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Ibiza 2016 in review

Clubbing boss man, Stivi, looks back on Ibiza 2016's winners and losers

It's been a few weeks now since a very emotional closing party period (emotional of course because of the closure of Space, read on for that), and now it's time for our annual summary of the season. We're still not properly recovered to be honest, but we don't want to keep you waiting, so here goes...


ANOTHER RECORD BREAKING SEASON

The whole of the Balearics had an increase of a whopping 10% in tourism this year compared to 2015. This is massive growth, but also one most of the industry had been counting on. The general situation in the Mediterranean pointed towards such a thing to happen: with some of the popular package holiday destinations considered 'unsafe' after recent happenings (in places such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia), it was expected that Spain in general and the Balearic archipelago especially would benefit to this effect, and boy it did.

Speaking purely of Ibiza, it was the busiest summer our small beloved island has ever seen. Great for businesses left, right and centre, but putting on a few challenges in peak season because in a few places the capacity limit simply had been reached. Nothing overly dramatic, but it's mainly the road traffic that has grown disproportionately and has led to a few new situations. As an example, Cala Salada beach access got closed to cars and replaced by a free shuttle service. I can see this happening in other places on the island in the near future and in my opinion it's certainly a good way of solving those issues. It's a bit of a weird one for us - we're a company promoting tourism on Ibiza, but at the same time most of us have been living here as all year round residents for years. And somehow we all just agree that, speaking of the two peak season months of July and August, the limit of what Ibiza can sustain has been reached. It's a tricky situation for the government and we fully understand this because a huge part of the local community lives off tourism. But at the same time we simply have to ask ourselves where this is going to end. I do feel that there should be more efforts being done to promote June and September to even out things a little and make it a better experience for everyone - both locals as well as tourists. Anyway, it's going to be really interesting to watch the progress of this over the next few seasons.

What we could see clearly this year is that, because of the above mentioned situation, the general mix of the crowd has slightly changed. Ibiza saw many more families and more elderly couples, which normally would do an all-inclusive package trip to other destinations, but opted to come to Ibiza this year instead. To anyone living on the island this was an evident change out on the streets and pretty much everywhere you went. I personally don't think the fraction of clubbers has diminished, but certainly that other portion of tourists (families, couples) has grown. This led to the odd situation where the island was already very busy early on in the summer, but the clubs weren't just yet. And when you went to the clubs, often you could easily spot people that had gone there to have a look and see what it is all about rather than to go and 'ave it'. I personally welcome a more diversified tourist crowd on the island - I think it's a good thing - and I believe it's a trend that will continue. I do think though that, from a general capacity point of view, for July and August, there shouldn't be any more growth in numbers. I believe that what we've seen in peak season this year is the limit of tourists the island can take. Let's try to get more people to come in the early season or in September and October instead!


THE CLUBBING WORLD

It was a very eventful summer for the Ibizan nightlife industry. It was certainly a very busy season for most, but I don't think it was the best season ever for everyone. This is down to a lot of different factors. One, the previously mentioned change in clientele. Two, the fact that the clubbing industry as such keeps on growing (the amount of club events has risen again), but the amount of clubbers hasn't really. So now let's see how each of them got on...


AMNESIA

Amnesia had a most eventful summer. From a business point of view they had a really good season, almost all promoters had a great run. Cocoon's 17th season was brilliant (see our interview with Sven Väth as well as our closing party review - a fiesta for the history books!). Together had a decent summer, even though they went up against Coxy's last residency over at Space, HYTE could grow in a pretty difficult environment, Cream was a powerhouse as ever, with Fatboy Slim's gigs doing the trick, and Music On just keeps on giving. The only two parties that weren't a 10/10 were on the weekends. While Paris Hilton's show worked a treat in the main room on Saturdays, I personally think Matinée over on the terrace has sort of come to the end of its Ibiza cycle. And on Sundays, the terrace worked perfectly well with House Of Madness (just as busy as on Fridays with Marco Carola), but the main room wasn't a hit. But all in all, a super solid summer.

The issues Amnesia had this summer were of different nature. On one hand they were raided in Hollywood-style by the taxmen in July (complete with choppers landing on Amnesia's car park 15 minutes after the venue had closed in the morning). This investigation is a huge thing and the 'results' should be out in May next year, I believe. On the other hand, the San Antonio town hall (San Rafael belongs to San Antonio district) had enough of constant late closings and drew in the reins. This resulted in Amnesia closing at 7 AM all summer (except the very last two or three parties) and was a very unwelcome novelty for all those revelers that love the Amnesia terrace in the morning light.

Let's be honest - we all know Amnesia is the Che Guevara amongst Ibiza's clubs...but don't we just love it excactly because of that?


BENIMUSSA PARK

The island's most playful venue had another good season. The Zoo Project is simply a winner - and for those who've been five or more years ago and haven't been back since - you should give it another go! It's changed quite a bit, but definitely for the better. The Holi Festival was also back and had a decent run, but it was actually a few one-offs that made waves this summer. FUSE did a successful peak season daytime bash and especially our 50+ heroes, Carl Cox and Sven Väth, both ended their respective season with afters at 'the zoo'. Both those events were nothing short of spectacular; Coxy's last ever residency closing was a legendary night and day, and Cocoon's Africa-themed closing afters left many of us speechless.


DC-10

Another very good summer for 'DC', and both Circoloco as well as Paradise. This year, Paradise definitely took over the reins though in terms of which was the busier night, and surprisingly enough quite a few Mondays weren't as busy as you'd have expected. People arrive at Circoloco later and later every year and until midnight it was almost always very comfortable.

Props to the people behind the programming though as musically, both parties still hit the spot for a lot of the island's music heads.


DESTINO

Limited to only 10 big events this summer by Santa Eularia's town hall, Destino maybe wasn't as present in people's minds as it has been in previous years. But the parties it threw (mainly Luciano & Friends as well as Solomun +Live) worked very well. I understand the venue is in a difficult situation being located pretty close to rather influential inhabitants, but in my humble opinion, it's a shame they couldn't do more. It's just hands down, one of (if not THE) most beautiful outdoor venues on the island. For those wanting something smaller and intimate, Guy Gerber's RUMORS on Sundays was a perfect event to go to though!


EDEN

As I've mentioned in previous years, it's just a very difficult landscape for the clubs in San Antonio, because everything is so Playa d'en Bossa focused currently.

Mansion and Faction were Eden's biggest sellers, but it's a shame to see a club with such great infrastructure not living up to its potential.

Eden is a great club, but it takes a long time for a great club night to develop there.

Here's hoping a potential shift in island party back to San An in the future helps the club out.


ES PARADIS

This year, Es Paradis took a big blow when it lost Hed Kandi, which was far and away the club's biggest and most successful night in the past.

As a result, it seems to have turned into a club where newbies go - somewhere where Ibiza Virgins make a beeline for once they arrive in San Antonio. Fiesta del Agua was a hit on Tuesdays and Fridays, as was the Neon Paint Party on Sunday.

Even though it's one of the most beautiful venues on the island, it's sadly only themed parties that seem to draw the crowds there these days.


IBIZA ROCKS HOTEL

There was an undoubted home run at Ibiza Rocks this year and it came in the form of Craig David, whose TS5 pool parties were an unprecedented success for the San Antonio venue. With almost every show being a complete sell out, it wasn't long before the team behind Rocks realised that the daytime slot is where it's at, so don't be surprised to see more late afternoon action from them next year. As a result of this. however, the live rock gigs on Wednesday nights are becoming a much harder sell, and while gigs like LCD Soundsystem, Faithless and Kaiser Chiefs were all highlights, it was Sundays that stole the show. We Are Rockstars on a Friday carried on in the same vein as in the past, continuing to draw a bass-heavy, electronic-loving crowd.


OCEAN BEACH IBIZA

San Antonio's first proper daytime party venue had another fantastic season - every day of the week, it's completely packed out with champagne-popping partygoers. What else can I say; the concept just works!

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PACHA

The island's most iconic club enjoyed an excellent summer. Starting off the week with Flower Power (an evergreen), Tuesday then held one of the most talked about parties of the season - Maceo Plex's Mosaic. It was no easy game for him as he went up straight against Carl Cox at Space, but both teams Pacha and Plex were well aware of that. And considering this, Mosaic went through the baptism of fire, I'd say. It was a proper fresh breeze inside Pacha musically, with artists you'd never expect to rock the Pacha cherries (Len Faki anyone?). Its first season is definitely one to build on.

Martin Solveig's My House on Wednesdays has turned into one of the main pillars of the club in only two seasons, and Guetta's F*** Me I'm Famous the day after is still the club's most frantic night. Insane on Friday went with a four-promoter mini-series this summer (MK's Area10, Nic Fanciulli's We Are The Night, Hot Since 82's Knee Deep in Ibiza and last, but definitely not least the return of Luciano's Vagabundos). While Insane in general was solid, it was especially Luciano's nights that got people through the door.

The Pacha weekend continued with Bob Sinclar's Pure Pacha (Paris By Night) - always a winner - and ended with the club's best night, hands down, Solomun +1. This night has just gone from strength to strength over the last few seasons and this summer was no different. Has it outgrown the club? Rumours suggest it might have, but we shall see.

Another thing to bear in mind for next season is the recent sale of the entire Pacha group for a mammoth 350 million euros. But anyone fearing for Pacha's future needn't worry - rest assured there will be little change in the near future. After all, why would they change something that works so well?

PHOTO | Faris Villena


PRIVILEGE

'Privi' presented a varied program of nights for this summer. Monday started with EDX's No Xcuses, a new night geared towards the younger crowds and EDM fans. Tuesdays held a Paint Party again, a concept that's working alright. And Wednesdays in peak season were all about the Spanish mainstream night, Universiparty.

The surprises of the season for Privilege were Thursdays and Fridays. Musically, those nights couldn't have been more different, with Solid Grooves playing tech house in Vista Club on Thursdays, and I AM A RICH BITCH throwing hip-hop and reggaeton in the main room on Fridays, but both events did really well and turned into two important pillars for the venue. Thursday nights attracted lots of workers as well as underground heads, while Friday nights were a huge hit with the Spanish, who are very much into reggaeton currently.

Privilege's best working party SuperMartXé moved to Saturdays this year and brought in quite a lot of big name special guests such as Steve Angello, Chuckie and Afrojack. Nevertheless, it does seem this night has lost a tiny bit of its previous drive and looking back, changing to Saturdays to compete with elrow at Space might not have been the best decision. To end the week, Marco Bailey presented his new and proper tech party, Materia. Sunday night is no easy territory and team Materia did feel that, but I do feel this could be a grower.


SANKEYS

It was another successful season for Sankeys, though perhaps it didn't grow quite as much as anticipated following an impressive 2015. The party that continues to keep the title of the club's most popular night - packing out every room on a Sunday - was Steve Lawler's Warriors. It draws a devoted crowd that comes back for more week in, week out, and has come to really represent what the Sankeys vibe is all about. Then there were successful season debuts for Unusual Suspects, which grew in strength after a winter residency at the club, and the London-based party, ABODE. Tribal Sessions also continued to tick over nicely on a Saturday. The Redlight moved to a Monday slot, and brought a more house-focused sound along with it, and Applebum - the hip-hop and r'n'b party, sadly didn't make it through the season. Its line-ups were solid, with many old legends on the bill, but perhaps Ibiza still isn't ready for a musical soundscape shift, and this time the risk didn't pay off. The party with the best atmosphere probably went to Dance 88/89 on Wednesdays, which drew an older crowd with acid house sounds that came from the likes of Mr. C, 808 State and Alfredo. This was a party with music at its heart, and it's one we definitely hope will be back in 2017.


SPACE

Oh beloved Space, I honestly don't even know where to start or what to write that hasn't already been said in the last few months. It's been SUCH an emotional last summer for all of us that had been going to this club for years, many of us for decades.

Let's just quickly have a rundown of their nights. Monday's new night, ONYX was, I'm gonna be honest, so-so. But hey, going up against Cocoon and Circoloco... I never thought this was a very clever idea. It's not just because of that though, because just about everyone went to Space the day after, for Carl Cox's Final Chapter. They put out the 'completo' (sold out) sign on most nights and that says it all. His closing party - where the man himself played for 10 hours alone in the Discoteca, only playing vinyl (and therefore no loops and much less effects generally) - was a night I'm gonna remember for the rest of my life.

Wednesday was La Troya time. I personally haven't made it this summer, but I hear it's been OK busy and a good vibe as always. Thursdays was all about Tale Of Us' new project, Afterlife. An instant success with workers and holidaymakers alike, it'll be interesting to see if they stick to the same venue under new management, name and concept for next year. Glitterbox was back on Friday and I believe they had their best summer ever - not least because a lot of more seasoned ravers came back to Ibiza one more time to pay tribute to Space while having a boogie to proper house and disco classics.

Saturday was the new Ibiza blockbuster. You could see it coming because already last year elrow had a few extremely busy nights and with them throwing parties all over Europe, the brand has outright exploded. Similar to Tuesdays, elrow was sold out a lot of weeks this season and turned into one of the club's most important nights of the week. Same as with Afterlife, the question beckons, 'should I stay or should I go?'. The week ended with Sundays at Space. Suffering a bit as a result of Saturdays' popularity, as well as the fact it just wasn't We Love anymore, it wasn't one of the rammed nights, but musically it had some crackers and us at Spotlight were lucky enough to be able to host one of the rooms again on a few dates this summer. Thanks to everyone that came by and said hi!

And then of course, there was Space closing. A party like none that came before it and one that in future, will be almost impossible to beat. What can I say about such a party - one that ended 27 years of memory-making brilliance? It's hard to put into words, but the atmosphere of shared love and appreciation, from everyone involved in the club, to the DJs, to the crowd, will resonate within us all for a long time to come.

If you want to stay up to date about what will happen with the venue known as Space as well as what team Space have in mind, go and have a gander in our forums. We can't spill the beans just yet, but in the forums you might get a bit of info and as soon as anything's official, rest assured we'll be the first ones to publicly report about it.


USHUAÏA

It was another hugely successful summer for Ibiza's biggest outdoor venue overall, and as is now customary, ANTS on Saturdays continued to attract the biggest crowd, in spite of the club's EDM focus. Aside from this, the venue was packed almost every night as usual, with Martin Garrix, David Guetta and Avicii - who performed for the last time before his much-talked about retirement, at the club - continuing to draw massive crowds. There were only a few nights at the start and end of the season that didn't fare quite so well - in June and September, for example, some of the mini series that ran worked well, while debuts for parties like Blue, had a harder time attracting big numbers. The same can be said for Hardwell on Tuesdays, and that, almost definitely, can be attributed to the fact he went up against Coxy just across the road. Next year will be a super interesting one for the club. The brand is of course, set to transform the former Space into its new playground, so all eyes will be on how that impacts the Ushuaïa program too.


BOAT PARTIES

Interesting one this. Even though the government makes it harder for the promoters each year (for example, in the middle of the summer Formentera waters were suddenly off-limits for any boat party), this sector just keeps on growing. And we did see some shifts in there. On the San Antonio side, Float Your Boat got everything just right this summer, teaming up with Coxy and Cream, and suddenly filled tons of boats, despite going up against Pukka Up who had been dominating the scene for a decade. Aside from that, there were some smaller boats that made waves too - Ibiza Rocks The Boat, Noah's Ark by The Zoo Project, Connect and Lost in Ibiza all saw their fair share of the seamongers. On the Playa d'en Bossa side, Cirque De La Nuit still rules the roost, but Beautiful People and Oceanbeat positioned themselves well too. The Pacha Sailboat also did well, offering an altogether different party departing from Ibiza Town.


WORDS | Michael Stivanello

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