Ibiza In Focus: Ushuaïa
Amid a backdrop of sun-kissed beaches, beautiful people, addictive beats and some of the most impressive show production in the world, We Rave You had the honor of being witness to the magnificent magic of a place that is the epicenter of electronic music – the beautiful Balearic island of Ibiza. Ibiza has been dominating electronic music headlines for decades, and its events have turned into legendary parties hosted by clubs that have become nothing short of institutions in clubbing. We’ve previewed a myriad of Ibiza events and it was about time to go and experience the madness firsthand. Through a series of editorials, we’ll be reviewing some of the biggest parties in Ibiza as part of our running feature We Rave You Ibiza Special.
Beautiful beach resorts are a dime a dozen in Ibiza but if there is one that dominates in basically every field under the sun – it is the absolutely gorgeous Ushuaïa. Located in Playa d’en Bossa, the beachfront hotel boasts a massive outdoor venue within its tropical and elegant complex. Ushuaïa has been a shining star since first opening its doors in 2011. It has championed some of the biggest DJ residencies, prides itself on unique and breathtaking production, glamorous dancers, and taking care of not only the young fans dancing in the crowd but also the Ibiza VIP’s. In a few short years, Ushuaïa Ibiza has secured its place as one of the biggest, best and most popular venues on the island. Not an easy feat when you compete against clubbing giants like Pacha and Space that have a long running history that spans back decades. With the exception of the opening and closing parties which continue long into the night, Ushuaïa opens at 5pm for all parties except ANTS that starts at 3pm and closes at midnight each night. By providing a rare opportunity to see some of the biggest headliners on the island as the sun is still setting, Ushuaïa has returned the long-held tradition of daytime clubbing back to the island.
Every Ushuaïa residency is an elegant affair to say the least. Walking into the open-air beach hotel, fans have the opportunity to take photographs in front of an art display with the symbol of the residency of the day. Once inside Ushuaïa, the sheer scale of the venue becomes evident. With a stage large enough to be the main stage of any festival, this was truly more than an auxiliary addition to the hotel. We Rave You was at Ushuaïa for an entire week and with every day came a new residency. In addition to the incredible music, the magnificent canvas in front of us was colored by the beautiful colors of the sunset as if it were a backdrop of a unique painting. The airplanes would fly overhead and the stage would melt into the darkened skyline awaiting their lasers, CO2 cannons and euphoric productions. So without further ado, let us guide you through the Ushuaïa residencies one by one.
MONDAY: BIG by David Guetta
Superstar David Guetta conjures up a fair few connotations – one of which is his legendary F*** Me I’m Famous residency at Pacha Ibiza. It must have seemed like an impossible task for Ushuaïa to tempt the popular Frenchman to add to his already busy Ibiza schedule. Their success in doing so is proof that Ushuaïa’s experience is unique and one for the books as it was one of the busiest events we’ve ever experienced.
The poolside party was one of the most popular events of the last few seasons and after having seen the energy of that crowd this comes as no surprise. The event lives up to it’s name as it is truly ‘BIG’. On top of the non-stop hits by the Frenchman, the incredible and breathtaking stage production and the colorful dancers, Ushuaïa has made the night even more fun by giving out glow sticks, comically ‘BIG’ hats and bags and just generally re-enforcing to the fans that they are part of something ‘BIG’. We were witness to the now famous massive grape of balloons with an acrobat and the self watering tap which have become trademarks of the popular event. The show is fun, cheerful, energy packed and the production is elaborate which is to be expected of a superstar like David Guetta. The ‘BIG’ residency featured other big names in electronic music including Steve Angello, Robin Schulz, Afrojack, NERVO, Nicky Romero, Oliver Heldens, Don Diablo and many more.
TUESDAY: Hardwell’s DNA
Continuing on with the massive residencies, Ushuaïa Ibiza could not forget one of big room house and electro’s biggest stars. Hardwell fortified his claim on the island with a third season-long residency at Ushuaïa. In a few years Hardwell has become one of the biggest and most talked about names in the industry, and it comes as no surprise that he calls Ibiza his weekly home in summer. We walked through the technological art display in the theme of ‘DNA’ knowing we were about to experience something unique and energy packed on the night. First we had the chance to chat to the superstar himself and ask him about his residency. The talented young Dutchman gave us an insight into what was ahead:
“I wanted to do a more futuristic concept. With that being said I wanted to have a concept even line-up wise that’s more open minded compared to the other years. DNA. No matter what your DNA is – you will always have a great time. By DNA I mean your music taste. Ibiza is the greatest place on earth when it comes to discovering dance music. I wanted to be a part of that. Especially as one of the guys of the new generation – I think my younger fans definitely have a great time listening to DJ’s that they don’t normally listen to.”
Our Tuesday sunset session was colored by Deepend and Kill the Buzz as they eased us into the night bringing it to an electro peak with Hardwell banging out all the latest hits. The highlight of the night was definitely seeing the superstar play some reggaeton. As the hit-maker mentioned to us at the beginning of the night his focus was musical diversity and it was a welcome surprise to us and his many fans. You can check out more about Hardwell’s changing music style in our interview right here. During the summer Hardwell was joined on the world famous open-air stage by a whole host of top talent including Kill the Buzz, Funkerman, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Yiva, Chocolate Puma, Alok and many more.
WEDNESDAY: Axwell Λ Ingrosso
Their Ushuaïa residency went under the name Departures for two years and in 2015 it became titled after the main men of the high-octane showdown, ‘Axwell Λ Ingrosso’. With names that hold so much weight in the electronic music stratosphere – the duo realized that it was redundant for this residency to have a name.
Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, the dynamic duo whose names are enough to make a crowd go wild, chose some amazing colleagues to open the night. There was the massive new talent King Arthur as well as the ‘Don’ – Mr Don Diablo. The funky and energetic sets warmed up the crowd and made them crave the house vibes of the headliner duo even more. We started the night with a temporary tattoo of the infamous Λ symbol to get into the vibe, grabbed an Axwell Λ Ingrosso frozen cocktail and sat down to a great chat with King Arthur about his past and what we can look forward to from this charismatic American. Keep an eye out for our interview with this shining star who’s amassed not just support from his fans but also calls Don Diablo a friend and a fan.
After having a unique opportunity to be backstage with Axwell and Ingrosso, we ventured out to check out the main stars of the show. The melodic vocals, euphoric synths and pounding basslines are what characterize their music and Ushuaïa, with its dazzle of well-lit stage productions, is the ideal place to revel in the kind of show this pair put on week after week. Axwell Λ Ingrosso shone under the stars and the illuminated Ushuaïa sign above them with airplanes flying overhead. The show lived up to its magnificent headliners and and it was a truly all-encompassing escape from reality. The duo were joined over the summer by the likes of the Mambo Brothers, EDX, Lost Frequencies, Ruby Rose, Dirty South, Tom Starr, Kimotion, KSHMR and many others.
THURSDAY: BLUE by Oliver Heldens and Robin Schulz
Oliver Heldens is a breath of fresh air in any stratosphere and Ushuaïa made sure to complement the funky Dutchman with a residency worthy of that funky cheerful personality. Say hello to ‘BLUE’ – the residency that will transport you to the deep blue waters of a Balearic beach with its deep and tropical tones in a grand setting reminiscent of old-style theaters. With a line-up featuring the likes of the incredible Feder, superstar Lost Frequencies and of course Mr Heldens himself we couldn’t wait to cross the blue line and check out this refreshing new addition to the island.
We had a lovely chat to Lost Frequencies and then had a chance to hang out with the headliner Oliver. The bearded Dutchman chatted to us about his residency:
“I’m really happy with all the ‘BLUE’ shows. It’s been incredible. The crowd, the vibes in general but also if you look at the amount of people. So many people turned up while ‘BLUE’ is still really new and in its first year. The last few nights there were more than 5,000 people. It’s crazy to think about it. I really like the concept as Ushuaïa goes from day to night. I play a 2 hour set so I can really take a crowd on a journey in my set. It’s a really good experience.”
The star-studded line-up bringing the summer sounds and housey beats were headlined by Oliver Heldens and Robin Schulz and were joined by Lost Frequencies, Thomas Jack, Felix Jaehn, Fader, Klingande, Michael Calfan, Sam Feldt, Sigala, Jonas Blue, Junior J, Alex Adair, Bakermat, Deepend and Kimotion.
FRIDAY – MULTIPLY by Martin Garrix
Martin Garrix’s music career has been one of the most spectacular rapid ascensions of recent years. His reputation spread like wildfire after the chart-topping hit ‘Animals’ back in 2011, with the huge success of the track leading him to worldwide fame and not surprisingly, Ibiza’s doorstep. Amidst the rumors of the young Dutch prodigy being the new number 1 in the world it wouldn’t be hard to figure out why after the crazy atmosphere he delivered on this Friday night. Martin Garrix made an expected return to Ushuaïa Ibiza in 2016, boasting a second spectacular year for his hugely popular ‘MULTIPLY’ residency. The teenage superstar of the electronic music world has already achieved the kind of success his peers can only dream of, and as yet another marker of his unstoppable success, he was back Ushuaïa for seven dates this summer between Friday 1 July and Friday 26 August. Garrix was joined on the Ushuaïa stage by the likes of Marshmello, Tommy Trash, Matisse & Sadko, Justin Mylo and many more.
‘ANTS’ – the party Ushuaïa’s CEO Yann Pissenem calls his ‘baby’ is one that has grown exponentially since its birth. Starting from mid-afternoon, the Playa d’en Bossa hotspot becomes an ode to all things underground, showcasing some of the biggest names in deep house and techno on the island. Ushuaïa’s charismatic CEO had a chance to chat about the unique ‘ANTS’ experience earlier this year at the International Music Summit. He explains:
“We were trying to create an underground brand without using any big headliner at the beginning and to give the opportunity to emerging talent that we knew at that moment. The idea was to build an underground group and what is more underground than ants? The dress code in underground music is black and the name came out like that. The concept of ‘Join the colony’. What’s unique is how the event takes place – during the day it’s different to how it is at night. It’s a party that needs to grow a little more organically. We start a little bit earlier in the day from a little DJ booth at the back and then at 9 or 10 we do a changeover and we pass to the main stage. To enjoy 2 different parties in one and to let the party grow.”
Saturday’s ‘ANTS’ was quite a departure from Ushuaïa’s happy colorful atmosphere – ‘ANTS’ is the night Ushuaïa steps into the dark side. The party started at the back end of the club with some deep and ominous tones by the likes of Maya Jane Coles that were then moved to the main stage that looked like a dark theatrical spectacle with dancers inside huge metal cages moving to the deep, dark yet sensual beats of headliners like Kölsch. The summer Ushuaïa stages saw the likes of Andrea Oliva, Nic Fanciulli, Maya Jane Coles, UNER, Gorgon City, Groove Armada, Joris Voorn, Matthias Tanzmann, Pete Tong, Sasha, Timo Mass, Andhim, Catz ‘N Dogz, Eats Everything, Tube & Berger, among many more.
SUNDAY – Avicii’s Last Show
We saved the best for last and what a magnificent spectacle it was. We Rave You was part of electronic music history on a night that marked the end of an era. Avicii’s last show. As with any big commercial artist he’s had his fare share of love vs hate and admiration vs aversion with those that believe he ruined electronic music and those that believe he made an imprint on its history. Opinions will differ but at the end of the day – any artist that brings electronic music to the forefront and encourages people who have never experienced it to explore it – deserves respect.
Ushuaïa was buzzing from the late afternoon hours as the excited fans could not wait to start this highly anticipated event. We ran into the always charismatic KSHMR who shared his excitement to be part of such a monumental event and checked out Seeb’s set that was easing us and the thousands of excited fans into what was to become a truly memorable night. By the time KSHMR started with his enigmatic and hypnotic show, Ushuaïa was packed and getting a view of the stage was quite a challenge. We managed to grab a prime spot on the balcony and the anticipation and excitement was growing by the minute. After a minor delay, the superstar producer graced the stage and without saying a word started what is likely to be his last ever live set.
The moment the superstar pressed a single button his fans were lead into a state of music ecstasy. After 5 consecutive years at Ushuaïa, this was a special show – and you could feel it in the air. The music trailblazer belted out some killer mash-ups and treated the excited fans to all the hits the producer had become infamous for including ‘Wake me Up’, ‘Silhouettes’, ‘Levels’ and many more. A perfect way to end a truly massive touring career.
Arguably one of the biggest electronic music producers ending it all in one of the most iconic clubbing venues in the world.
After a week of non-stop parties it was time to end our Ushuaïa journey and we were left with nothing but special memories. Ushuaïa is and always will be the club that changed the island that we thought had it all. A truly unique experience and one that we couldn’t get enough of.
If you want to catch the last few parties at the legendary venue because you can’t wait for next season we recommend the massive Ushuaïa closing party, otherwise we’ll be seeing you on the dance floor next season. With the recent takeover of the legendary club Space by Ushuaïa’s visionary Yann Pissenem, we can’t wait to see what Ibiza has in store for the summer of 2017.
Photographs: Roberto Castaño