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Ten Most Influential People in Ibiza Clubbing

Who are the real shakers and groovers on the White Isle? Click here for our picks

That the Ibiza club scene is the biggest in the world in terms of numbers processed is stating the blatantly apparent. The venues are also the largest and the average door prices the highest. While promoters are naturally cagey about the exact money they pay the djs, Pacha's Danny Whittle has been quoted on "up to 20,000 euros" for a set. It's probably safe to assume that club cash is more concentrated here than anywhere.

But it's not just about money, it's also about the music. The culture wars that have been fought in consumerist Western societies over the past fifty years have also erupted here. Foreign-produced records in the days of the fascist Franco regime were contraband, not that that stopped the progenitors of the Ibiza club scene. Though literally millions of people have taken part, these guys have contributed more than any other to make the Ibiza scene what it is today. The constant media shit fight attests to its continued relevance, about which all we have to say is it might not be perfect, but it is intense.

The ten people on our list have been chosen because they represent some of the largest and most powerful institutions on the island and they have sway over both the creative and business sides.

Obviously you can't weigh influence in grams or any other precise measurement. This is a subjective list and one that we hope provokes some discussion. So if you don't like it please make your way to the forums and pour forth your bile and invective, that's what everybody else does.

This list isn't ranked, we don't have the cojones to do that, but the first name included is an Ibiza-born politician of global significance.

Abel Matutes Juan

Stephen Armstrong, writer for the Sunday Times, Time Out, Wallpaper and professor at Richmond, the American International University in London, writes in his new book The White Island that in 1996 the worst kept secret in Ibiza was that Abel Matutes Juan, up until recently the Foreign Minister for Spain, was the largest shareholder in the Space and Privilege night clubs.

That fact is not on the 63-year-old's official CV, but his résumé does list a spell as the Mayor of Ibiza, honorary professorships at various universities, a vice presidency of the Ibiza and Formentera Employers' Tourism Sector Organisation, and other important political posts in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.

National newspaper El Mundo says the Matutes family are to Ibiza what the Kennedys are to Boston. The clan is said to own large swathes of leisure-oriented real estate and while they're not actually booking the djs or running the clubs, today's Ibiza scene wouldn't be what it is without their investment and continued sway over island institutions.

Ricardo Urgell, owner of Pacha

Founder of the globe-straddling Pacha brand and head guy of Ibiza's Asociación de Discotecas, Señor Urgell lit a fire that has warmed millions of club tourists. Pacha was first, and while you might not let it all hang out like you do at Amnesia for example, it's the classic house club. A student of architecture, Ricardo showed with his multi-roomed macro-disco that it was possible to entertain large numbers of customers with tastes that may change even as the night progresses. Ricardo Urgell was presented with an award earlier this year for his services to tourism, recognition perhaps that it is clubs like his that make this island famous.

Danny Whittle, creative director at Pacha

"It's Hugo's car and he is the driver," says Danny Whittle, Pacha's brand director in the last issue of their 2004 magazine. However it is hard to overstate the contribution of the 42-year-old Englishman. Mr Whittle is involved in all aspects of the club. He oversees the booking of the djs, the design of the posters and other advertising which is consistently a notch above the other clubs, the international franchise licensing and the Pacha record label of which he is a part owner, among other duties. This ex-navy man is a chilled guy but like everybody in the Pacha organisation he has a deep understanding of the mechanics of hedonism.

Ben Turner, editor of the Pacha mag

As the editor of Pacha's glossy magazine, Mr Turner has become an important spokesman for the club. This is only the second year that he's brought out the four summer issues but already it has become required reading for short term visitors and residents alike due to its thorough and entertaining examination of the pervasive Pacha culture and its place in Ibiza's history.

He's also the creative director for the DanceStar, the US-based global dance music awards and manages the BBC's Rob da Bank who is currently putting on the critically-acclaimed Sunday Best beach parties. In previous years he has edited online and print publications which have played a significant role in creating and riding the tidal wave of hype which is both the boon and curse of modern Ibiza.

Pepe Rosello, owner of Space

Politically and socially active, Señor Rosello has probably the best known face of any club owner on the island. This is due in no small part to his habit of appearing in the booth on the terrace at Space opening, closing and other special occasions. His club is probably the single most famous club on the island, perhaps the world.

However so far there is only one official franchise - Space Barcelona opened last month to a rapturous response. The set up - sunny outside bits plus booming inside bits - has garnered acclaim all over the globe. Which isn't to say everybody likes it.

Compared to other venues in Ibiza, Space is very strict when it comes to security and general behaviour, a direct consequence of partying in daylight. While this approach attracts much criticism the philosophy is clearly designed help it assimilate with the local community. Señor Rosello is another member of the Asociación de Discotecas.

Fritz Pangratz, club manager at Space

The man charged with upholding the peace is Herr Pangratz, a native of Bavaria, Germany. Fritz is in charge of daily liaison with the promoters which include some of the most famous brand names in clubs and dance music: Carl Cox, John Digweed, Smokin' Jo, Manumission, La Troya Asesina, We Love, and many many more.

Fritz also does the music programming for the opening and closing parties, and oversees most all financial transactions that take place within the building. He also expanded operations in 2004, with the acquisition and refurbishment of Lola's, an old club in Ibiza Town.

Darren Hughes, promoter of We Love

Sunday is Space's flagship event, and this is Darren's (pictured wearing the savage shirt left). Observers have noted that Space the club and the promotions team for its biggest gig are becoming more interlinked, for example this year the posters for We Love Space on Sundays used the same format at the Space closing. Mr Hughes' name has been put forward as the new partner for Space on tour.

Ninety nine per cent of the people who play at Space on Sundays also play at We Love homelands, Darren's music festival attended by 30,000 people in the south of England in May each year. Mr Hughes also started Cream with James Barton, before striking out on his own with the home brand in the late 90s.

Pete Tong, disc jockey

"The clubs are becoming more important than most of the superstar djs," said Mr Hughes last year, but one high profile jock that continues to wields enormous influence and command a comparably huge salary is Peter Tong. The British Broadcasting Corporation continues to be a pervasive presence which broadcasts to the entire United Kingdom and the world via the internet, and Mr Tong is arguably the biggest dj on the Beeb's Radio One. His is the only dj name to have entered the popular lexicon, as in the phrase "it's all gone Pete Tong", or wrong. This has gone on to become the title for a movie due to be released this year, which will no doubt further cement Pete's place as a cultural icon.

Pacha's lineup Monday to Sunday features the top tier of international djs installed as residents, and Mr Tong does Fridays. This is could either be seen as a new trend or perhaps a reversion to an earlier age where djs would develop their profile in conjunction with more local audiences.

Martin Ferrer, owner of Amnesia

This guy's club also provides a platform for some of the biggest names in dance. Trance fans are well served with Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk and the world's most commercially successful jock, Paul Oakenfold, appearing regularly at Cream on Thursdays.

Under the guidance of the 58-year-old, a regular in his VIP area, Amnesia have developed a seven day a week roster that rivals (and perhaps even exceeds on some nights) Pacha's and Space's. Cocoon on Monday was one of the handful of hippest parties in 2004, La Troya Asesina on Wednesday continues to be traffic-stoppingly massive, Made In Italy on Friday is one of the longest running parties on the White Isle, clocking in with literally decades of experience, Saturdays was newly inspired, busy Spanish-oriented night called People from Ibiza, and Sunday was extra gay night with Gorgeous.

They're still struggling to find that killer Tuesday night line up, tho it won't be Godskitchen who left there after 2001 due to a very public copyright dispute that has been dragged through the Spanish courts this year.

Andy McKay, promoter of Manumission

Manumission had to be represented as it is the biggest weekly party in the world. The 'Mish has shaped the holiday of literally millions over the ten years in which it has been operating.

Anybody familiar with the Manumission story knows there are two brothers, each with wives who are all central to the whole shebang. The duties are divided up roughly thus Eorganisation Andy and Dawn, publicity Mike and Claire. If they were a web site Andy and Dawn would do the back end, and Mike and Claire the design.

Andy is also one of the driving forces behind the move to incorporate live bands into their musical program, which has attracted acres of press attention as he explained to us earlier this year.

Even tho we've fingered Andy here, credit should should go to the whole Manumission team. No other promoters at Privilege come close to filling the venue. Indeed if Manumission were to leave Privilege would probably be buggered. The 'Mish have signed up for another four years though so it looks as if their hold over, hearts, minds, wallets and erogenous zones will continue.

Also considered:

Pepe Aguirre, owner Es Paradis

Javier Anadon, owner of Eden

Judge Jules, disc jockey

Pier Luigi Di Filippo, promoter La Troya Asesina & Gorgeous

Khaled, owner of El Divino

Michael, Claire & Dawn, of Manumission

José María Etxaniz, owner of Privilege

Andrea Pelino, promoter of Circo Loco @ Dc10

[The foto of Danny Whittle is taken from the September edition of the Pacha Magazine The foto of Ricardo Urgell is taken from the Diario de Ibiza Digital, the photo of Abel Matutes is taken from the BBC, and the photo of Pete Tong is taken from his own website Thank you all.]

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