom! that changed owners this year and got a complete facelift. The San An superclub is now under Dutch ownership, with a very friendly team running the operations. The refurbishment was a substantial one and Eden now really looks and sounds great. As the works at the venue took longer than expected and the club only opened at the start of July, Eden unfortunately missed the pre-season period which is an extremely important time to get the hype going for the summer and their nights. Therefore, it took them a good few weeks before their nights had established themselves. The first season for the new garden of Eden was a bit of a rollercoaster ride with ups and downs, but of course there were some highlights: the MoS night with MK in July was a big success, Ferry Corsten's Full On Ferry was a consistently good show and Mark Knight's Toolroom Knights had a pretty decent season too. Eden's summer 2013 was a big learning process for the heads behind the venue and we can certainly expect them to come back stronger and with a good programme next year.


The second big San Antonio venue profited at the start of the season, when Eden next door was still shut due to their refurbishment. Once Eden opened, however, the two neighbouring clubs found themselves in a very competitive situation, this year more than ever with so many parties going on everywhere else too.

As for Es Paradis, the best running night this summer was again Saturday's Hed Kandi, followed by the club's very own and unique Fiesta del Agua water parties on Tuesdays and Fridays. Ibiza Rocks' After Party on Wednesdays is still a fixture in the club's calendar and popular with the Ibiza Rocks crowd. The three nights which had ups and downs were Alex Kunnari's Colors on Mondays, Kisstory on Thursdays (which stopped early) and Es Paradis' new invention, the GLOW Neon Paint Party on Sundays, which actually did pretty well and was a fun addition to the Ibiza party roster.


The team behind Ibiza Rocks again brought a host of great artists to Ibiza that no other promoter does. Be it their rocky Wednesdays with the classic Ibiza Rocks nights featuring bands and stars like Beady Eye, Biffy Clyro and Alunageorge or their electronic infused W.A.R. We Are Rockstars on Fridays with the Example & DJ Wire residency, Mistajam, Redlight and the Rinse FM takeovers with TNGHT and Katy B just to name a few. At Spotlight HQ, we especially loved the last few weeks of the season when every Wednesday just kept getting better: first Chic with the incomparable Nile Rodgers, Franz Ferdinand the week after and then Foals to close out another great Ibiza Rocks summer. Hats off chaps!

A special mention also goes out to the team behind the Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes. Be it for Sunday lunch very early or very late in the season (when we actually did get to do lunch!), one of their Mustachio parties, the unique Freddie's Birthday bash or any of their cheeky afterparties they did for Ibiza Rocks (and some other promoters too), Pikes is a perfect haunt for an intimate fiesta. Well done guys...and we can't wait for Halloween.


Apart from celebrating 40 years in Ibiza this year, Pacha was the club with the biggest changes in their programme. Even though they had a perfectly well-working programme up until 2012, no-one could deny some of their nights had become a bit stale. With Danny Whittle and Mark Netto departing the club, the new management did the very brave thing and rebuilt a big chunk of their weekly programme. Out went Defected, Erick Morillo's Subliminal Sessions, Pete Tong and Luciano and his Cadenza Vagabundos. In came new nights and names; some of them did really well and established themselves in Pacha, while others did not bring the expected numbers. Read our interview we did with Steve Hulme before the season here and let's have a look at how things turned out in the end:

Epica on Monday was the weakest night of the Pacha week and I don't think it will return next year, at least not in the same form. They had a few good dates where it was busy enough, but it simply wasn't as epic as it should have been. Flower Power on Tuesdays did perfectly well - always very busy and at the same time not as uncomfortably rammed as it used to be when they only held the party a few times a summer. Perfect - this one will definitely be back in 2014. Wisdom Of The Glove on Wednesdays was, in my opinion, the night with the best music at Pacha. The numbers sometimes could have been a bit higher, but everyone that was there was there for the music, so I really do hope this one continues next year as I see a lot of potential for Guy Gerber and his compadres. David Guetta's F*** Me I'm Famous was as successful as ever and the third new night, Insane on Fridays, did pretty well on a constant level and Fritz Kalkbrenner's sets with live singing were a super cool addition for Pacha. Pure Pacha moved from Fridays to Saturdays this year and happened without Tongy, but with a lot of the big room house DJs on rotation it had a great run. I think it's also got something historical, because in a way, Saturday nights in Ibiza town always were about Pacha. Solomun, artist of the season last year, followed in the footsteps of Luciano who used to do Sundays. The night started a tad slow but had a fantastic build-up throughout the summer and was one of the best events on the island towards the end of the season. One particular thing I (and everyone else) loved about Solomun+1 is the fact they had Solomun and his guests playing directly in front of the VIP, so the crowd on the dancefloor surrounded him while the VIPs could also feel really close. In my opinion this was a masterstroke, it gave the Pacha Main Room a completely new and much more intimate feel and I think they should have implemented this for Wisdom Of The Glove too.

All in all, and considering that all venues had to fight much more to get their numbers in this year, I guess Pacha can be happy with their first year after the reorientation. I think it was definitely a step in the right direction and I encourage the people behind Pacha to continue the drive along the road they've taken - well done guys! It's also interesting to follow all the rumours that have already started doing the rounds just now as the season's finished...which night(s) do you think might move to Pacha in 2014 then?


After having a really good season in 2012, the second San Rafael superclub (and officially still the biggest one in the World) had a bit of a rough summer this year. Changes in the management and general party oversupply on the island did not help beloved Privi, but fortunately their strong nights remained so this year: Armin van Buuren's ASOT went from strength to strength, SuperMartXé was still an anchor in their programme and El Row, transforming the Vista Club into a proper madhouse each and every Saturday, had an extremely good season too. Plus, the yearly BBC Radio1 Cream one-off event at the start of August was sold out again. The night I'm personally most upset about not making it to the end of the season is the Get Physical series which, due to low numbers, got cancelled mid-July. Such good line ups! They then had a second coming at Booom!, but also only lasted a few weeks unfortunately. The club's anticlimax this summer was definitely the day they had to cancel the ASOT closing party due to a serious accident in the build up to the event. The injured worker luckily survived and is in a stable condition now, but it certainly was a very sad day for everyone involved. For 2014, let's hope Privilege get a good programme together, it's still beautiful to see the club in full swing and last year's investments in a good and powerful soundsystem and the Vista Club refurbishment as a whole were really good steps.


2013 was a big year for Sankeys for sure. Going all-in by shutting down their Manchester homebase and focussing completely on their Ibicenco venue during the summer, David Vincent and his team have acheived a very respectable result. In only their third season on the island they managed to stick to their seven nights a week programme without having to cancel any of their residencies. Monday's Hypercolour night was probably the most challenged of them all (apart from the Maya Jane Coles date obviously) and Diynamic Neon Nights on Tuesdays did feel the effects of a second Solomun residency over at Pacha a tad, but was still always busy enough. FUSE had a great run with an extremely loyal crowd, heading to Sankeys Wednesday after Wednesday directly after tINI & the gang at Sirocco (the Loco Dice date was a highlight of course). Dirtybird had a strong first season, especially considering the competition they went up against on Thursdays. Flying Circus on Fridays had an amazing first party at the end of May, but had a slow start when their season really kicked off in July (the party at the end of July with Solomun & H.O.SH. b2b as special guests and Pete Tong coming too was a biggie though!). Like many other nights on the island, even with stellar line ups every week they were fighting to get the numbers in. I am sure though, that with the lessons learnt this summer, Flying Circus can become a fixture in Ibiza's clubbing calendar in the future. Saturday's Carnival generally went pretty well, but results depended heavily on line-ups. Also, with there now being more nights on a Saturday with a similar music policy, there was a heavy competition for Carnival. The Sankeys week ended with its most successful night - Steve Lawler's VIVa Warriors. It raked in Sankeys' best numbers all season, with punters going mad for the headbands.

All in all, Sankeys can be really happy with their summer and their 24hr closing party turned into a huge 30+ hours marathon - read the review here. There's still a bit of room for improvement of course, as there were still a few technical issues over the season and I personally would love to see a bit more diversity in terms of musical genres presented next year. 2014 will be very interesting... will Solomun still do his two residencies? Which promoters that tried to do a season elsewhere (but had to stop for lack of numbers) will fight for a slot at Sankeys, seeing that it's just the perfect size venue to kick off a hopefully long-lasting Ibiza love story?


One could think that between its new neighbour (the Ushuaïa Tower) and the already existing massive competitor opposite the road (the Ushuaïa club), Space would have to fight a lot this year. But the truth is, Space had a very, very good season. They moved a few nights very cleverly around and got rewarded for this. Obviously the strongest three nights at Space this summer were Carl Cox on Tuesdays, ENTER. on Thursdays and We Love on Sundays - pretty much in this order. Carl Cox had a few sellout dates and had enjoyed the strongest season ever - see our interview with the man himself here if you still haven't. ENTER. was also always very busy on the two main dancefloors (Discoteca and Terraza) and the black dot cult kept on growing this summer. We Love again stood for consistently quality line-ups and a festival-like atmosphere every week. The news about Sarah and Mark Broadbent, the two main We Love figures on the island, leaving We Love hit us hard and we're obviously very curious to find out how the story continues.

The home-made Space nights, Café Olé (Mondays this year) and Ibiza Calling (Wednesdays) did well too, especially Ibiza Calling with its much improved line-ups! Clandestin on Fridays was a bit up and down, but definitely better than last year's Beat & Raw. The night that unfortunately hasn't done that well this summer, despite support by locals and workers, is Kehakuma. A real shame as their line-ups were really good, with some standout artists from the underground scene that you normally don't get to see in Ibiza. But, just as for many other promoters, the competition was just too stiff with ANTS at Ushuaïa next door, the Zoo Project over at Gala Night, Carnival at Sankeys, El Row at Privilege and Defected at Booom! all happening on the same day.

Space closed out its 2013 season with an amazing closing party. The ones that made it through the night were rewarded with a legendary five-hour Carl Cox b2b with Nic Fanciulli set on the Terraza in the morning. When they opened the blinds and the sunlight came in, all those current hits and alltime classics that the duo were throwing at us just sounded better than anywhere else. The last tune got played at 12:15pm and it was a fantastic way to end a great Space summer. Read the review here.


Playa d'en Bossa's Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel had a very good season overall, but even the most succesful Ibiza venue of the last two years had to realise it was a pretty tough season for everyone with so much competition around, whilst also contending with the loss of the "new" factor they had for the first two years. Let's start with the Ushuaïa Club. David Guetta's F*** Me I'm Famous shows on Mondays went (unsurprisingly) well and did pretty much the same numbers as last year. A surprising casualty of the season was Luciano on Tuesdays, his other residency over at Booom! went well but he definitely didn't have the same pull as last year. On Wednesdays the remaining two thirds of the Swedish House, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, had very good numbers with their new night Departures - especially when both of them were there. Loco Dice's new Used&Abused residency held down Thursdays and we really liked the setup of the stage, giving the place a different feel and making Dice appearing nearer to the crowd. Numbers were OK overall but I personally am pretty sure they would have been a lot better had he not played at literally every other tech night of the island... Pete Tong's Le Grand Bazaar on Fridays didn't do too badly, depending on line ups, but generally I think they were expecting a bit bigger numbers on this one. On Saturday Ushuaïa did their only home-made party with ANTS, an event that took a bit of time to get going, but definitely got some momentum from August onwards, by which point it was one of the hot tips for a good daytime rave! The night with the highest number of punters (island overall) was Avicii's show on Sundays; simply jam-packed each and every week. So all in all, seeing how much competition was around this year, the Ushuaïa club still had an extremely good summer, even if it wasn't packed every day of the week.

Ushuaïa's new project of 2013, The Ushuaïa Tower, took a little time and a few amendments until it really kicked off, but I guess that's absolutely normal with a new idea like that. Initially, the idea was to have the parties at the bottom of the building around the pool, and to use the roof of the Tower for VIPs and friends. But that didn't really work; the poolside location never quite took off and it was obvious that literally everyone wanted to see those fantastic views from the rooftop. So from mid-season onwards, almost all of the Tower events moved upstairs and then the place really started working and was very busy most of the nights. The Ushuaïa Tower became one of Ibiza's new social places where people meet up and have a drink with some cool music playing in the background rather than partying full on.

Ushuaïa and the Tower in 2014 will be an interesting story again and the rumour mill has already begun its rotations - not that we'd say anything about that yet though. For now, check out our review of Ushuaïa's 2013 closing party - another one that just couldn't be missed.


Just the same as in the club industry, the boat party market also grew this year, though it's hard to say how much greater the numbers were as they were diluted between an increased number of operators. At the start of the season more than 20 (!) different brands offered boat parties but, in this sector too, a good few of them did not see the end of the season. If you look at the evolution of the market over the last few years, there are about 10 brands that have really established themselves and make the bulk of numbers, with Pukka Up still being the biggest brand on the island. Apart from those ten, there are a few smaller promoters as well as some dayflies that come and go every year. What really did change this year is that the quality of the boats and line-ups started rising. The Ibiza Five Star Catamaran (which was used by a few different promoters) was a good example of how to have a quality vessel. I guess for 2014 we will see a continued segmentation in this market with the established brands fine-tuning their product in terms of music genres, line-ups, hardware, routes and pricing. New operators - think twice before you even start!


IMS International Music Summit + IMS presents AMP

The IMS, happening in the week just before the big opening weekend, was again the first proper highlight of the season. The panels with Chic's Nile Rodgers, Sven Väth and Bob Lefsetz were memorable and the IMS finale parties up in Dalt Vila were a big success. Annie Mac Presents at the start of September was a sell out and showed again what a great event location the Baluard St. Llucia is.

Destino - Pacha's new resort hotel on the cliffs of Cap Martinet (behind Talamanca)

To be correct, it's actually not a new hotel. It used to be "The One" before the Pacha group bought and refurbished the place, but with Destino, the cherry brand now not only owns a second hotel apart from El Hotel but an extremely nice multi-purpose venue at a beautiful location. Be it for a day at the pool (anyone can just rock up - the pool area is open to the public), a delicious afternoon lunch or sunset dinner and cocktails (pricey, but so worth it - believe me), one of their one-off open air parties (the Nicolas Jaar gig was a season highlight!) or some cheeky afterhours action at their underground club TOX (and I do mean afterhours - 7am start after Solomun+1 and Insane almost all season long), Destino has it all. As the resort is very close to a residential area there were bound to be noise complaints every now and then and indeed they came flying in after the big events. One of the best Ibiza 2013 events overall was Cocoon's closing party afterhours held at Destino - simply stuff legends are made of. But it had its consequences, and the next day the sound system was confiscated by the police (though a few days later everything was sorted again). So it's a bit of a delicate situation there with the neighbours, but the venue as such is, in my opinion, the most beautiful spot for a daytime/evening time party or gig. Very well done for their first season and I'm looking forward to many more cool events up on the cliff edge of Cap Martinet next year.

Ocean Beach Ibiza - San An's daytime lounging & clubbing spot

Cementing their place in Ibiza's daytime clubbing circuit, Ocean Beach Ibiza had successful second season. Attracting the punters with low admission fees, reliable resident DJs that can get a party started and a few special events every now and then with international DJs and artists, OBI sort of became an alternative to Bora Bora for the San An crowd. OK you don't have the planes flying overhead and you can't dance on the tables (I think), but on the other hand you can have a bit of VIP treatment if you fancy it and you get to see the sunset too!

Gala Night - Zoo Project's Homebase

The team behind the Zoo Project is trusting its successful formula of two parties a week: Channel Zoo on Wednesdays and the original Zoo Project parties on Saturdays. Both events had a good run this summer and artistic highlights included girl power with the likes of Steffi, Monika Kruse and Margaret Dygas as well as some of the best DJs of the male underground electronic music world such as nd_baumecker, George FitzGerald, Terry Francis and Scuba.


I'll keep this one short, as you all got our 'Ibiza Soundtrack' pieces that came out during the season and the best tunes of the season too of course. But If I had to name a few artists that were really hot then I'd say that, on one hand, Maceo Plex had an absolutely amazing summer (watch out for him next year...) and on the other hand, the Innervisions crew also did pretty much everything right this year. Be it as artists (their We Love takeover in September was one for the history books and Dixon's set at Cocoon was amazing too) or as a label, with their releases (Tale Of Us - Another Earth, Ten Walls - Gotham and Agoria - Scala) they just hit the nail on the head - respect.


As you've already read above (both between the lines and explicitly), I think one of the most obvious issues this summer (as mentioned in our season preview already and then confirmed by just about everyone else...) was that there was simply too much on offer in terms of clubbing on Ibiza 2013. Never before had this island seen so many club nights going on at the same time. If you compare the number of club nights to the year before, you had one completely new venue, Booom! which started off with a 7 nights a week programme (reduced the number later though), then Sankeys was open 7 nights a week (instead of 3 last year), Ushuaïa ran 7 nights a week in high season (instead of 6) plus they did the Ushuaïa Tower events...and then there was Destino, too! Add this up and you've already got 20 more weekly events than last year, plus all the additional late afternoon/evening fiestas happening in all the Playa d'en Bossa beach clubs and bars. Lastly, take into account the growth in the boat party market and you find yourself with a staggering amount of club (or club-like) events, plainly too big for the size of this island. Even though Ibiza clearly did not have a bad summer at all, I believe this season was an eye-opener for many people, realising that even in Ibiza, an island that seems immune to any form of crisis, limits do exist, and exist most clearly in terms of numbers. We're still waiting for the final total 2013 season statistics, but the last official figures published mid-September told us the actual increase in passengers arriving in Ibiza by plane was a mere 2.17% compared to 2012 (equals 45k more passengers arriving from January to August). For the clubbing industry, I guess we'd need an increase of at least 5%, if not 10% to last year's numbers to be able to fill all the venues (new and established) every night of the week. Until then, with every new venue/party/promoter arriving on the White Isle, everyone's piece of cake will just get smaller.

One thing that's bothered me this summer is the fact that so many nights looked, sounded and felt extremely similar. A lot of the nights in the deep house / tech house sector were done in a VERY uncreative way this year in my opinion. Guys (you know who you are), just booking Eats Everything, Hot Since 82 and Maya Jane Coles (to name just three examples) on rotation and having a boring, simple (and mostly black) artwork just won't do it. I think a good few of those parties in question lost their uniqueness because their competition was so similar - and a lot of the promoters sadly didn't do anything to retain this unique vibe. Also, the DJ swapping fashion that started last year (and back then was really cool) became excessively abused this season. While it might be cool for a holidaymaker to be able to hear Coxy/Dice/Carola/Luciano/Hawtin somewhere other than their residency venue, it needs to be said that this is again a pretty uncreative attempt on gaining numbers. In my eyes DJ swaps should be a rare exception, that's what makes them exciting, and this year not only were they too frequent but occasionally the traded venue just didn't suit the DJ.

All I'm hoping is that for next year, with the lessons learnt this season, promoters will return to provide nights that are UNIQUE, with a distinctive line-up that you won't find in another venue a few hundred meters away on a different night and individual style in terms of artwork and decoration. And if you do present acts that don't play anywhere else on the island (or maybe just one other venue and maybe only a few weeks later), then let them play a decently long set. Maybe I had the feeling that a lot of it felt and sounded the same this year because quite a few of the very big names only got 90 minutes or two hours to it follows that you're only going to hear the big hits from just about everyone. Give me a 12 hour Papa Sven marathon any day over this.

Rant over my friends! I just think that, with other places claiming they're the new Ibiza (yeah right), it's important that whoever does anything in Ibiza does it well and with care. We all really love this island to bits and I'm repeating myself now saying Ibiza 2013 was an eye-opener for a lot of people. With all the crazy stories the island had this year, Ibiza still maintained to be THE global clubbing, music and lifestyle hotspot over the summer and attracted more people than the year before.

The last few weeks of the Ibiza 2013 season have again been the best of the whole year with a few very special events that have been extremely rewarding and showed everyone how very much the 'Ibiza vibe' is still alive and kicking (see our Top Moments 2013 piece!). I for one have absolutely no doubt this vibe will stay alive and that Ibiza 2014 will be just as exciting. Planning season has already started and we can't wait to confirm you the first rumours. We at Spotlight will keep on doing our very best to provide you with the latest news, straight from the island. Stay tuned and see you next year... or for New Years?!

Stivi and the Spotlight clubbing team.

Photography by James Chapman.

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