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    Ibiza: Are People Still Going?

    Ibiza Are People Still Going Paris Hilton

    The following article by Christopher Beanland has been reblogged from DJBroadcast.net:

    The White Isle is many things to many people. A one word synonym for a hedonistic summer clubbing blowout, an increasingly upmarket pleasure palace, a trashy weekend of shagging and snorting, and yes – even a family holiday destination for some. Tensions between different visitors and islanders sometimes seem like they’re going to spill out into a civil war on the streets. But as Spaniards say, “manana.” Tomorrow. That full-blown conflict will never come. Yet change is inevitable.

    It’s no secret that island authorities want something different: in an ideal world they’d make all the clubs into Nikki Beaches and switch all the charter flights for Moscow-based private jets that bring in older, higher spending punters. Anecdotal evidence suggests attendances at some clubs are lower this season. So is it all over for Ibiza? A long slow decline is probably the answer to that question, but how could it be otherwise? Fashions shift. Tastes adapt. Attendances peaked in 2011 in complete defiance of Spain’s basket case economy and the fact that the country’s young have been hung out to dry. But what do you do when you’re standing on the edge of the cliff? Party. They still come in from Madrid and Barcelona – but with these ticket prices at the superclubs, it can’t be easy to pay for it. You only have to take a bus to get to Sonar.

    “…There was an abundance of 
    festivals every weekend across Britain and Europe that boasted 
    line-ups which were carbon  copies of those at any 
    of Ibiza’s best clubs…”

    What of the English this summer? We are Europe’s lager-swilling party animals. Why weren’t we in Ibiza? “There was no need for people to go to Ibiza this year,” reckons Kara Simsek, author of How To Be A Hipster, and writer for Vice and The Daily Mirror. “There was an abundance of festivals every weekend across Britain and Europe that boasted line-ups which were carbon copies of those at any of Ibiza’s best clubs. Clubbers were entertained by the same 100 DJs that turned up to party armed to the teeth with USBs fully loaded with generic deep house and a few cuts by Frankie Knuckles to keep the older ravers happy.”

    Simsek’s festival point is spot-on. Crucially, these new contenders are often intimate affairs. And they’re often Croatian. A few days at Soundwave on the Dalmatian coast seems more intimate, less commercialised, less crass somehow than throwing shapes in a metal hangar off the CV-731 Motorway – that road between San An and Ibiza Town, incidentally, yet another glowing example of Spain’s utter profligacy during the boom times.

    “…I’d really like to see 
    Ibiza get a bit more wallet-friendly…”

    Ibiza was about mass tourism and mass tourism led to mass clubbing. This is the language of modernism that we don’t speak about any more. Society, and clubbing, has shattered into a million pieces. We are all narcissists now, we are all consumers. We want individual experiences, we want boutique festivals, we want pop-up clubs, we want secret speakeasies, we want illegal warehouse parties, we want an Instagrammable one-of-a-kind experience that is somehow ours to own – that reflects our own individuality, our own self-importance, a brand that defines ‘us.’

    “They [Ibiza clubs] are definitely losing ground to the cheaper, more varied Croatian scene,” agrees Ben Gomori – producer and podcast host. “But the VIPs aren’t going to stop flocking to Ibiza any time soon. They can definitely co-exist – Croatia providing a more ‘underground’ option while Ibiza deals in legacy and luxury. But…” he adds, “I’d really like to see Ibiza get a bit more wallet-friendly.” Wouldn’t we all.

    Ibiza’s transformation into a startling hotspot for the super rich is documented with hilarious élan by Geraint Anderson in City Boy, his semi-fictional memoir of life as a financial analyst in the City of London. Anderson unpeels the flimsy skin that barely covers this world of cocaine, private jets, luxury villas, luxury islands and fetid sexual gratification enjoyed by the stinking rich parasites of Zurich, London, Frankfurt, Dubai. He comically promises himself that no daughter of his will ever be allowed to holiday on the island, lest she falls into the greasy grasp of one of these male monsters. The rich tolerate modernism and mass fun the least and their post-modernist Ibiza odysseys today consist of a highly indivdualised experience: a personalised concierge service, being waited on hand and foot like some kind of God by a butler, tasteless parties in tasteless locations with personalised DJs brought in at great expense.

    “There’s too much money involved for Ibiza to ever be all over, but there’s also too much money involved for it to ever again be artistically relevant,” muses Dean Driscoll, Berlin-based social media manager and DJ on Rinse FM. “It’s a cultural dead zone: a playground for DJs & wannabes, funded by people who either somehow enjoy being mugged by unscrupulous clubs, or are simply too off their face to care.” Driscoll adds: “Short version: F*ck Ibiza.”

    The punters might be older and richer – wiser even – yet the unadulterated bling-drenched bacchanalia continues at a pace which would make an 18 year-old party animal at a university freshers week blush. Into this overheated, oversexed, overpriced, overhyped milieu have descended – oddly perhaps – new types of customer. “Flights once full of beery 18-30s are now packed with upper middle class families looking for a ‘cool’ break for them and their teenage sons with names like Santiago,” jokes Natalie Paris of The Daily Telegraph. The newspaper supports Britain’s centre-right governing Conservative party and Paris points out the fact that Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha holidaying there is probably something of an incentive to these aspirational and affluent new visitors – visitors who are unlikely to pay 50 Euros to get into Space but are happy to pay 350 Euros to fly in on the new British Airways service from London City Airport.

    “…could be linked to the 
    rather dogged determination to stick to a roster of artists 
    drawn from the ranks of house and techno…”

    “Perhaps it was quieter this year, but perhaps that could be linked to the rather dogged determination to stick to a roster of artists drawn from the ranks of house and techno. Admittedly that was what we (and I imagine the majority) went for, but there are a number of forward thinking artists such as Four Tet, Scuba – even Skream – playing a range of styles from 120-130bpm and beyond,” says Stuart Love, a British freelance music writer just back from an end of season jaunt. “I know house has had a resurgence in the last couple of years with the likes of Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles, Jamie Jones – but is that enough to justify an arguable lack of variety?”

    “…who needs the White Isle 
    when you have the British Isles…?”

    And yet Ibiza, and – if we can still use this word without creasing up – its ‘vibe’ are genuinely cherished by many. One island resident I wanted to interview seemed angry at the supposition the title of this piece implied. For them, Ibiza is not quieter, not worse – and most of all, not London. Just a phenomenal place to spend a summer. People will still go in 2014, clubs will still be packed – just less packed. “It’s never over for the White Isle as that’s where it all began,” says Woody Anderson – TV producer and digital marketer. “As the musical landscape changes, so will Ibiza.” Interesting things are happening: Ibiza Rocks and WAR offer a change from the 4/4 norm. Bloop Festival has mixed visual art’s possibilities into the music scene

    But is it enough? Just back from the gross ‘glam’ of Ushaia and Nikki, Natalie Paris reflects that “the hippies that gave the beaches their boho atmosphere are being priced out.” Kara Simsek’s patriotic conclusion is that “2013 truly answered the question who needs the White Isle when you have the British Isles?”


    October 10th, 2013

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