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Ibiza 2015 in review

The quintessential Ibiza 2015 report with all the details you want to know and then some. Get planning for 2016!

OK, my annual review about the clubbing season comes a bit late this year, that much I'll admit. But as you'll quickly see, it was a total beast of a summer and I just needed to digest it all first, once the very last club was firmly locked with both keys and chains. Only in the last few days lots of interesting stories that had been around for a while already have now become public, so it's a perfect opportunity to look back to the past summer as well as ahead to next year. Here we go - this is how Ibiza 2015 went, in general island terms as well as for all the clubs.


IBIZA'S STRONGEST SEASON EVER

Summer 2015 was officially the island's strongest and busiest in history. This isn't an assumption of ours, the official airport arrival numbers as well as accommodation figures say exactly the same. Every month of the summer season (May to September, October figures aren't in just yet) was a new record. The only one of the 'big' nations coming to Ibiza in fewer numbers this year were the Germans, but their neighbours, the Dutch (fastest growing market currently), came in massive numbers and they, together with other nationalities, more than made up for the diminishing German arrivals.

It's of course amazing to see that Ibiza keeps on thriving year after year and that all the hard work pays off (believe me, there is actual work behind all of this, and probably more than you'd think). With its ongoing success, Ibiza does however face a few challenges. Tourism not only brings wealth to the island, it also strains our beloved big rock in the Med to a certain degree. So we need to make sure that the island's infrastructure (roads, waste management and fresh water supply are just a few keywords) can keep up with the ever growing number of visitors. For both tourists as well as island locals it is important there's a balance between tourism and a well-working infrastructure. Spotlight writer Julian Heathcote has written a great piece about the subject and what YOU can do to help keeping Ibiza clean, healthy and special when you come next time.

But now let's talk about the nightlife. So Ibiza had the busiest verano ever, but did that translate to the nightlife sector? Well, yes and no. As you'll read in a bit, most of the clubs were generally really happy with their season, so that would be a big YES. At the same time though, you'll read that quite lot of the parties were a tad less busy than last year. Why's that when the island is so full? There are two reasons I think.

Firstly, look back to the party calendar of 2008 and compare it with this year's. Then add all the smaller (well, sometimes not so small) events in all the beach clubs on the south east tip of the island, as well as all the boat parties. Never before has Ibiza seen such a number of club events happening both day and night, and every promoter is a little affected by it.

My view is that too much of the same is being offered; do we need over a dozen weekly techno parties when lots of them aren't exactly making the numbers they should to be the best they could be? It's not just techno though, it's the same with many other genres, EDM and trance for example. I think in the future the clubs should focus their resources and encourage the promoters to join forces again, instead of having a separate party for every single artist or label.

The second reason as to why some of the club nights might be less frequented even though the island's busier than ever is that the various types of clientele are expanding. Compared to ten years ago, there are more slightly older people around that are likely to go for nice dinners, do a night at Lio or Heart and maybe do Flower Power or Glitterbox instead of having a ‚'5 nights no sleep' game plan. Some of that clientele are new to Ibiza and have been attracted to the island by either friends or media like us, but let's not fool ourselves: a lot of those people have been dancing their bums off here 15 years ago and have just gotten a bit more relaxed. So don't misjudge these people because in a decade or so, you might as well be one of them!

Enough of introductions and explications now, let's get to the nitty gritty. Here's how all of our beloved clubs performed this summer...


AMNESIA

After years of hardly any changes in their weekly programme, Amnesia has seen a few modifications in their party line-up for this summer. Cocoon - the island's oldest and original techno party - still held Monday nights and team Cocoon saw the best season since the birth of two of their competitors (ENTER. and Music On), both born in 2012. Of course you can't compare nowadays numbers to 2008, when no other techno parties existed, but generally the attendance was very good and a few very busy dates this summer did remind me of the era around 2005-2010 when Cocoon reigned supreme on the island. To me personally, Cocoon still reigns after sixteen seasons; out of all the techno nights on Ibiza, the vibe is still the best as the crowd is nicely mixed in terms of age, gender and nationalities. Plus Cocoon kingpin Sven Väth was in excellent form all summer. It was not just Papa Sven, however, lots of other artists like Dixon, Âme and Henrik Schwarz from camp Innervisions, Adam Beyer plus Ilario Alicante, a debut from Solomun and of course the return of Ricardo Villalobos (whom I've seldom heard play such great music as this summer) helped to make it another Cocoon summer to remember. Sweet sixteen indeed.

Then the first of the Amnesia changes was the new collaboration between Together and Defected for Tuesday nights. Quite a few people were surprised about that move, but it's been a good one as both Together's main room and Defected's terrace went well. Not packed every week but busier than in previous years, despite the fact that elsewhere on the island a certain Carl Cox was giving all Tuesday night promoters a really hard time.

The next change in the club's programme was Wednesdays. Artist Alife's HYTE project was brought into the club, and with it, Loco Dice's return to the island after a one year sabbatical. But it was not just Dice - Maceo Plex was also secured as a resident at HYTE, with the two headliners joined by lots of other artists that also deserve headline slots: Chris Liebing, Marcel Dettmann, DJ Harvey, John Talabot, Pan-Pot and more. So if you're a tech house and/or techno lover, there was no doubt that this new night, from an artistic/musical point of view, would have big potential and should have done really well. But HYTE not only went up against the two inhouse techno champions at Amnesia (Cocoon and Music On), it also had hefty competition outside of Amnesia with Paradise at DC-10 on the same night and Carl Cox' and Richie Hawtin's parties at Space the night before and after respectively. On our forums last winter we had an animated discussion about how that night would do and in the end, even though HYTE ran one of the biggest promotion campaigns all summer, it was a tough first season for them. Don't get me wrong, there were always enough people to have a good party with a really good vibe in one of the two rooms...but as you know Amnesia is a two-room club and from an economical point of view, HYTE wasn't a success just yet. That said, let's keep in mind that Music On also needed a bit of time; while the terrace worked right from the beginning for them, it took them two full seasons before they properly got the main room going. So patience is the key for HYTE and the promoters knew very well that Rome wasn't going to be built in one day.

Thursdays at Amnesia are still all about Cream, by now the longest running night at the San Rafael venue. While the main room was still trance lovers paradise, the terrace saw a bit of a musical twist. The last two or three seasons sounded pretty Electro Housey (dare I say EDM!) with big guns like Calvin Harris and Laidback Luke headlining. This year the programming included many proper house and deep house artists though, plus prog heavyweights Sasha and Eric Prydz were back on the terrace as well. One or two slightly quiet dates right at the start of the summer (as with lots of nights who do the full summer season to be honest), but once the season was underway, the Cream Express was rolling perfectly again on the night train until their legendary closing party in mid September. Apart from their weekly Amnesia bash, this summer also saw the very first edition of Creamfields Ibiza over at the Ushuaïa complex, taking over the whole compound and successfully hosting three full stages. Back in the UK, Cream is losing its home - Nation – and will throw a huge final party on Boxing Day with a line-up to die for. With all the events they put on on the island and elsewhere, and the professionalism and commitment to the scene, team Cream have our utmost respect. You don't find that many promoters still going so strong after 21 seasons in Ibiza.

Friday nights - Music On of course. Don Carola was moving the masses and it was the busiest party at Amnesia for the third year in a row now. It was also the party that ran longest into the morning all across the island, so if you wanted to have a proper few hours raving, this is the ticket you needed to get. I actually think quite a big part of its success was exactly this - the morning hours...but read on for that. From a musical point of view, it was good to see that Music On for the first time wasn't only about Marco and the terrace. Joseph Capriati had already become a resident in the main room last summer and this year he cemented his position. It was mostly him and Paco Osuna who delivered a great alternative if the terrace was just too crazy busy or if you wanted something a little harder.

Even the Amnesia weekend saw some changes this year. Matinée, taking over the whole of the club in the last few seasons, was only running one floor on Saturdays this summer (the terrace). In the main room, Paris Hilton's Foam & Diamonds had her longest Ibiza stint ever (9 weeks this year), and before and after Paris, the traditional Foam Party held court. Last but not least, Sunday nights also changed a bit. DJ Mag's new number one in the Top 100 DJ charts, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, did their first ever Ibiza residency last year with their House of Madness party and it was a huge success. So the duo was obviously back and packed out the terrace each and every Sunday. In a pretty different story, La Troya has moved to the Main Room for Sundays and that was a bit of an odd one as La Troya always was a party absolutely made for the terrace. Amnesia had a very good season and the overall result was pretty much the same as in 2014. Sadly they got into a bit of trouble over closings period for finishing too late in the morning without having the necessary special permission and therefore their club closing party 'only' lasted until 1pm instead of 5-6pm as usual. This also propelled the discussion about club closing times, but I'll get back to that subject later.


BENIMUSSA PARK (aka the Zoo)

The Zoo team has worked very hard this year to revive and rejuvenate its prime party The Zoo Project. They managed to give the Zoo Project a proper fresh breeze and the result was clearly visible. While the music had always been great at their events, what team zoo have done in production and performance this year is simply outstanding. And then they brought in a few hand-picked very special guests this summer - who'd have thought Ricardo Villalobos would go and play a surprise set at the Zoo? Massive high fives to the zoo crew for that and for all the fun and frolics at Zoo Project this summer, total winner!

Holi Garden Festival was on for the second season this year and while it was never packed, it did slowly but steadily find its feet and turned into a very fun event. The parties were always busy enough and provided a really good laugh. Something different for sure - and what location better for this than Benimussa Park?

Apart from the Zoo Project and Holi Festival, Benimussa Park also hosted a few of the summer's most talked about one-off parties. The Corona Sunsets Festival, which was a feast for both your eyes and ears just like last year when it happened in Marina Botafoch over in Ibiza town. Then the FUSE boys threw a lovely and intimate daytime party at Benimussa Park (in addition to their Space dates). After that it was Captured, Benimussa Park's daytime trance festival, and last, but definitely not least, Cocoon threw their already legendary closing party afters at Benimussa Park - it was a party almost washed away by the rain, but that was exactly what made it so special.

In summary, taking into account the weekly Zoo Project and Holi parties together with these amazing one-offs - if I had to choose a 'venue of the year', my vote would be clear for this season: Benimussa Park. It's outdoors, it's daytime and it still has that Ibiza vibe that's gotten somewhat lost in so much 'plastic fantastic' elsewhere. And if you look at the size of the whole thing you realise that there's potential to do more still!


DC-10

The venue on the road to Salinas stayed true to its formula 'do a few events per week only, but do them right'. The legendary Circoloco sessions on Mondays unsurprisingly went very well. A few dates were maybe a tad quieter than normally (read as: only packed from about 11pm onwards instead of from 8pm already), but that's actually good news - comfier for everyone. As almost every year, Circoloco has catapulted new talent to stardom. Next to the already massive Apollonia trio (who cemented their position as proper DC-10 residents this summer), the hot new kid on the Ibiza block this season was Black Coffee, who fascinated punters with his sets and finally seems to have the international recognition he's deserved for several years. He also got to close the terrace at DC-10's closing party and did so in style.

Paradise on Wednesday nights has grown from a one room party back in their first season in 2012 into a 'two dance floors packed all summer' mega session in 2015. You can't deny it's still a predominantly English crowd and some people don't like that, but line-ups this year were the strongest so far. This summer Paradise has caught up with Circoloco and some weeks it was even busier than Circoloco. Let's also not forget that Paradise had a new competitor with HYTE over at Amnesia...but Paradise clearly won that battle.

In past years DC-10 used to be the location for some of the coolest artist and label peak season one-off showcases such as Apollonia and Innervisions, but none of that this summer. Instead, label of the moment, Life & Death, had their very first Ibiza mini-residency. It was a main room, night-time only party, but all five dates were simply fantastic. The dancefloor was perfectly busy and it was one of those nights people really came to because of the music, not because they heard it's the new must-go-to party. Of course it did show how popular the likes of Tale of Us, Mano Le Tough and Recondite are as well as how fashionable their sound currently is, but overall the event was done in a great way and without a silly amount of promotion. Fantastic!


DESTINO

Overall, Pacha's cliff-top Destino resort had a very successful third season. The hotel worked extremely well; people have fully discovered now what a pearl the property is. As for events, the two big open air parties were Solomun's Solomun + Live and Luciano's Luciano & Friends - and here we have two artists whose careers are at quite different points. While Solomun is still on the rise and currently one of the hottest arists around, Luciano is past that point. Both fiestas worked well, but in terms of both numbers as well as vibe, Solomun stole the show. Destino unfortunately had to cancel two events towards the end of the season because they weren't granted permission from the Santa Eularia town council, but the venue's closing party did go down very well.

This summer there were also a few nighttime events at Tox, Destino's own club in the hotel's basement. Love The Underground Records held a Saturday night residency and while they had a bit of a slow start, it then gained a very decent weekly attendance. Tox was also used again this summer a good few times for some cheeky afterhours fun...


EDEN

The club with the most turbulent history over the past few years for sure. First bought from the old Eden owners by Dutch entrepreneur Michael van de Kuit and managed by a Dutch team in 2013, then leased to Gatecrasher for what can only be called the most catastrophic season ever in 2014. For 2015, the Dutch were back. It wasn't a walk in the park to get things going this year either, but step by step Eden is finding its feet. The team behind the club have a realistic approach to things, they know that in such a competitive environment it will take a while until things roll smoothly. This year they've worked with various enthusiastic young promoters which is great, but being fresh on the scene meant that both the club as well as the promoters still had to learn one or two lessons. I'm sure though, that with this year's experience, things can only improve for 2016.

The best working nights at Eden this year were Nick Warren's Soundgarden Ibiza sessions, a very welcome addition to the island's nightlife scene and quite a surprise for some of the punters, Midnight Ibiza's EDM fest and also Judgement by Judge Jules worked ok-ish. Other promoters stopped after a while when they didn't get the numbers in, something which is pretty common on the island. One good thing about Eden this summer was that both their opening as well as their closing party both were a big success - if you were there you could clearly see the potential of that club and for team Eden it was a great way to start and to end their season.

It looks as though San Antonio might see a bit of a fresh breeze in the next few years, so I'm feeling positive for Eden. The club as such is fantastic and with some of the parties in the beach clubs facing trouble this summer (read on), a few promoters might rethink and take Eden into consideration - quite rightly so.


ES PARADIS

San Antonio's beautiful second superclub has been running on a stagnating level for the last few seasons and continued in this manner this year. Without much change compared to 2014, they successfully ran two water parties a week (still a winner) and brought back their neon paint party GLOW on Sunday nights. They also tried to bring in a few new nights (American Borderline) and tried a few different concepts, but none of them broke through.

But Es Paradis still had two big success stories. One, their main pillar, Hed Kandi. Saturday nights is Es Paradis' big one and if you want to see this gorgeous venue shine, Hed Kandi is your safe bet. Two, the Clockwork Orange anniversary weekend in late July. Brought back to life in 2014, CO's 2015 weekender was just as successful and is something unique on clubland Ibiza nowadays. Clockwork Orange have actually already confirmed their 2016 dates for Ibiza; 22nd to 24th July 2016. Get those flights booked!


HARD ROCK HOTEL

For Hard Rock Hotel's first season in 2014, the Ushuaïa team (who also run the HRH events), brought in a lot of live bands, but soon had to realise that with everything else going on on Ibiza, the vast venue was only ever filled with huge names. So for 2015, they changed their angle and used the HRH stage to present things that you couldn't see elsewhere on the island.

On Tuesdays, Tinie Tempah presented Disturbing Ibiza, his own afternoon pool party. TT is not a new name on Ibiza, but this year he was exclusive to the Ushuaïa group and him throwing his own event series was a very successful novelty.

Thursday evenings were reserved for Juan Magan. A name that for many of you maybe won't ring a bell, but he's huge in Spain and in latin America with his latin electro sound.

Even though Tinie Tempah's party was probably the busiest of the HRH events, the one party that made the biggest waves was Sunday evening's Children of the 80s. A fun approach on things and if you were born in the 80s and grew up in the 90s, you knew all the bands that graced the stage for a short showcase that got you in a nostalgic mood: Corona, Rozalla, Soul II Soul, Whigfield, Haddaway, 2 Unlimited and more, but the definite highlight and climax for HRH this summer was the Vengaboys' appearance.


HEART IBIZA

The latest addition to Ibiza's nightlife scene is a mixture of restaurant, art gallery, theatre/performance and clubbing. Their opening night with pianist Nils Frahm and techno legend Sven Väth was a big date in this year's calendar and this kick off event was a highlight of the summer for me personally. The season as such was not an easy one for HEART though and they've been very candid and have publicly admitted that things didn't exactly work the way they wanted. Respect for that - not a lot of Ibiza businesses have the balls to be that honest. Both the club events as well as the restaurant faced various teething problems and I'm sure that for next year, things will be run differently on many levels.

One thing needs to be said though, HEART Ibiza's heart really did beat on one night of the week. Acid Pauli's Acid Sundays quickly gained huge popularity with the locals, then turned into a insider's tip and by the end of the season it was one of THE newcomer parties of the summer. We don't do awards, but if we did...yeah you got it. Fantastic music and a superb crowd. It was simply the slightly different music, that everyone tired of hearing the same 50 tracks in all the other venues was waiting for.


OCEAN BEACH IBIZA

Having almost no competition in San Antonio apart from the boat parties, Ocean Beach Ibiza enjoyed another extremely good summer. As the only established daytime clubbing spot in San Antonio, they were busy day in day out. But credit to them, they've done everything perfectly right and especially the accessible entry prices have been key to success so far. Also adding stuff like Ocean Mania, the playground right on the sea, was a clever idea.


IBIZA ROCKS HOTEL & IBIZA ROCKS HOUSE

It was a special summer for Ibiza Rocks group as they celebrated their 10 year anniversary.

From their very first steps as part of Manumission at Privilege (in the music box, one of the back rooms) and the first concerts at Bar M in San Antonio (nowadays Ibiza Rocks Bar) where they already had Babyshambles playing, the Ibiza Rocks group has built a proper empire on Ibiza over the course of the last decade. Soon after Ibiza Rocks Bar, Ibiza Rocks Hotel arrived and turned into the group's homebase and main event venue. After that the Ibiza Rocks diner over in Playa d'en Bossa was born and the latest addition to the group on the island has been the acquisition of Pikes aka Ibiza Rocks House, the beautiful countryside boutique hotel outside of San Antonio.

Ibiza Rocks' international activities included the first Croatia Rocks festival this summer, and for this winter you can check out Ibiza Rocks in the French alps (Rise festival in Les Deux Alpes) and the UK (monthly Shelter sessions in Sankeys Manchester as well as monthly Fresh Out The Box events at Boxpark in Shoreditch).

We have been alongside Ibza Rocks since day one and we're thrilled to see what the team around Dawn and Andy McKay has achieved. Massive high fives from us and a toast to the next 10 years! I promise our press list requests will keep you raging each and every week ;)

OK back to the analysis now. Ibiza Rocks' main event, the Wednesday evening Ibiza Rocks live shows, lived up to expectations, the 10th birthday party with The Libertines and then three weeks later De La Soul have been favourites with team Spotlight this year.

W.A.R., the group's main electronic event at the hotel was in its fourth year now and this event just keeps on growing. And even though I personally love Ibiza Rocks for the non-electronic shows they throw, W.A.R.'s success proves that it's indeed the booom booom booom that rules on the island.

Ibiza Rocks also got into the daytime party thing by launching Colada Club, their own pool party at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel on Tuesday afternoons.

No matter how many events Ibiza Rocks will throw at their hotel, the jewel of the group will always be Pikes, their small and absolutely magnificient property out in the campo. This year they held lots of events there - I'd even say too many for my liking. There was one event series in particular, however, that was talk of town for a long time and once the series was over, lots of island residents dubbed it as the party of the summer – DJ Harvey's Mercury Rising.


PACHA

The iconic cherry venue had a very successful summer in 2015. Presenting a musically varied selection of nights and keeping continuity just pays off.

Steve Aoki moved his night Aoki's Playhouse from Wednesdays to Mondays for his second season and yes, it was a good move as it was busier than the year before. Tuesdays are still all about Flower Power. While the June dates were sometimes a tad quiet, it turns into a very full night in the main season and especially in August when all the famous people hit the island; Flower Power is a blockbuster as it's a very popular one with the celebs.

Wednesday saw Pacha's only new party this year, Martin Solveig's My House. Solveig is of course not a novelty in Pacha as he shared Pure Pacha duties with Bob Sinclar in years past, but now he had his own fiesta. It took the night a few weeks to build, but worked on a solid level from mid July onwards.

Thursday nights remained Pacha's total showstopper with David Guetta's F*** Me I'm Famous. An unfortunate PR campaign brought him a lot of criticism at the start of the season and there was a huge outcry by animal welfarists when a horse was brought into the club as part of the show. Neither of those two mishaps did the night or the artist any harm however; Pacha was packed every Thursday, apart from the three weeks Monsieur Guetta was absent in September. Pacha also stopped using the horse for the show, so all's well that ends well.

Friday nights were INSANE this year again and it's another night that has turned into a solid performer. Not as wildly busy as Pacha's other tech-orientated night, Solomun+1, but nicely filled for most weeks. John Digweed and Dennis Ferrer, two of the main protagonists of the party were both in brilliant form this summer and gave the night its identity. MK was the other huge headliner of the night and, while Mark Kinchen definitely brought in the crowds, I thought the combination of him with some of the other artists didn't always work perfectly.

Hardly any news for Saturday nights as Pure Pacha continues as one of Pacha's busiest nights, attracting the masses week after week. The only novelty for Pure Pacha was the fact Bob Sinclar completely took over the night this year and turned it into ‚Paris by night'.

The Pacha week ended with the aforementioned Solomun+1, and this year S+1 turned into the proper champion of the club. Solomun's popularity is still on the rise and with the guests chosen as Mladen's +1s, the creative minds behind the night have hit the sweet spot for most nights of the summer. Result? A packed club every Sunday night, an atmosphere never seen before in Pacha, music no one would have expected to be played at that venue three or four years ago and a party that always ran later than 7am... And while David Guetta certainly remained the best paid artist in Pacha, the proper king of the cherries this summer was Solomun.


PRIVILEGE

The 'biggest club in the world' had a pretty mixed year with both ups and downs.

On Monday nights only the Vista Club was open, hosting Windtalkers. A night with a very decent line-up, but going up against Circoloco and Cocoon as a new night in the same musical sector is a very difficult endeavour. Tuesday nights (again in Vista Club) were all about Connect Ibiza, the new trance night which also ran boats (read on for that).

On Wednesdays the main room finally opened and new paint party Life In Color had very decent attendance, not least because of some big EDM names on their line-ups. On Thursdays the club was shut.

Friday was the second night the main room was open (and definitely busy) with SuperMartXé – still a great night to go and see the club (and debaucherous shows!) in full swing.

On Saturday and Sunday night only the Vista Club was open. Hard Times on Saturday sadly did just what their name said and faced hard times. With ANTS and Zoo Project during the day as well as Elrow, Magna Carta, Pure Pacha and Matinée (plus Paris Hilton) at night, there was simply too much going on and so HT often wasn't very busy.

The Privilege week ended with a highlight though – the new Do Not Sleep night headed by Darius Syrossian, Santé and Sidney Charles was very well received and while Vista Club wasn't totally packed, the atmosphere was great. I'm sure DNS will be back on the island next year!

It's worth noting that Privilege's Vista club in recent years has hosted several fantastic parties in their debut summer in Ibiza, many of whom have enjoyed a successful one or two seasons then gone on to dominate the island's nightlife scene at other venues, Elrow and Reverse are two prominent examples. We hope soon that a promoter who sees success at Vista Club will decide to stick around in the unique glassy eyrie that gave them their start, and help build Privilege's reputation in modern Ibiza.


SANKEYS

After years of rapid growth, this summer the growing process slowed down a tad for Sankeys Ibiza, with parties at the start of the week in particular not always that busy. The thing is, it's not like those nights didn't have good line-ups, it was much more a case of having such strong competitors on the same nights. Monday's CUFF went up against Circoloco – a proper David against Goliath situation, so when put into perspective the attendance was actually alright. Then David Vincent moved Tribal Sessions from Wednesdays to Tuesday nights to avoid competing with HYTE and Paradise - a very reasonable move - yet there was still Coxy at Space who totally smashed it this summer and so Tribal Sessions suffered a bit from that. And let's face it, the fact Syrossian/Santé/Charles left Tribal probably didn't help either.

A big surprise move this year, one of Space's longest running parties, We Love moved to Sankeys. The move happened late and you could see DJ bookings were affected by that - lots of artists on their wishlist were simply already booked elsewhere. Depending on the line-up, We Love was sometimes very busy...and sometimes sadly not so. I also think that lots of people who used to go to We Love year after year just couldn't picture the night moving from one of the biggest venues of the island into one of the smallest - and I do have some understanding for this.

Starting from Thursday night in the Sankeys weekly line-up, things got noticeably better. The Redlight was one of the hottest new nights on the island and within one single season turned into the club's second busiest party. Very well done! A fantastic atmosphere week in, week out, and a bit of a trip back in time musically too. Then Friday was all about Shelter, the collaboration with Ibiza Rocks, which did reasonably well. Saturdays was Magna Carta, same as last year, this time with Reverse added in the LAB. Reverse itself worked as a carry-on for when ANTS at Ushuaïa stopped, so that brought in new punters too.

The Sankeys week ended on a high with Steve Lawler's VIVa Warriors. Still the undisputed champ of the club with Lawler and his mates enjoying another very successful summer.

Summarising, in a very competitive environment, Sankeys still grew considerably this summer and knowing whirlwind David Vincent, we can all be curious to find out what's in store for Sankeys Ibiza next year.


SPACE

As you've probably read somewhere in the media in the past few days, Space's lease with the land owner (the Matutes group: owners of Ushuaïa, running Hard Rock Hotel and lots of other businesses on the island) will run out after the 2016 season. Island insiders have known this for a while but now the story has surfaced internationally, and after 2016 the legendary venue will indeed be part of the Matutes group. What exactly will happen with the venue that was home to Space is at present not publicly known yet and thus there are lots of rumors flying around. But the fact the Matutes group has two daytime party venues (Ushuaïa and Hard Rock Hotel), but no nighttime venue to carry on after midnight in makes me think they'll keep it as a club; it's really just the missing piece of the puzzle in their empire. As for venue name, design, musical direction...be my guest and have a guess, I think it'll still be a while until the secret will be lifted.

But back to Ibiza 2015 for now.

Space's week started with Ferry Corsten's FULL ON night. Sadly the night was hardly ever full on, it often didn't get busy enough. The event was then downsized and only ran on the terraza for most of the season. In my humble opinion, there were too many trance nights on the island this summer. While trance aficionados are always very vocal about their love for their sound, the reality is trance is just not as big as it used to be and two to three weekly trance events would cover the demand.

Tuesday was all about Carl Cox – not only at Space, the whole island felt the power of that night. Coxy had a record season; I think they put up the ‚sold out' sign at the club entrance about five weeks in a row in peak season and again for the closing party. Such a powerhouse of a party. As you've probably also read elsewhere, the big man has already announced next year will be his last one with a residency on the island. He and Space owner Pepe Roselló have a longstanding friendship and with Space closing at the end of next season, Coxy's Ibiza era also seems to come full circle. Absolutely no doubt that next year, every single Tuesday night at Space will be total mayhem; we've already heard some rumours as to who might be coming to play alongside Carl...you know he does have a few friends that haven't played the venue in a while and I bet lots of artists will be wanting to grace the Space DJ booth one last time together with señor Cox.

Wednesday was one of the weaker days for Space with their new Raw Change night. After the Coxymania on Tuesday nights, everyone needed a little breather.

Richie Hawtin's ENTER. was back for its fourth Ibiza season. This year it took quite a while until the night properly took off. The reason? I think it was probably a mixture of a lot of techno nights being on offer and some people starting to get a bit tired of the ENTER. concept – at least that's the feedback we got. When ENTER. began it was really something new and different, but over the four years not a whole lot has changed and it's simply lost the novelty effect. All that said, the second part of the season went fine for ENTER. with a few extremely busy dates too.

Glitterbox, Defected's classic house night that debuted last year at the now closed Booom club, was a new addition for Space this summer. The party was based in the terrazza, but it was one of those few parties that kicked off really early and turned into a great party already at 1am, not only at 3am like most other nights on Ibiza. The crowd was a bit more mature and very much in the know musically. A great night for people wanting to relive old memories and it did well!

On Saturdays, Barcelona institution Elrow was back at Space for their second season at the venue and they had a brilliant summer. The discoteca was always very busy and open until pretty late, the sunset terrace also working as a proper dancefloor and the terraza with the Kehakuma theme working much better than last year. Elrow certainly was one of the best options around for a Saturday night out on Ibiza.

Sunday was definitely the most significant change for Space; not only for the club, but also for a whole generation of clubbers. In a strange twist of events, legendary Sundays at Space promoter We Love, who originally was going to team up with Luciano's Cadenza Vagabundos for this summer, suddenly found itself left out and with no homebase for the season to come. We Love promoter Darren Hughes then teamed up with his old friend David Vincent from Sankeys, a turn hardly anyone expected beforehand. The result, let's be frank, wasn't amazing for anyone involved. Space only ran Vagabundos, plus a few invited artists and promoters every week to present a second room. They could have very well used the help from We Love to at least fill that other room (or more). On the other hand, We Love at Sankeys fell short with properly decent and attractive line ups. So even though Luciano and his mates had some really great sessions in Space (either on the terraza or in the discoteca, depending on the date) and some We Love dates at Sankeys were really cool, in the bigger picture, it was one of the sad stories of this summer. To see such an emblematic and legendary promoter as We Love leave Space after so many years is simply sad and you could tell that night was missing at the club.

Anyway...as we now all know, Space in its current form has one year left; after that we don't know yet what is going to happen. But even if the new owners would want to keep it the same as it is now, I am 100% certain it will be different somehow – a new management always brings change. So my dear friends, do yourselves a favour, if you're coming to Ibiza next summer, plan at the very least one really big night at Space. Over the past 26 years, for thousands - actually more like millions of us (me very much included) - the club has been like a church; a holy place you go in humility and then release all your sorrow, worries, pain and turn it into positive energy and let it all out dancing the night away. Sure, up until 2007 it was all about the daytime parties and I won't object to anyone saying‚'it wasn't the same since the opening hours changed', but it wasn't Space's choice and we just had to accept that's the sign of the times on the island. All change. I for one shall go to Space a lot next year and try and get as many memories to carry with me for the rest of my days.


USHUAÏA

Last but definitely not least in this alphabetical list of clubs, Ushuaïa. Home to all the big EDM acts of this world as well as some underground insects...

David Guetta was in Pool Position this year with his Monday evening event and with it, he was in total pole position. He is the only artist currently able to pack out two weekly events in Ibiza and he did so every week. The Ushuaïa show was always super busy (close to capacity or sometimes even sold out) and especially from a production point of view, it was one definitely worth going to.

Hardwell's second year of an Ushuaïa residency was all about carnival. His first season last year went OK, but wasn't a blockbuster. This summer things went better, but he still battled huge competition in the form of Carl Cox next door and Together at Amnesia.

Axwell and Ingrosso have held a residency in Ushuaïa for several years now and their show worked on a high and constant level. This summer was no different and though it was hardly ever totally packed out, it was always comfortably busy.

On Thursday, Ushuaïa was Armin van Buuren's kingdom for the second year in a row. Obviously a must-do date for a lot of trance fans, but then again Cream is on the same night as we all know and not everyone can afford to do the trance double header. AvB played from a DJ booth erected right in the middle of Ushuaïa's swimming pool wich gave the party a really nice touch.

EDM's new superstar Martin Garrix also held court at Ushuaïa this summer; together with Oliver Heldens he presented the new project Multiply on 8 Fridays in peak season.

The Ushuaïa weekend saw the two biggest parties of the venue. ANTS on Saturdays, Ushuaïa's only weekly techno and tech house event, and Avicii on Sundays. No one will be surprised to hear that Avicii was packed for each of his 8 appearances. But it was actually ANTS who broke the Ushauïa punter attendance record this summer (on their closing party). This just shows how popular that side of electronic music has become. But it also needs to be said that team ANTS have worked very hard to get their party where it is today.

Ushuaïa's summer 2015 was without a doubt a very good one. But thinking that every party was packed would be a mistake because apart from David Guetta, ANTS and Avicii, all other residencies had a few dates with lower attendance than expected. I've mentioned it before; the competition is huge on the island every day of the week nowadays. Plus, up to a certain degree it's also a bit of a risk for Ushuaïa focussing almost completely on EDM, the target group stays very similiar all week and let's face it, if you're coming to Ibiza you will want to visit a few different clubs during your stay. Still, Ushuaïa is a huge force on Ibiza nowadays and whatever they do, they don't do it halfheartedly!


THE BEACH CLUBS

Right, this is a bit of a delicate matter, but I feel it's worth speaking about too. The parties in the beach clubs have grown into an entirely different category of event; it's no club night as it's daytime and you don't pay entry either...basically pretty perfect one would think, yeah? Therefore it's understandable various renowned labels such as Diynamic and numerous well-known artists (Guy Gerber, tINI, Carl Craig and Andrea Oliva just to name a few) used those events to showcase their talent as well as to be visible to as many people as possible outside the main clubs. Many of you will have either attended one of the many parties thrown at the numerous Playa d'en Bossa beach clubs or alternatively missed out on them because they were suddenly cancelled in the middle of the season.

As for the cancellations, first things first it is a fact that some of the venues simply didn't have the necessary licence to throw those parties. I am all in for a party on the beach - it is part of the island's culture - but in today's Ibiza you have to follow some basic rules, or you'll simply end up busted. Second, I do think there is a huge difference whether you throw a party at a beach club every now and then to celebrate something special or if you do it regularly. I'd agree it's part of the 'Ibiza vibe' to do a one-off every now and then and I think that if you organize it well, you should be fine. But if you're a beach club throwing three events a week all summer, then please don't come telling me you do it because‚'this is Ibiza'. It's very obvious there's a business idea behind it. And if you do want to do clubbing business, then do a night in the club (which is essentially the correct environment) and do it properly. In the end we shouldn't forget that the coastline essentially is there to enjoy the nature and the silence – the parties should be an exception as there is wildlife too.]

Check out our feature on how to avoid getting your party shutdown by the five-o here.


BOAT PARTIES

The boat party market had grown massively between 2008 and 2013, but from 2014 onwards it became over-saturated. On both sides of the island (San Antonio and Playa d'en Bossa/Figueretas/Ibiza town) about ten brands each have established themselves and it's become very hard for new companies to actually get into the market (Exodus was one of the big projects that failed this year even before their first departure set sail). We have been extending the selection of boat party promoters bit by bit every year, always making sure quality and safety comes first.

In San Antonio, market leader Pukka Up is still reigning without the shadow of a doubt, but Float Your Boat, only in their second summer this year, have grown massively and are now a clear number two. Apart from these two, we offered a handful of nice additions that ran once a week: first off, the Zoo Project's own boat party Noah's Ark, then long-standing number one underground boat brand Lost In Ibiza, as well as trance cruises Driftwood and the new Connect Ibiza boat and last but not least Ibiza Rocks The Boat.

On the other side of the island, the big two brands nowadays are Cirque De La Nuit, running from Playa d'en Bossa and Beautiful People Ibiza, the only boat party to anchor in Formentera, running from Figueretas. Add to those relative newcomers Oceanbeat (Playa d'en Bossa) as well as Pacha's beautiful ‚Pacha 67' schooner (Ibiza town) and you've got something for everyone!


IBIZA 2016... A PREVIEW

As mentioned right at the start, Ibiza 2015 was a record year and this basically sets the tone for next summer. The majority of island businesses have done really well and thus rightfully have pretty big expectations for the next season. Quite a few of the business owners are debating whether to dare and open a bit earlier next year; even one of the big clubs apparently has plans to move its opening party forward a week. But if you're a faithful Spotlight reader you'll know we'll only spill the beans on this once it's a bullet-proof confirmed thing.

From a clubber's point of view it'll definitely be a special season next year as it'll be the last summer for Space as explained above. And if there is one single party you shouldn't miss next year, then it's most definitely Space Closing Party 2016 - it'll be an emotional one for sure, and I expect it to be a hell of a party (date to be announced). Furthermore, a few weeks ago news made the rounds that the clubs will have to close at 6:30am next year and this resulted in lots of panic left, right and centre. But did you know that up until now the official closing time was actually 6:00am? So I'd recommend everyone relax a little about this, because in the bigger scheme of things, I think very little will actually change. Fine, maybe (and just maybe) there won't be any more Music On sessions until 10am every week all summer, but I think the vast majority of events won't be affected too much.

As for club nights moving from one venue to another or new artists/nights coming in, it's too early to tell right now. But we've got lots of people who keep an ear on the ground so have a gander at our forums every now and then and once things are official you can rest assured you'll read it on Spotlight pretty quickly.

On behalf of the whole Spotlight staff I'd like to thank all our readers, club ticket holders as well as hotel and villa clients for your loyalty this year. In peak season we had up to 50K daily website visitors and we're delighted to offer our Ibiza knowledge and service to such a huge amount of island lovers. Have a great winter and don't forget – planning for next season starts very soon...


WORDS | Michael 'Stivi' Stivanello