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Ibiza Spotlight's 2014 Season Review, Part II

Part two of our Ibiza 2014 review. Anniversaries, highlights, lowlights, the music... and an outlook on Ibiza 2015.

After yesterday's first part of our traditional season review, where we spoke about the 2014 Ibiza season in general and all the clubs and promoters, we now take a deeper look into some of the promoters. We'll also let you know what we thought was amazing and what we didn't like at all. We'll speak about the music of course, and lastly, we'll have a sneak peek on Ibiza 2015, just so you have something to think about all winter.

2014 - THE CLUBBING ANNIVERSARIES YEAR ON IBIZA

This summer almost everyone on the island had some sort of anniversary to celebrate. Space turned 25 and a few long-standing promoters celebrated anniversaries: it was a whopping 20 years for Cream, 15 for Cocoon and also 15 years for Circoloco. And even though on the island for 4 years only, Sankeys also celebrated 20 years of existence on a global level. Then the legendary nineties/noughties promoters of Clockwork Orange made a fabulous return to Ibiza for their 20th anniversary and last but not least, some website called Ibiza Spotlight had a reason to celebrate. Our company has existed since the late 70s (doing printed Ibiza guides back then), but we went online in 1999 which meant we celebrated 15 years of Ibiza Spotlight as a .com. Thanks to everyone who came to any of our four El Salon takeovers at Space we did over the course of the summer, we've had some great parties! Maybe more of this next year...


PHOTO | Part of the Spotlight clubbing team for 2014.


Anyway, this just shows that in an industry where trends change very quickly and new promoters come in every season, there are also brands that stand for longevity and it's not a surprise that for example Cream, Cocoon and Circoloco are regarded as some of the best in their respective fields...


An ode to... Cocoon

Back in 1998, there was a party at Amnesia called 'Delicatessen' where a then still very young Mar-T (son of Amnesia's owner and nowadays the club's musical director) had booked a certain Sven Väth to play three times over the course of the summer. He then succeeded in convincing his dad they should launch a techno night (there was no such thing in Ibiza around that time) for the season to come, so in 1999 Cocoon first tested the waters in Ibiza with four parties. The Cocoon Ibiza history then kicked off in 2000 with their first proper residency. Amnesia had a free slot on Mondays so Cocoon Ibiza was born for the 2000 season. Keep in mind that in this era, at the club next door, the island's biggest party at the time was happening - Manumission at Privilege. Everyone thought challenging this was a crazy idea and few believed it could work. But the first season showed that there was a market for a techno night on the island with potential to grow.

Bit by bit, Cocoon made themselves a name on the island, with locals and workers being the first supporters (as so often). By 2004, it was THE established techno night on Ibiza. What then followed were years of total domination when all techno and underground house dons (or shall I say minimal - that was the big thing back then) were united in one party where Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola, Loco Dice, Luciano and Ricardo Villalobos all were residents. I still remember well how rammed every Monday night used to be in 2007 / 2008. Things then started to change when first Luciano (in 2010) left to do his own thing (Cadenza Vagabundos in Pacha was his first solo project), but the 'big blow' came in 2012 when Richie Hawtin launched ENTER. and Marco Carola started Music On at the same time. Loco Dice then did his Used&Abused project at Ushuaïa in 2013, but this wasn't as succesful as the aforementioned ENTER and Music On and only lasted one summer. Inevitably, after 2010, Cocoon had lost some of its power as a few of their protegés flew the coop to do their own thing, but starting from last season and even more this summer, I'm feeling that a lot of people are back at Amnesia Monday after Monday, supporting the original techno night. The crowd's lovely - a perfect mixture of nationalities and ages, the vibe is great yet still relaxed and the music is as good as ever. It's also been a pretty clear sign of Luciano to actually name his return to Cocoon very aptly the return to his 'Origins' - and it's done very well too.


VIDEO | With Cocoon's fifteenth season on the island coming to a close, we asked members of the extended Cocoon family to share some of the memories they've collected over the years. Here's a quick preview of the stories to come... featuring Cocoon manager Johannes Goller and DJs Adam Beyer and Josh Wink.


Now, you may love Cocoon or you may hate it, but there are three points which are NOT down to personal taste. One, it's a simple fact everyone should accept and appreciate: without Cocoon, the soundscape of Ibiza today would be massively different. It's no secret, for example, that Richie Hawtin did not like Ibiza at all before Cocoon started, and anyone into techno and underground house music should be thankful to team Cocoon for being bold and patient enough to make it happen and bring those artists to the island - artists who then eventually opened their eyes and now have their own techno nights on Ibiza. Two, their afterhours. I've been lucky enough to attend to a lot of those over the past decade and it's just such an integral part of the Ibiza party culture. Three, Sven Väth. Turning 50 in a month's time (obviously celebrating this with a huge party back in Germany) and having been active as a DJ for 30 years now, this man deserves a medal of honour. What he's done for the electronic music scene in general, and the way he's supported Ibiza, to me is simply unbeatable. And he's still there, Monday after Monday, plus often on Tuesdays for the afters - Sven you're a phenomenon and team Spotlight loves you!


An ode to... Cream

Celebrating 20 years in Ibiza this year, Cream is the longest running foreign promoter doing a night on the island. Only Flower Power at Pacha has been running longer than Cream, but Flower Power has always been a home-made production from Pacha and furthermore, back in the day, was only celebrated a few times a season. Only in the last two seasons has Flower Power become a weekly event.

But back to Cream. The brand had been founded by James Barton, Darren Hughes and Andy Carroll in 1992 and their events at Nation quickly turned into a fixture in the then still pretty young house music scene in the UK. Two years later, in 1994, Cream touched down on Ibiza for the first time and their first two parties were held at Pacha and Space. The year after, Privilege was their main venue, but there were also shows at Space again (featuring the likes of David Morales, Armand van Helden, Nick Warren and Dave Clarke)

But it was in 1996 when Cream found its spiritual home where they remain - Amnesia. 18 years in a row, Cream has been owning Amnesia each and every Thursday night over all those summers. That is an astonishing number of parties and a testament to longevity, great event organisation and the ability to slightly adapt year after year. The early noughties (2002 - 2005) were dominated by two names - the two biggest artists of the back then most popular genre - the trance heroes Tiësto and Paul Van Dyk. For a trance fan it was like Christmas in the middle of the summer if you got both of them playing on the same night, on the same floor of the same club! Tiësto then left to have his own night, but PvD is still the biggest main room act at Cream nowadays.

A big and very positive change for Cream came in 2008, when the Amnesia terrace got refurbished. It's no secret that today the terrace in most cases is the actual main room. The sheer size of the terrace, the layout and the high ceiling make for a perfect dancefloor. So ever since the terrace had been remodeled and up until today, Cream has been running the main room as the trancey dancefloor and got the biggest electro house acts for the terrace. This formula is working a treat year after year. Currently it's not the easiest thing to book the biggest electro house acts - on one hand the fees have gone through the roof and on the other hand a lot of artists simply want to have their own night on the island (latest examples include Hardwell, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Steve Aoki who've all had a new residency this summer). But Cream has been around for two decades now, their experience and expertise is enormous and I'm convinced they'll still be Ibiza's biggest night in years to come. Hats off team Cream (you know who you are), what you've achieved is unique and we're proud to be one of your main partners on the island.


An ode to... Circoloco

What a change has this promoter and its home experienced since they launched 15 years ago! What is now the world's biggest weekly 'underground' house and techno promoter (ah that word underground), started off as a small and slightly dingy afterhours. On Monday mornings, right after the 22 hour long We Love sessions at Space on Sundays, a few proper party hards who still hadn't had enough used to continue at DC-10, but back then it was a very basic venue with old small aeroplanes dotted around the building. You sometimes got 'looks' off people if you told them you were off to DC-10...let's just say it definitely didn't have the same reputation it does nowadays. Often random DJs would turn up (Erick Morillo, Danny Tenaglia etc) and would play for free. The secret about DC-10 lasted for about three summers, where almost exclusively locals, promoters, DJs and very well-informed tourists knew about the extremely hedonistic Circoloco Monday morning sessions.

From about 2004 onwards, Circoloco started to appear in the international media and obviously everyone had to go and experience the crazy circus. Back then it was a very rough and at the same time hilarious clubbing experience. Lots of fancy dress around, and the clientele a deliciously varied crowd made of people from all walks of life. The one thing I remember best about those years was that it was almost impossible to have a normal conversation in there (or on the then still halfway open air terrace), such was the energy in DC-10. But with everything that gets famous, changes are in tow. Not exactly having the correct licence in terms of maximum capacity (it used to have a permission for 65 people, but several hundreds were there) and other issues resulted in the venue having a few rough years with several legal problems, culminating in DC-10 being shut for the best part of the 2007 season.

After that things started to smooth out, but not without another huge blow first. As all the other island venues, DC-10 was also affected by the afterhours ban which meant that starting from 2008, they couldn't open before 4:30pm anymore. This modification alone was responsible for a hefty change in the party's feel - it simply wasn't an afterhours anymore. People arrived fresh (mostly at least) and generally it turned from a real daytime party into an event that gets properly going from about 7/8pm onwards. The venue was updated bit by bit (blinds on the windows, aircon, soundsystems, toilets etc) and nowadays DC-10 is a club almost like any other on the island. Almost. It still has that beautiful slightly weird feeling - one for being located where it is (in the middle of nowhere) and two, for it simply being what it is. Of course there are people that have turned their backs on DC-10 and to Circoloco; some because it's too busy for them (it is always very busy, end of) and others because the crowd has changed (yes it sure has!). It is definitely closer to a 'normal' clubbing experience nowadays, but it's not for nothing that a lot of island people call DC-10 simply 'church' and move their Mass to Monday evenings instead of Sunday mornings.

DC-10 might not be as crazy as it used to be and nowadays you even get girls that arrive wearing high heels (don't try - you'll hurt yourself), but musically, Circoloco has no peer. The consistency in terms of DJ line-ups is astonishing and you can actually feel why a lot of DJs say it's their favourite club on the island (and for some even in the world) to play - there is no musical policy to follow, they can let loose, try out new stuff and dig out really old tunes too. Sometimes a Monday night at DC-10 is a musical revelation. And once DC-10 shuts, many continue at Cocoon - it's the magical Ibiza Monday night formula.


HIGHLIGHTS - More of this next year please!

Corona SunSets Festival. What a production! Please come back next year and do a full weekend.

Our Ibiza Spotlight El Salon takeovers at Space of course :)

Circoloco at DC-10 early June dates - early season musiclimax!

Cocoon and Solomun + 1 afterhours all over the island. This is Ibiza.

The Clockwork Orange anniversary party at Es Paradis. Bring back the old skool!

Solomun + 1 at Pacha. Mladen is the new king of Pacha - fact. What a party!

For more detailed season highlights, check out our Top 10 Ibiza Moments Feature.


LOWLIGHTS - Not again!

Plan Be. Let's not do a 4th attempt to open the venue if you don't have the correct licences ok?

Magna Carta. Great parties, one of the surprises for this summer, well done on that account. Very poor social media management though. Balconing (jumping in pools from hotel balconies / rooftops) should in no way be promoted considering every year a few people die at trying this. Have a word with yourself!

Gatecrasher. Sorry guys, that was a poor performance all round.

Lastly, and this hasn't got anything to do with clubbing and it's a very personal comment, but for me, also both the Speedboat World Championship as well as the GumBall 3000 Rally were lowlights of the season. Lowlights because I think such loud and brash events have no place on such a beautiful island. They're redundant; they don't bring any quality tourism to the island and I don't think they help Ibiza in any way.


2014 MUSIC

LIVE MUSIC

With Ibiza Rocks on the island for 9 years already (10 year anniversary next year - wonder who they'll bring for the anniversary party?!) and the new Hard Rock Hotel now a second player for live music events, I think it's about time people realise Ibiza is THE MUSIC ISLAND and not only an electronic music paradise - even though it obviously still is! With both those promoters, Ibiza this summer was treated to more live music than ever before. Mostly rock (in all its facettes) at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel and a lot of pop, a wee bit of rock, reggae and funk at the Hard Rock Hotel. Both venues had one common thread though this summer - one huge hip hop legend each. NAS played at Ibiza Rocks, Snoop Dogg played at Ushuaïa (for the This is Hard Rock Hotel series). And while Ibiza definitely will continue as the epicentre of electronic dance music, I personally welcome a broader musical variety on the island. I'm not a huge hip hop fan myself I've got to say, but I would never get bothered just because there's a hip hop gig somewhere on the island - there are at least 5 electronic music parties happening at the same time so why would I complain?

ELECTRONIC MUSIC

As just mentioned, even with all the festivals happening all over Europe over the summer months, Ibiza is and will be the epicentre for electronic music from May to the start of October. You just don't get the same density of clubs, nights and artists anywhere else in the world. Festivals are great, but I personally always feel they're a bit anonymous in terms of atmosphere (compared to club nights) and you always end up losing out a bit because too many great artists are on at the same time.

I think Ibiza has had an interesting summer in terms of how the electronic music scene has further evolved, I feel the variety of styles has become bigger. Of course electro house is played a lot on the more mainstream nights and deep/tech house and techno rule the more 'underground' nights, but this year has seen a few novelties. Bass music is bigger than ever thanks to Together at Amnesia and Mass Bass at Privilege. G-House has made it to Ibiza thanks to Amine Edge & DANCE who did CUFF at Sankeys. And trance has had an Ibiza comeback this season too; Amnesia had two weekly nights with trance music with Cream and Amnesia Presents, Privilege had one with Sunk and trance found its way back to Playa d'en Bossa again - Ferry Corsten's Full On at Space and even Ushuaïa had its trance bash this year with Armin's A State Of Trance.

Also, we've now published our Ibiza 2014 top tunes feature and, if you like, check out what I personally liked musically this summer;


Thousands of quality (and occasionally not so quality) tunes pass through the myriad of speakers in Ibiza's superclubs every summer and it's our job to keep an ear out for the real pearlers. It is by no means a comprehensive list; Ibiza diversifies every year and the range in style of popular tracks grows in tandem, but some tracks - due to both unparalleled airtime and awesomeness - rise above the rest. In no particular order, you can find the ten tunes that were hugely popular this season in the audio realms of house and techno that the Spotlight clubbing team frequents via this link.


VIPS VS. RAVERS

Dear club owners and managers. If the dancefloor is empty, no VIPs will come. The VIPs only arrive once their on-island concierge tells them which parties are the hottest of the summer. And while I totally understand the VIP areas are important for any club nowadays, the ones you need to satisfy first are not the rich, but the ones who populate your actual dancefloors and think qué coño?! when they get charged 18€ for a hierbas on ice. In this respect it's a first, but halting step that a few clubs (Space, Ushuaïa and Destino) have done this year in offering drink deals - you paid for 5-10 drink tickets in advance and got them at a better price. But water is still too expensive in all but one of the venues (nice one DC-10, 5€ is decent and should be an island standard really). I am still convinced the clubs would sell more drinks and make more money in the end if the drinks would cost less. I think by now we've all come to accept that there is a tables area in every venue, but guys, don't forget about the basis that made your clubs what they are nowadays.


IBIZA 2015 - A FORECAST

After the very last closing parties, happening over the next 10 days, the island will finally get its peaceful autumn time. This is when all the music industry heads unwind and relax after the season. But much sooner than you think, preparations for the next Ibiza summer start again. I know you're all eagerly waiting for us to publish the 2015 party calendar, but it's a tad early for this still. We traditionally put the calendar for the coming season online after new years and then, bit by bit it will start filling up. But if you already know when you want to come back next year, we've already got some really good early bird deals for various hotels online.

For Ibiza 2015, I expect another very strong season in general. The brand 'Ibiza' has gone from strength to strength over the last years and 2014 was no exception. As for the whole clubbing circuit, I currently don't expect a whole lot of major changes. As Ibiza has had a fantastic summer, it's obviously also been a good season for the vast majority of clubs and promoters. But of course there will be changes with nights moving from one club to another, DJs rotating and new projects getting launched. We actually already have heard quite a bit of gossip about the 2015 season, but as always we're loyal towards our partners - we'll let you know as soon as they are ready to spill the beans.

The end of the season is also always a good moment to say thank you and so I'd like to take this opportunity. First and foremost, I'd like to thank all our readers and customers that come back to Ibiza Spotlight on an almost daily basis to read the latest Ibiza news, be it clubbing or general island news. I think it's pretty obvious that we really love what we do, but of course it's amazing to hear your feedback and it is always appreciated. And of course I'd like to thank you for your confidence when you book your accommodation and buy your club tickets on our website. Thanks to all the clubs and promoters for the great cooperation (and the odd free drink!). Thanks to all the true members of our lovely forums (great to see some of you again!). And last, but definitely not least, a big GRACIAS to the members of my clubbing team: James Chapman (best pix on the island hands down), Jordan Smith (one of the wittiest writers I've ever met) and our interns for the 2014 season Joanna Wright, Janson Goldberg, Francesca Evans and Sara McNutt. Well done guys. Now let's close the island in style.

WORDS | Stivi PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman + DC10


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