Ibiza - How it all began

Today Ibiza is the worlds favourite party island. We all know about the famous clubs & hedonistic lifestyle (and more about that later), but it is much more than that. There are now numerous festivals, the cocktail bar scene has exploded with London stars such as Charles Vexenat and ECC setting up shop. The coastline off Salinas Beach seems to have more super yachts than Monaco, there are 5* boutique hotels dotted everywhere, and the drinks companies like ours are always entertaining guests there and promoting various brands. The whole island is buzzing!

But how did we get here? It certainly wasn’t always like this. I guess we have to go back to 1936 for the first embryonic seeds to what it was to become. In that year General Franco came to power in the Spanish Civil War. He immediately imposed a very restrictive authoritarian regime. It became an outpost for many Spanish artists, painters, writers and other outcasts escaping the regime.

This haven became a very welcoming culture, and an example of this was when all the hippies arrived in the 60s & early 70s. Thus Ibiza’s reputation as a hippy colony was born. With Franco passing away in 1976 the then package holiday boom really started to explode and Ibiza really benefited. With the arrival of the tourists, large disco nightclubs started to open. Amnesia was the first, followed by Privilige & then Pasha. These clubs were massive and very hedonistic. In the 70s they played disco but in the early 80s they became very fashionable with the New Romantics who would dress in quite outrageous costumes. Young celebrities, popstars, models & the jet-set soon embraced the ‘White Isle’ and this wild decadent party lifestyle. The pop band Wham famously filmed their ‘Club Tropicana’ video at Pikes Hotel in 1983. Ibiza was on the way up! The real catalyst for change and what really made Ibiza was yet to come though….

In the mid 80s House Music had broken out of its Chicago underground scene and the sound was sweeping the world. 

It quickly took over the Ibiza clubs. However the DJs there gave it a different twist. It was more upbeat, sexy, sophisticated and fun. It became known as the Balearic Beat or Ibiza House. In 1986 four young English DJs decided to go there on holiday and check out this new scene. 

They included Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing. They incorporated  this sound into the London/Manchester scene. They called it “Acid House” and it absolutely exploded. Famous nights like Shoom and Spectrum became legendary. Very soon the UK club scene became the epicentre of everything that was happening with House Music. What happened next was just a natural progression. The British love their summer holidays in the Med. Let’s bring this Acid House Scene to Ibiza for the summer. The Club scene in Ibiza then also exploded and the UK & Ibiza were joined at the hip. This continues to this day.

My love affair with the island started in 2000 when I gained employment as the Bar Manager of the AKA Bar in London. AKA was London’s first late night DJ bar. The idea was to match the quality of drinks/service of the best cocktail bars and combine it with great late night entertainment. It gets better… underneath us in the same building was our sister venue and the best dance music club in London – The End! Even better our two principal owners were famous DJs Layo Paskin (Layo & Bushwacka) & Richard West (aka Mr C from The Shamen). They were always off to Ibiza and so I decided to go. Being connected from my workplace, I knew where to go and was guest listed everywhere. I think my two favourite places at the time were The Terrace at Space & the beach bar Bora Bora at Playa D’en Bossa. 

It truly was an incredible time.

What I haven’t mentioned is how beautiful the island is, the rolling hills, long white sandy beaches, the dramatic coast line and hidden coves make this a truly special place.It does feel quite spiritual as well (maybe those hippies were onto something!). It’s not hard to see why so many people love this island. In the last few years everything has gone so much more upmarket and prices have gone up. However for the most part this is a positive. The Club scene is still there but many people complain that the vibe is very different then it was in its heyday. However the island feels like it’s still on the way up, but this time for different reasons. Next summer if you can’t decide where to go to escape the British weather then I suggest Ibiza. 

The Beat Society: Ibiza - How it all began
Ibiza - How it all began
It wasn't always
like this

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