Is this start of something special? The fresh new face to Ushuaïa Ibiza’s party calendar – Dance or Die – opened up on Wednesday 19th June and it was revolutionary. A creation by the pioneering Nic Fanciulli, the ethos to this fiesta is one of pared-back partying where the dedication is to showcasing reigning champions in the scene – big or small. And boy, was the opening boasting a few of them. Carl Cox, Nic Fanciulli and Paco Osuna dominated alongside the respected Acid Mondays and the up and coming Jamie Roy. Island veterans and worldwide stars taking over an illustrious venue was a sight we just had to see.
Doors opened at three in the afternoon and as is always our favourite part of going to the glamorous Ushuaïa Ibiza, the open-air letting us bask in the sunshine, alongside glorious anthems, was a welcome start. Taking lead of an already rife crowd inside the luxe interiors, swathes of people were dancing underneath the palm trees – planes flying overhead and vibes high. British DJ Jamie Roy, who’s played at Sankeys and Ibiza Rocks, was undeniably rocking his biggest gig to date. The party had already begun, an effortless daytime set that delivered soul-filled house – shapeshifting into cool, smooth and sultry sounds – we were hooked. Bringing a touch of the otherworld, duo-act Acid Mondays swept the colosseum-sized dancefloor into a cosmic-tipped journey next. Warping, silky vocals meshed eloquently with rapid-hitting bongos and dance rhythms that rendered it impossible to stand still.
All the while, the towering stage was dressed with rock n’ roll emblems, testament to the anti-establishment energy of a party all about solid music at the forefront. Skulls, lions, guns and flashing neon signs reminiscent of downtown cities begun their flicker into neon dazzlers as the sky overhead came into sunset. Techno-titan Paco Osuna brought through an industrial edge that set a brilliant interlude into the rampant, night-time proceedings. Whirling sounds and kaleidoscopic progressions turned the focus from living it up in sunshine to getting ready for a high-octane rave.
Taking in the sights of the pink sky above us, drink in hand, party-host Nic Fanciulli kicked things off in royal style. His arrival turned the mood up to a fervent celebration. Tempo and hairs on the back our necks high, a fresh, sexy set from the icon spiralled the floor into unified uproar. Yet, nothing prepared any of us for the force that was Carl Cox.
Undeniably overshadowing the main man, lifetime legend and a name that is tattooed into Ibiza’s history, all of what Cox is about came to the stage. Unfazed by the uncharacteristically dazzling venue, he was a delight with a set that was effortlessly slick, intelligent and full of drops we could have bowed down to. Clean electronica throbbed across the gargantuan dancefloor, laid underneath classic Balearic soundscapes. Watching him rock out on his throne, the crowd – us included – felt every bit of his infectious charm. We were jumping as hard as the next man, and the best part? Shouting out those famous words, ‘oh yes! Oh yes!’.
From start to finish the event was a musical masterpiece. Every set was intent on throwing the best it could and the following was hungry, too. And, it’s only just begun, even hotter acts are still to come; our picks: Loco Dice, Guy Gerber, Black Coffee and Cassy. Ushuaïa Ibiza is on fire at the minute and Dance or Die is proving firmly that with line-ups as jaw-dropping as they are, there is only one choice – to dance!