Ibiza in Focus: USHUAÏA
Ushuaïa Ibiza has become the jewel in the White Isle’s crown since the inception of the outdoor venue half a decade ago. A luxurious hotel, based on miles of golden Ibiza sands, the beach club has become synonymous with breath-taking production and some of electronic music’s hottest line-ups, revolutionizing the clubbing experience for Balearic ravers. Competing with iconic venues across the island, the beach hotel has come a long way in a short space of time, offering daytime events for their sun-kissed ravers, whilst planes fly overhead from the nearby airport – always a moment that garners a huge roar from the crowd. Always delivering the freshest line-ups and most innovative special effects, across the summer of 2017 We Rave You had the honor of attending various Ushuaïa events every night of the week. Every residency offers fans the chance to take photographs in front of a specially designed art display specific to that night’s chief headlining artist. Whilst once inside, the performances at Ushuaïa include full-on visual spectacles, clad with lasers, and CO2 cannons. Through a series of editorials, we’ll be reviewing some of the biggest parties in Ibiza as part of our running We Rave You Ibiza Special.
MONDAY: BIG by David Guetta
A true juggernaut of the dance music scene, David Guetta personifies the word ‘legend’ in the dance music industry, with a career spanning two long and fruitful decades. These days, the Frenchman is more known for his pop-friendly radio hits, and collaborations with the likes of Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj, and Kid Cudi, blending his sound to R&B and electronic amalgamations. But here lies a producer who has garnered huge respect on the white island, stemming right back to his days performing tech-house on the terrace of the now defunct Space, and his long-time F**K Me I’m Famous residency at Pacha. A big DJ, with a big sound… everything about Mondays at Ushuaïa are BIG, as Guetta displays out-of-this-world production levels, clad with dancers and special effects.
With a gigantic ‘tap’ system gushing water into the pool below, the visual performance Guetta delivers is nothing short of jaw-dropping, with circus-style performers floating across the sky on balloon bunches. A diverse and dynamic artist who has constantly evolved his sound over time to fit with modern trends, the French star brings a stellar cast of support with him on Mondays, with the likes of Afrojack, Oliver Heldens, Cedric Gervais and Jonas Blue warming up his stage on a weekly basis.
TUESDAY: Tomorrowland Presents Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Garden of Madness
Widely regarded as the #1 festival in dance music, Tomorrowland creates magic like no other in the calendar. The annual July festival, is known for incredible special effects and a vibe more atmospheric than words can do justice to. When the announcement was made that this remarkable collaboration would be occurring in the 2017 Ibiza season, excitement was – understandably – at an all-time high. Headlining the residency were the recent #1 DJ’s in the world, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. The Belgian pair, annual headliners at the festival, delivered their big-room sound to the Ushuaïa stage, with a whole host of special guests including Steve Angello, NERVO, Steve Aoki, and many more.
The Garden of Madness concept, a crossover between the ultimate festival and ultimate party island, was one we discussed with the pair during an exclusive interview, with the duo stating:
“We have been playing in Ibiza for the past.. almost 15 years. We started out in the smallest clubs, lived in the basements of hotels and we actually worked here in Ushuaïa before it was Ushuaïa. Then it was Club Playa den Bossa, an 18–30 hotel and we used to do the sound and light for the show and used to DJ after the show. They had a little shared club together with Don Toni, which is now the Hard Rock Hotel. So it’s very special after all these years to return here to Ushuaïa – a worldwide phenomenon where we also made a lot of progress in our career. We did the residency in Amnesia I think for the past 4 years, which was doing really great. Then this year the guys from Ushuaïa were like ‘you know what, let’s try to do something together’, so we sat and we talked for a long time and we decided to share our residency with our family at Tomorrowland. We sort of thought like how can we push this to the next level, show wise, production wise and experience wise and this is the result.”
WEDNESDAY: LIMITED EDITION
Having held their own Ushuaïa residency for two years and titling the night after their own names in 2015 and 2016, former Swedish House Mafia duo Axwell Λ Ingrosso have been a Wednesday night staple of the Ushuaïa line-up, but this year, it was all changed. With Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso taking to the stage twice over the course of the summer, ‘Limited Edition’ opened up the floor to a weekly conveyor-belt of electronic talent, with Dutch supremo Hardwell amongst the line-up which varied from week-to-week. The former #1 DJ in the world was also joined by revolutionary French act DJ Snake, who headlined Miami’s gigantic Ultra Music Festival in March. With Alesso and Diplo also forming a unique and spectacular b2b, and Major Lazer making their Ibiza debut, Limited Edition was the only place to be on Wednesday nights this summer, with support from the likes of Don Diablo, Tchami, and Otto Knows.
Taking place between 11 weeks from 28th June, the collection of global favorites embodied a diverse range of big room and electro house mastery, and proved to be one of the island’s biggest success stories in the 2017 season, encompassing spectacular firework shows with the heavy beats blaring from the stage. “We are really focusing on our shows being the best they can be. So we made a change and only played Ibiza for 2 shows and focused on them being the biggest yet!”, said Axwell.
THURSDAY: Martin Garrix
Without a doubt the hottest property in dance music right now, Martin Garrix has enjoyed a meteoric rise in his still relatively short career. Since his monstrous hit ‘Animals‘ dropped in 2013, the young Dutchman has played around with his sound, moving from big-room tracks to more melodic productions, with his fanbase growing by the second. Now, also holding a residency at neighbouring venue, Hï Ibiza, Martin has become the cream of the crop when it comes to live shows, with Ushuaïa a guaranteed sell-out every Thursday evening.
The current DJ Mag Top 100 winner, who cites Tiësto as a major inspiration in his career, dazzled his youthful crowd with a pyro-picnic of delights, with bright sparklers and blasts of fire pumping out into the cool night air with every drop. Joined by the likes of Cedric Gervais, Jauz, Matisse & Sadko, and Justin Mylo, this is, quite clearly, only the start of Martin’s Ibiza domination.
FRIDAY – Tinie Tempah DISTURBING IBIZA
Showcasing their diverse line-up, Ushuaïa proved it isn’t all about dance music this summer, inviting R&B star Tinie Tempah along to deliver his unique blend of rap-heavy radio hits. The UK hip hop artist, who has enjoyed huge success with his Ibiza pool parties, delivered his ‘Disturbing Ibiza‘ stage to Ushuaïa every Friday night, kicking off the weekend with the help of pals James Hype, Riton, and turntable genius, DJ EZ.
Following breakthrough hit ‘Pass Out’ in 2010, Tinie has become one of the biggest names in the music industry, scoring a succession of BRIT Award nominations, and scoring 6 UK Singles Chart #1’s, more than any other rap artist in history. His Ushuaïa sets, laced with graffiti backed walls, transform the beach venue into an urban haven for the night, with the ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ star bringing the stars out for his rabid crowd. Bringing a mammoth 15-date residency to the Balearic shores, DISTURBING IBIZA marked Tinie’s 3rd summer at Ushuaïa, with the Londoner adding:
“The music scene in Ibiza is changing, a new generation is coming to Ibiza, people that are into different things and sounds. It’s evolving. As much as house is still the backbone, there’s a big appetite for new and culturally-relevant music.”
Arguarbly the venue’s most popular party, Ushuaïa’s CEO Yann Pissenem calls his this night his ‘baby’ and it is easy to see why! Starting from mid-afternoon, the Playa d’en Bossa hotspot becomes an ode to all things underground, showcasing some of the biggest names in house and techno on the island. Filled with dark, brooding tones, ANTS is all about the music, and has since taken over many locations worldwide, infecting London with their colony earlier this year.
With ANTS resident Andrea Oliva on the decks, the tech-house star was joined by the likes of Nic Fanciulli, Maya Jane Coles, Lauren Lane, Solardo, and Groove Armada during the 2017 season. Packed from the onset, the sold out event commands an intense atmosphere, from the middle of the afternoon, right until the climactic finale before midnight. As the the legendary venue begins to fill up, the crowd are treated to an unbelievable display of pyrotechnics, as lasers and fireworks provoke gasps of delight from the poolside revelers. As the sun sets, Ushuaïa really comes into it’s own, becoming a dark, intense setting as techno thumps through the floor. A sinister atmosphere envelops the crowd, as the pulsating beat hypnotizes the colony, who react to every twist and turn during the live performances. Always a hugely anticipated event, ANTS will continue to grow as the years go on, and looks like a true mainstay in the Ushuaïa calendar.
SUNDAY – Kygo
Norwegian super producer Kygo blew Ushuaïa Ibiza apart in 2016 with his mini residency, so it should be no surprise that he returned this year with a 10-date occupation. Lacing the venue with his unique tropical vibes, Kygo relies on a slowed tempo to deliver soothing house beats that perfectly match the relaxing sea-side location of Ushuaïa. Sporting arguably the most incredible decor of them all, Kygo’s residency saw the beach club transformed into a Sunday jungle, with palm trees and artificial shrubbery installed to give a garden feel.
Joined by the likes of Alok, Jax Jones, Lost Frequencies, and Dutch superstar Oliver Heldens, it’s easy to see why Kygo became the the fastest artist to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify, as he stunned crowds every Sunday with his funky Scandinavian sound. The ‘Firestone’ artist, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the course of the past few years, swept the Ushuaïa crowd with his unique breezy blend of chilled hits at the open-air venue, and proved to possess one of the most popular residencies of the 2017 season, with all ravers issued with an LED wristband upon entry that changed color in unison to the beat.
Always a special venue, Ushuaïa will forever be known as the club that changed the island. A revolutionary haven of eccentric and lavish luxury, the half-decade of stunning events at the beach hotel have not only elevated the venue to a reputation as one of the world’s finest, but also catapulted daytime parties back into mainstream consciousness on the island.
With an appeal, and diversity, catering for every type of Ibiza visitor, stunning views and impeccable sounds cement Ushuaïa’s place as one of the true cornerstones in island history. With focus shifting to the festival season that is still on the roll, heads are focused on purchases to made by festival goers.
A vision of CEO Yann Pissenem, the past 5 years have seen Ushuaïa grow from a beach club to the glittering diamond in the Ibiza crown, with ravers travelling from all across the world to pay a visit to the spectacular venue. Offering a truly unique and open-air experience, you don’t have to wait for next season and can still catch the massive Ushuaïa closing party. Otherwise, we’ll be seeing you on the dance floor next season as this incredible club takes things up a notch once more in 2018… and that is something we can’t wait for!