Shrouded in more legendary tales than we can count and an evolution that spans decades, Privilege is the ultimate Ibiza dance hall. Most famously known as the world’s largest nightclub – as affirmed by the Guinness Book of Records – this old airplane hanger boasts an impressive 25m high roof, 6,500m2 space and a fitting industrial aesthetic. Its sheer size entitles it to the category of superclub, yet just one glance at its exteriors and anyone would agree. For this giant, it sits unassuming, outside of the sleepy town of San Rafael, nestled behind a private drive along a busy motorway. Yet through the towering walls, a rich history that influenced Ibiza’s club scene remains forever cemented. We talk you through how this domineering institution came to be and the legendary stories it birthed.
A stone’s throw away from neighbouring party palace Amnesia, Privilege begun life as a humble restaurant in 1970. It soon expanded to include a watering hole and swimming pool for the surrounding community where it was recognised amongst locals as ‘Club San Rafael’. Ordinary yet full of potential, in 1979 the space was sold to a collective who would forever change the destiny of the dining spot. Footballer Jose Antonio Santamaria – player in the Real Sociedad team – joined forces with the creative visionaries of Brasilio de Oliviera – what is now long-time running La Troya – and fellow Basque, Gorri, to take over the deeds. Here it took on a new and slick name of KU, after the mythological Hawaiian God of prosperity and could hold 10,000 people. A name that would bring exactly what it stood for, these two letters are close to many of Ibiza’s old school ravers’ hearts today.
The raucous heads within the team brought a provocative and fully maximised dream alive to the cavernous halls of Privilege. Throughout the 80’s the superclub saw a colourful array of hedonistic, absolutely no-hands-barred parties thrown on where it fast gained the reputation as Europe’s foremost gay and polysexual nightspot. Spectacular fiestas held in the open-air spread like wildfire and fast caught the attention of media. Coverage littered across the likes of Channel 4 who ran a documentary citing the club’s representation of the island, Freddie Mercury filmed ‘Barcelona’ and the club itself commissioned a film. Fully wearing its imagination on its sleeve, Privilege had rocketed to icon status and was compared to the similarly legendary Studio 54. While legislation in the 90s put a stop to the roof-less mayhem, little did anyone know it’d be the start of a whole new era of debauchery.
The club is now comprised of its large main room and smaller side room, the Vista club, though pre-noughties, the intimate club room was La Vaca and the outdoor area, Coco Loco bar. In 1994, British couple Dawn and Andy started the institute’s most famous party Manumission that meant a ‘release from slavery’. A sleazy affair where the spectacular and outlandish came together, the fiesta is better known for its eye-popping entertainment and littering of famous faces. A place to see-and-be-seen, all of the prominent names in showbiz were there from Madonna and Boy George to Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier. The towering stage hosted the likes of Grace Jones, Duran Duran and James Brown who all played their part in what was a spirit-awakening time. In 1995 KU underwent one final name swap, landing on its title today of Privilege. And, for a decade the extravaganza of Manumission continued until a dispute in 2005 between the club and organisers led to its demise in 2006.
Meanwhile, secondary club-night La Vaca Asesina – aka La Troya – were throwing down their own carnival-style affair. In 1998 its name changed to La Troya and its location to Amnesia before a move to former Space in 2006. Since the whirlwind of the 90s, Privilege has shed its radical aura. Today, it continues to set the circuit ablaze with award-winning parties of a more mainstream sort. Challenging us to lose our inhibitions still, this establishment will remain as every party lover’s dream for its sheer scale in both entertainment and size.