WORDS: JOHNNY LEE | ILLUSTRATION: ELIOT WYATT
Ibiza is busy. According to Balearic statistics specialist Ibestat, tourist numbers are up 11 per cent from last year. Hotels are doing a roaring trade and Ibiza airport's tally for August hit 1,390,009 passengers – a 6.9 per cent increase on the same month in 2015. White Isle adventures are still a top priority for many when the summer rolls round.
Good news indeed, but the scene on Ibiza's dancefloors has reached a crucial point as a number of sonic, social and cultural trends have converged. Space has closed for good, making way for Hï Ibiza, Pacha is up for sale and the island’s customer base is broadening, meaning there's a VIP EDM party for every on-point, tech-house all nighter. Many have misinterpreted this as an identity crisis, but in reality the island is simply going through an intense period of change, which promises to make this summer one of the most intriguing – and popular – on record.
With all that in mind, here are 10 things to expect from the 2017 season.
1. POOL PARTY POPULARITY WILL INCREASE
The biggest trend of Ibiza 2016 was the generalised shift towards outdoor daytime clubbing, as Ibiza Rocks boss Andy McKay explains: “I feel the island is probably going through shrinkage in the post-midnight clubs area. The entertainment economy continues to shift towards the day, with the pre-midnight Ushuaïa, Ibiza Rocks slot and the pool party afternoons and beach clubs becoming more popular.”
With more outdoor daytime pool party venues on the island than ever before, expect venues like Ushuaïa, Destino, Ibiza Rocks, Hard Rock and Ocean Beach to become even more popular in 2017, as more and more clubbers opt to party alfresco.
2. SILENT NIGHTS IN SAN AN
The continuing decimation of the post-midnight clubbing scene in San Antonio was another significant theme of Ibiza 2016. The gradual decline in popularity of San Antonio’s traditional superclub venues, Eden and Es Paradis, was hastened by the opening of Sankeys and Ushuaïa in Playa d’en Bossa back in 2011. Overnight, clubbers had two far cooler clubbing options to choose from and the two least popular venues on the island suffered most of all. To compensate, Eden and Es Paradis are now restructuring their business models, offering free entry and cut price drinks on selected nights. But will it be enough?
3. MORE CONCEPTUAL FESTIVAL-STYLE EVENTS
The festival scene in Croatia is booming, especially with ravers under the age of 25. In Ibiza, club politics and festivals don’t mix, which puts the island at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to offering festival-styled product packages to its customers. Cue the rise of the conceptual theme party, which incorporates many of the elements that make dance music festivals so appealing. Take elrow at Space, for instance, arguably the biggest success story of Ibiza 2016. The event itself is unique, with multiple stages and different interactive areas and zones to explore. Expect more abstract-style parties to surface in 2017, as Ibiza attempts to condense the magic of a weekend festival into an eight-hour timeslot.
4. THE ASCENSION OF SPIRITUAL IBIZA
Expect parties like WooMoon at Cova Santa and Cosmic Pineapple at Pikes, which incorporate elements of underground music, live music, craft, community and meditation, to become more popular in 2017, as the global physical and spiritual health awakening gathers pace.
“Dance culture has always had a tribal subculture,” Josh Wink explains. “Even when you talk about the primal days of music, there was always an aspect of community involved. Today, people are becoming more conscious of world issues and they want to share in something that is more than just this façade of going out and getting drunk and getting laid. I think a lot of people want to go deeper."
“Parties likes Cosmic Pineapple are bringing back the mystical idea of what Ibiza really is,” adds Carl Craig. “I think it has been lost over the last decade. People are tuning their bodies, but they are gonna have to come back and tune their minds. Cosmic Pineapple is a place where people's spirits and minds can be tuned. It will be interesting to see if the whole Las Vegas thing remains separate from this new movement.”
5. THE RETURN OF THE PROMOTER
“This summer , we’ve seen a power shift away from the venue towards the promoter,” says Ibiza Rocks chief Andy McKay. “The situation is entirely healthy, because it’s the promoter who will reinvent the scene, not the venue. For years, the nightclubs have been going straight to the talent and cutting out the promoter. This year the promoter is back. Speaking as a venue owner now, we are quite rightly losing power. What we have to do is give the power back to creative, inspirational promoters and let them discover the future for us.”
Interestingly, the busiest parties on the island this summer – elrow at Space, Music-On at Amnesia, Glitterbox at Space, Craig David’s TS5 Pool Party at Ibiza Rocks, and WooMoon at Cova Santa – are all promoter-led parties and not in-house events.
Read the rest of Johny's blog at: http://mixmag.net/feature/10-ways-ibiza-will-change-in-2017/