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History of dance music in Ibiza
History of dance music in Ibiza

Ibiza has been a magnet for clubbers and partygoers for many years. With so many styles & genres, it’s easy forget about the history born in the clubs and on the beaches of the island. So how did it begin?

From the 1930’s through to the 1960’s, when the hippies arrived, artists, musicians, writers and painters were visiting, working or living on the island.

After the Spanish Civil War the 1960s ‘flower power’ movement (still celebrated at Pacha) brought hippies from across Europe to the Balearic Islands, attracted by its laid back vibe, natural beauty 300 days a year of sunshine.

The 70s saw the real arrival of tourists, which continues today. It also saw the birth of discos, which evolved regularly up to the present day. Rave made it big in the 80s, Balearic house music in the 90s, and now everything from the re emergence of Disco to Techno to Underground cater for all.

Amnesia and Pacha were the first clubs to open in the 1970’s, Followed by the Ku Club (now Privilege), Space, Es Paradis, Eden & DC10.

Amnesia was the first club in Ibiza, created from an 18th century country house (finca) which organically over the years grew into a super club. The Planells family sold it in the early 70’s, after five generations of ownership. The new owner leased it to Antonio Escohotado to become a ‘discotheque”. To forget your troubles, you would go to Amnesia.

The main DJ was Alfredo Fiorito & the “second summer of love” in 1988 when Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling & friends went to visit Trevor Fung who “showed them around”, became legendary. The guys took ecstasy, took in Alfredo’s music, & took the sound back to London, launching their own nights & ultimately a whole new culture in a Britain which altered laws as well as minds…..

The original Pacha opened in Sitges on mainland Spain in 1967. In 1973, coinciding with the hippy movement, Pacha arrived in Ibiza, built to resemble a farmhouse, which over the years grew in size significantly. Pacha was started by the Urgell brothers, Ricardo and Piti, who was also the first Resident DJ.

Pacha Nightclub Ibiza
Dancers at Pacha Nightclub Ibiza

Pacha is synonymous with its cherry logo, music compilations & worldwide clubs & touring events The Pacha organisation was bought in late 2017 & was redesigned for 2018 with a modern look helped by architect Julli Capella.

Es Paradis opened in San Antonio 1975. The spectacular creation of Pepe Aguirre drew people to the then sleepy fishing village. Initially open air, it had to be covered in the same way as its peers when legislation on noise changed, so the iconic pyramid roof was created.

Dancers at Es Paradis Nightclub Ibiza

Es Paradis have hosted their share of hip parties but in recent years has struggled to draw the right promotors or events, which is reflected in poor attendances . Modern-day Es Paradis is popular with youngsters based in San An but fails to draw crowds from further afield.

The history of Privilege began in the early 1970s when it started out as a restaurant, then expanded to include a bar and a community swimming pool. It was then known as Club San Rafael.
In 1979, the venue was sold to the Real Sociedad footballer José Antonio Santamaría, together with the creative team of Brasilio de Oliviera (founder of La Troya Asesina, one of the White Island’s longest running nights and Gorri. The venue then changed its name to KU, after the name of a god from Hawaiian mythology.

The appeal of the club was such that it commissioned a medium-length film showcasing the many wonders of Ibizan landscapes and nightlife in the mid-eighties. Throughout the 1980´s, KU Club earned a reputation initially as Europe’s premier polysexual but predominately gay nightspot and was compared to an open-air version of the famous Studio 54 in New York. It staged spectacular parties in the main room, which was organized around a swimming pool and a statue of Ku.

Tiesto at Privilege Nightclub Ibiza
Tiesto performing at Privilege Nightclub Ibiza

The place was also where the video to “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé was filmed on 30 May 1987.[8] It showcased early live performances by groups like Spandau Ballet and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. The club featured in a Channel 4 documentary called “A Short Film about chilling”, which labelled KU as “the mirror of Ibiza”.

The open-air parties came to an end when legislation forced many of the greater clubs in Ibiza to cover their dancefloors in the early 1990s. Nevertheless, the sheer size of the venue gave rise to the claim of it being the size of an aircraft hangar with a 25-meter high roof.

The club continued with the KU Club name until 1995 before becoming known as Privilege, after a change of ownership to Jose Maria Etxaniz. In 1994 it hosted Manumission, one of the island’s most famous events, known for its lavish production & outrageous live performances. In 1998 La Vaca Asesina moved to Amnesia and was renamed La Troya Asesina. After a dispute between the club owner and Manumission’s organizers in 2005 the event ended in 2006. In 2006 La Troya Aseina moved to Space. According to official statistics published in the 2003 edition of Guinness World Records Privilege is by far the Worlds largest nightclub covering an area of 69,968 sq ft (6,500 m2) and holding 10,000 clubbers,

Designated areas of the club include the Coco Loco bar area, and the La Vaca dance area (now known as the Vista Club). Iconic live performances at the venue have included: Adamski, Divine, Duran Duran, 808 State, Freddie Mercury, Gloria Gaynor, Grace Jones, James Brown, José Feliciano, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Spandau Ballet, Sylvester.

Space (now Hi Ibïza) first opened in early summer, 1986. The opening party featured the opening of the water park Aguamar located behind the club, party-goers were invited to take advantage of the waterslides at night. Space in its current form began in 1989 when Pepe Rosello, an Ibiza nightclub owner since 1963, took over the lease, which in the 3 years since it was built had housed a conference hall with a discothèque.

Carl Cox at Space nightclub Ibiza
Carl Cox at Space nightclub Ibiza

The opening policy agreed with Spanish licensing laws, which state that an establishment must close for at least two hours a day. The first DJs to shape the venue into its current shape were Alex P and Brandon Block — two British club DJs/Producers and residents of Sunday’s at Space — Space’s outdoor terrace, where airliners roared into the airport overhead.

This open terrace and the roaring sound of the airliners breaking through the booming dance music had become one of the club’s defining features. Since Amnesia and Privilege had to encase their open-air dance-floors due to noise complaints from their neighbours, Space remained one of the few venues where club-goers can have this experience, and the crowd’s greeting of the arriving aircraft had also become a ritual among the club’s patrons.

Carl Cox was heavily involved with the club for nearly 15 years, thanks to his “Music is Revolution” night. [When Pepe Rosellos lease expired, Cox decided to move on, playing a still talked about nine-hour final set in September 2016. The club reopened in 2017 after a huge refit, but rumours persist that Pepe Rosello & Carl Cox will build a “new Space”, maybe in San Antonio… this Space…….

Eden was originally Star Club / Kaoos in the 1980’s, Then refurbished & rebranded in 1999, based in the heart of San Antonio Bay. The club was completely remodelled and refurbished in 2013, and boasts a main room, a second room called NeXt with independent access and a powerful and exclusive sound system to Ibiza: Incubus Gold by Void, a state-of-the-art piece of sound engineering; the dream of any promoter, music lover and DJ. Great capacity with two DJ booths, several bars, main dance floor, different levels and two VIP areas.

Wonderland at Eden Nightclub Ibiza
Wonderland at Eden Nightclub

After a good few years in the doldrums, with changes of ownership and management hampering continuity, the club is having a renaissance, with the Thursday night Shine & Friday night Defected parties & the highlight for 2019 so far.

DC10 is another club which started life as a converted finca off the end of the airport runway on the south-east side of the island. Located in a former airplane hangar, the covered terrace nightclub holds 1,500 party people. It has had more legal battles than most but always bounces back.

The infamous Circoloco parties first started in July 1999. Initially the party began at 6 am, as Space’s 24-hour Sunday session ended. Italian promoters ran the party, & as its reputation grew quickly artists such as Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, Steve Lawler and Pete Tong were offering to play the club for free.

By the 2002 season, the club was featured in the international dance music press. The club’s built alongside the resurgence of the minimal techno genre, with many of the club’s residents at the forefront of this, including Tania Vulcano, Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Cirillo, Loco Dice, Jose De Divina and later, the Romanian trio Arpiar, Zip, Matthias Tanzmann. Jamie Jones, Clive Henry, Dan Ghenacia, Sossa, Damian Lazarus, Andrew Grant & System Of Survival also got involved.

The club also attracted high-profile regular guests such as Richie Hawtin, Josh Wink, Magda and Dinky. It was arguably the home of European minimal techno that became dominant in the second half of the decade.

The club’s pushed against being the same as the established group of Ibiza “superclubs”, such as Space, Amnesia, Privilege Ibiza, and Pacha. The underground spirit of Circoloco meant that it did not mimic the huge, polished, purpose-built corporate VIP style of the larger clubs, and in terms of music and atmosphere it was far closer to the warehouse and open-air raves of acid house. Originally with a completely uncovered terrace (until it was covered completed in 2006), with planes flying low over the club (its location was barely a kilometre from the end of the airport runway), clubbers would go crazy greeting the new arrivals overhead. Luciano began his residency at DC10 in 2006.

After legal difficulties in 2007, in October 2008 the venue was shut down by the Spanish authorities after previous closures and court battles with the government. This was due mainly to the venue only having a license for 65 people (which it always exceeded). The 2008 season closing party was held at Privilege nightclub after the surprise closure, due to many tourists having pre-booked flights and accommodation in anticipation of the final party.

In 2009, Spanish authorities levied a 300,000 euro fine and another year’s closure upon the club. In September 2009, rumors about the reopening of the club were confirmed by owner Andrea who announced that the club would reopen on Tuesday, 6 October for Circoloco, the day the previous ban expired.

Against expectations, the club reopened in 2010 for the season on 31 May, with parties continuing every Monday (Circoloco) and Friday (Pandemonium) until closing on 4 October, reopening doors on New Years Eve 2011. New resident DJs for Circoloco included Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler and there were special performances by the likes of Tony Humphries.
Paradise has been organized by Jamie Jones since 2012.

Popular demand for Paradise forced DC10 to open a second room for the crowd for the 2014 season, resulting in peak crowd attendance. Paradise DJ’s include Richy Ahmed, Infinity Ink, wAFF & Patrick Topping.

In 2011, after collaboration of Abel Matutes and Yann Pissenem, the Ushuaia complex was born.
A daytime club based around the pool at the original venue hosts parties most days.

Ants Party at Ushuaïa Beach Club ibiza
Ant’s event at Ushuaïa Ibiza

The brand consists of 2 hotels:
The Ushuaïa Club opened in 2011, the second The Ushuaïa Tower opened the year after in 2012. Both hotels are situated in Plaja den Bossa and have 415 rooms between them.
Ushuaïa is ranked one of the worlds best clubs by DJ Magazine, where it has enjoyed a top ten standing since 2015. The club has a capacity of 4000 people, and is one of the biggest clubs in Ibiza. One feature of the hotel is that some of the rooms have their balcony directly overlook the club’s dance floor. The club has been host to many world class DJ residencies, including David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Axwell, Ingrosso & Steve Angello of the Swedish House Mafia, martin Garrix, Oliver Heldens and many others.

The New kid on the block, Hï Ibiza, is hosed in the shell of the old Space building. Since opening its doors for the very first time in 2017, the multi-award-winning Hï Ibiza has played host to many of the biggest names on the electronic music scene, with a serious wow factor.

Welcoming thousands of party revellers from all around the world each night throughout the season, Hï Ibiza has fast become one of the most sought-after tickets on the island. With world-class residents, state-of-the-art design and sound and a commitment to putting the clubber at the centre of the experience, its an assault on your senses. Expect the amazing Glitterbox to continue its domination on Sundays, Armin van Buuren & David Guetta also have announced residencies this summer.