The future of Ibiza: How the island is changing
As the people of Balearia slouch back, cocktail in hand, overlooking another Mediterranean sunset, such is the relentless nature of the human mind that in even such a moment of internal bliss, faint murmurings can be heard on every Ibizan corner.
“It’s not like it used to be.”
True, the white isle has changed over time, in the same way music, fashion, and pop culture evolve. Yet such is our species dislike of difference, the disrupture of yearly monotony is pierced with the same debate every summer. Once a hippie haven for the free souls of this world, the magical island situated east of mainland Spain still contains traces of the heritage it once was so famed for. The mystical pull of Es Vedra, the world’s most magnetic point. The cobbled streets of Ibiza Town, and hand-crafted silk scarves of locals on craft market stalls.
But down in clubland, times are changing, and not everybody is a fan.
This… is how Ibiza will continue to evolve in 2019…
DEATH OF THE WEST END
Once the cesspool of 18-25’s performing ‘Boozy Brit’ antics until the sunrise, San Antonio’s 300m long strip of decadent debauchery has given way to stricter laws enforced in recent years, quashing the atmosphere of the island’s rowdiest area. With Pablo Valdés, San Antonio’s environmental councillor, passing a law that forced clubs to close by 3am in 2018, and many of the outdoor drinking terraces to perform a Cinderella-esque move of vanishing by midnight, the raunchy behaviour that once stained these streets has seen the West End pale into a ghost-town intimation of its former glory. Search hard enough, and you might well spot the odd stag party spewing against a wall, but the days of intoxicated teens performing lewd sex acts in front of cheering passers by, are officially buried deep in San An’s vodka-fuelled coffin.
URBAN MUSIC GROWTH IN THE LAND OF DANCE
Where house once famously ruled, Ibiza has seen a meteoric rise in R&B, afrobeats, and hip-hop acts in recent years. Inspired by the UKG movement that has seen acts like Stormzy surge to the summit of popularity, Tinie Tempah‘s ‘Disturbing Ibiza’ event was one of Ushuaïa‘s most popular parties in 2018, while over at Ibiza Rocks Hotel, Craig David’s pool-party was rammed to sell-out proportions on a weekly basis. With Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and many of the trance pioneers of the late 90’s moving into more commercial tones in recent years, favouring cash-loaded Las Vegas residencies, the genre that once ruled so supremely on the white isle has slowly crumbled away, with Cream’s iconic Thursday night at Amnesia moving over to glitzy superclub Hi Ibiza, where the likes of Ferry Corsten and Paul van Dyk were replaced by EDM juggernauts such as Oliver Heldens and Steve Angello.
Once a home for huge EDM-leaning acts such as Calvin Harris, Above & Beyond and many more, Amnesia‘s focus in recent year has shifted towards more underground line-ups, with 2018 heralding residencies from ABODE, Elrow, Cocoon, and the bass-packed tones of Together. Marooned in San Rafael like neighbouring rival Privilege, Amnesia faces the daunting task of providing enough of a spark to bring in party goers from the hotspots of San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa on either side of them. After paying Paris Hilton eye-watering amounts for her ‘Foam and Diamonds‘ parties, Amnesia was closed for three of a weekly seven nights last year. Big names are needed to awaken the now sleeping giant’s lethargic slumber.
SURGE IN DAYTIME POPULARITY
A brief glance at Ibiza’s list of most in-demand events of recent years tells us that in 2019, the day-party reigns supreme. With apps like Instagram ruling the social media kingdom, focus has shifted (to the female audience in particular) to how you look, as opposed to what the DJ is playing. With venues like Ocean Beach (now rebranded to ‘O-Beach‘), taking advantage of the hoards of TOWIE wannabes ‘doing it for the ‘Gram’, 2019 will see more orange beakers in hand and sun loungers filled with Boohoo-swimsuits – all with a few hours to spare and sleep off the hangovers before the familiar Marimba alert tells us the time for twilight debauchery has arrived.
REBIRTH OF SAN ANTONIO
Whilst the Southside of the White Isle bustles with the Vegas-esque glitz of 2017’s debutant Hï Ibiza and VIP decadence of sibling venue Ushuaïa, there’s a quiet revolution taking place on the Western front, led by Defected boss, Simon Dunmore. Bringing affordable Friday parties packed with the finest house talent on the globe, the residency (also paired with a weekly Cafe Mambo pre-party) has proved the catalyst for a major rejuvenation in the fortunes of beach-side venue Eden. With Toolroom Records also joining the San An bandwagon in 2019, the epicentre of Balearic-British culture is making a bustling return.
THE RISE OF TECH-HOUSE
If ‘EDM’ proved the melting pot for a dance music revolution at the start of the decade, then tech-house is truly snatching the crown as we approach the roaring twenties. Exploding into the mainstream, led by acts such as Grammy nominees CamelPhat and their Elderbrook whopper ‘Cola’, 2018 continued the trend with the rise of Aussie loose cannon Fisher, who ended up ‘Losing It‘ across several of the world’s biggest stages, including viral set at Coachella. Sensing the shift in momentum, Hï Ibiza have snapped up both acts alongside Mancunian duo Solardo for Tuesday residency ‘Bodyworks’.
Despite faint murmurs of discontent in varying corners, Ibiza is both an island that will always fail to impress all party goers, but also cater for ALL who come to sample the unrivalled atmosphere of the world’s oldest dance music hotspot. Offering the glamorous EDM-filled line-ups usually aimed towards younger, or entry-level music fans, as well as the best in house, drum & bass, and deep dark techno, there’s a reason why Ibiza remains – year-upon-year – on the throne of raving destinations amid competition from long-term rivals such as Miami, Las Vegas, and the new kid on the block, Croatia.
Proving a trailblazer for musical trends and residency patterns all around the globe, Ibiza 2019 will also herald the return of Swedish House Mafia and is already shaping up as the historic island’s most hotly-discussed season to date.