Archive for the ‘formentera’ Category

Details of the Fiesta del Pilar de la Mola, Formentera

September 30th, 2009
THURSDAY, 1ST OCTOBER 8 p.m.: Cinema night at Bar Can Toni
FRIDAY, 2ND OCTOBER 9 p.m.: Pool, table football and card game tournament at the Acapulco Bar
11 p.m.: Mojito competition
SATURDAY, 3RD OCTOBER 8 p.m.: Music with the Vinodelfin band
9 p.m.: Traditional songs
SUNDAY, 4TH OCTOBER 4 p.m.: Art and crafts fair
5:30 p.m.: Folk dancing with sangría and doughnuts
THURSDAY, 8TH OCTOBER 8 p.m.: Cinema night at Bar Can Toni
SATURDAY, 10TH OCTOBER 10 a.m.: Clown workshop
8 p.m.: Music with the Litus band
11 p.m.: Electronic music night
8 p.m.: Big barbecue
8:30 p.m.: Live music with the Blues Mafia i ses Saligardos band
10 p.m.: Performance by Toni Roland and his band
Midnight: Fireworks display
00:15 a.m.: The party continues
SUNDAY, 18TH OCTOBER 10 a.m.: Trial bike tournament
11 a.m.: Mountain bike tournament
SUNDAY, 11TH OCTOBER 10:30 a.m.: “XVI Volta a Formentera”. Sailing
regatta starting from La Sabina harbour.
11 a.m.: Exhibition of model aeroplanes at “Sa Punta de Sa Xindri”
11:30 a.m.: Excursion with traditional boats and small sailing boats. Starting point is La Sabina harbour.
Midday: Oktoberfest at the Mola sports ground with traditional German sausages and beer.
3 p.m.: Exhibition of pictures painted by children
3:30 p.m.: Exhibition of old photographs
4 p.m.: Art and crafts fair
5 p.m.: Children’s festival
6 p.m.: Clown performance
8 p.m.: Live music with the Proyecte Mut band
9 p.m.: Orchestral music
MONDAY, 12TH OCTOBER 11 a.m.: Mini marathon
Midday: Mass following by a procession
1 p.m.: Folk dancing
6:30 p.m.: Traditional music


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The Wailers live on Formentera last night

July 18th, 2009

The Wailers played a free gig on Formentera last night, Ibiza’s little sister island – there have been very few gigs I’ve been to where the atmosphere was better. Half of Ibiza seemed to have got the ferry across – we ran into loads of friends at various points during the night. A fantastic gig.

Leaving Ibiza town on the ferry
Approaching Formentera.

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The Wailers live on Formentera tonight

July 17th, 2009

31 years after Bob Marley and the Wailers played in Ibiza town, The Wailers are playing a free gig on Formentera tonight. We’re getting the ferry across this afternoon and can’t wait.
bob marley, ibiza

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The redrawing of Ibiza and Formentera’s coastline

February 2nd, 2009

ibizaBuilt too close to the sea

For the first time since 1969, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment is quietly redrawing the coastline, including that of Ibiza and Formentera

Imagine the following situation: years ago, you built a house near the sea on Ibiza or Formentera – legally, of course, and with the necessary planning permission. And now, the Madrid authorities get in touch to inform you that “Your house is located on the coastline and therefore not legal any more!” You face either having your property torn down or forcibly repossessed at any given time. “That’s impossible,” you’re probably thinking – but you’re wrong. Because in 2004, the Ministry of the Environment in Madrid referred back to a law from 1988 known as the coastal law, or Ley de Costas.

The law was designed to protect coastal areas from rampant over-construction and at the same time make every inch of beach easily accessible to the general public. However, the first sections of the coast to which this law has been applied, which includes Formentera, have been inaccurately measured. Now, Madrid is threatening homeowners with eviction, transforming them into concessionaires in their own homes. Those owners are now grouping together to oppose the law.

Built back in 1982 after planning permission was granted: now, according to a law from 1988, the Real Playa restaurant on Migjorn beach is set to become state property. Maria Jose Mayans has been battling for years to save her family’s livelihood

When you ask Nordhild Kohler whether she still feels like the owner of her house, Casa Sargantana, on Formentera’s romantically unspoilt Migjorn beach, she pauses for a moment. Although the question appears to be a simple one, she finds it difficult to answer. “Yes, of course, but according to the law, I’m no longer the owner.” And she’s probably right.

You can read the full article about the redrawing of Ibiza and Formentera’s coastline here: Built too close to the Sea

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Republicans flee Ibiza – History

January 15th, 2009

formentera concentration campWe’ve started putting up Emily Kaufman’s brilliantly written articles about the history of Ibiza. This one details what happened towards the end of the Spanish war and the remarkable fact that we doubt many people know that Formentera had a concentration camp..

From 1939 to 1942, Formentera was also used by National authorities as a concentration camp for political dissidents from mainland Spain, usually until the time of the prisoners’ execution. Thus, in every possible way, the Formenterencs were made painfully aware of the new political order and its implacability.

While political refugees escaped from Ibiza and Formentera throughout the entire wartime period, the largest exodus occurred between 13th and 20th September 1936, the week that Republican rule was fizzling out and National occupation was known to be imminent. At this stage, many Ibicencos sought shelter in Minorca, which remained Republican territory until February 1939, only two months prior to the close of the war.

You can read the full article about Ibiza and Formentera and the end of the Spanish Civil war here.

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La Savina, Formentera

January 2nd, 2009

la savina, formenteraLa Savina is the port of Formentera and is every visitor’s first point of contact with the island of Formentera. It’s also Formentera’s marina, which is generally packed with huge yachts throughout the summer.

For those of us not fortunate enough to possess a yacht and wise enough not to have brought their own car – this is where you hire your transport for the duration.

To this end one’s first impression used to be that this must be the place where the world’s mopeds were manufactured, as they stretched as far as the eye could see. In fact, so much so that the authorities have now clamped down on the rental companies to hide them away from view.

On a more picturesque note, La Savina is also home to the hippy market, which is open every day throughout the summer season.

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El Pilar de La Mola, Formentera

December 21st, 2008

El Pilar de La Mola on Formentera is the easternmost town of the island high on the plateau that ends in the towering cliffs below the majestic lighthouse. The whole area of La Mola is like a separate island suspended in the air and has a different atmosphere to the rest of the island.

The view over the rest of the island along the slim green leg that joins La Mola to the rest with Ibiza in the distance has to be one of the finest to be found in the whole of the Mediterranean.

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Ibiza’s rock ‘n’ roll history

October 16th, 2008

The year is 1970. A bare-footed Joni Mitchell is ‘looking for the key to set her free’. Fleeing her lover, she packs up her guitar case and tip-toes the beaten path down through the French grape-vines, battling across the border to Spain and onwards to Barcelona before finally carving a path across the sea and coming home to Atlantis. Dipping her toes in the azure-water, she breathes in the Ibicenco air and breathes out her soul-defining record ‘Blue’. Her lover, Graham Nash, will hear her farewell letter when the album is released a year later in 1971. Postcards from the edge will never be the same again.

Nico (Christa Päffgen)

Eighteen years later and The Velvet Underground’s poet and muse is holidaying on the same shoreline. Having successfully achieved the impossible by curbing her 15-year heroin addiction, the strikingly strong-boned woman, once a blonde nymph, heads out on her bicycle to take in the scenery.

As she breathes in the citrus aromas from the orange-groves she suffers a minor heart-attack and hits her head as she falls, dying instantly. Her name was Nico (an incarnation orchestrated by the island itself when photographer Herbert Tobias re-named her on a modelling assignment in Ibiza when she was just 15 years of age).

The island ripples are still felt today, remembered recently in London where producer John Cale curated a tribute to her life and work at the South Bank Centre on 11 October, 2008: twenty years since her untimely death.

Two fables. One island. What transpires in between these two dates is nothing short of a magical musical epiphany.

syd barret in formentera
Syd Barret from Pink Floyd at a Formentera bar

It may well be 30 years since the hippie-confetti petals settled on Ibiza’s shore, but swathes of mythic stories, spread like so many Chinese-whispers (like the two above) still shape-shift across the Balearic isle like a salt-spiked fog. The rhythms of the Mediterranean sea are reluctant to reveal their dormant secrets, but Ibiza still has a twinkle in its eye… and well it might.

Before Manumission’s Ibiza Rocks plectrum was but a sparkle in the music industry’s indie-eye, the first rock ‘n’ roll settlers were hopping off the boat from Barcelona in 1960, called to arms by American painter Bernard. Many were escaping the McCarthy regime – exiles from the land of the free to the island of the running-free. For the throngs of Vietnam-draft-dodging hippies, this gypsy island was an essential stop on The Big Trip (the final destination being the eastern mysticism of India.) Stopping briefly in Ibiza, many failed to leave.

In the years that followed, leading myth-makers from the darkest depths of primal rock ‘n’ roll sailed into Ibiza’s port to soak in the makeshift-Mecca for themselves: Pink Floyd recorded an album, Mike Oldfield propped up the bar at Es Canar alongside Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell wrote at least one track from seminal record ‘Blue’, Bob Dylan hid in a windmill, King Crimson dedicated a song to sister-island Formentera, Eric Clapton and Bob Marley played to their adoring fans. These shape-shifters weren’t just escaping the onslaught of a Cold War reality – they were embracing the arrival of a free-spirited ideal. In 1960s Ibiza the fantasy became reality.

syd barrett hank wangford roger waters
l-r: Syd Barrett, Hank Wangford, Roger Waters at Hanks house on Formentera (courtesy of

Aptly, Ibicencos themselves divide their history into two epoch-defining periods: ‘antes’ (meaning before hippy invasion) and ‘ahora’ (meaning now). Sure enough, in the 1950s after their genuine isolation since the Spanish Civil War, travellers were positively welcomed onto this ancient, polyglot pirate island. Staying true to these island roots, the rock ‘n’ roll pirates were more than happy to oblige…

Though many of the facts surrounding this time fall into the category of widespread myth and hearsay, it is widely documented that the first open air bonfire parties on the island were organised by French hippy-entrepreneur, Anant. With merely a single sound system and a humble tent from Morocco, the objective was modest: communal partying that forty years later revolutionary defines Ibiza, here and now. In so far as the legend of Anant goes, however, the trails stops dead there.

Perhaps he left when the island’s cult 1960s bar Anita’s was shifted off the island… perhaps he remained. Perhaps he still resides in his Moroccan tent off the coast of Es Canar, burning incense and watching the tides turn. You see, Anant is just one in a sea of many curious mysteries that surround the hippie invasion on the island, ebbing and flowing.

frank zappa and grace jones at cafe del mar
Frank Zappa and Grace Jones at Cafe del Mar

Speaking of her time spent in Ibiza during this time, New Zealand author Janet Frame summed up the ethos of a generation when she wrote she, ‘felt at peace within my own mind, as if I were on an unearthly shore.’
Her musical peers swiftly came round to her way of thinking, seeking refuge on the island in their droves, whether it be for the all-consuming appetite to make music, or at its most basic: to lap up the simple pleasures in life.

For Frank Zappa, Mike Oldfield and Jon Andersson (lead singer of prog-rock band Yes), it was unanimously the latter, as they leisurely propped up the bar at Cafe Del Mar in 1978.

For others, the island was a perfect stage. Mirroring the series of gigs that take place every summer now at Manumission’s Ibiza Rocks Hotel, the first rock pilgrims who strummed out their masterful melodies were none other than freedom fighter Bob Marley and guitar god Eric Clapton, both gracing the Bull Ring in 1977-78.

bob marley

Scratchy footage can still be gleamed today: a sleepy Marley can be seen lazing on the weathered steps of the ancient arena, taking time out during sound check to answer the Spanish media’s queries on Rastafari God-incarnate Haile Selassie, the king of kings.

Asked if he could ever deem Selassie a dictator, the spiritual troubadour is quick to fire back: “What does he dictate?” Later that day he will break down into classic hit ‘Is This Love’ to throngs of his pogo-ing white-European fans, many of them blissfully unaware of Marley’s Ethiopian regent and the power he exerted on the reggae star’s music.

A year before the same venue played host to South London blues rocker Eric Clapton, sparking an NME review which – at the time – elevated the island of Ibiza to mythical status. In his summation (which could just as easily have been written in 2008 as in 1978), Mick Farren wrote ‘Ibiza is a very long way from the high-pressure world of first division rock ‘n’ roll. From the ancient Spanish women shrouded in all-concealing black dresses to the jet-set girls in minimal bikinis and hand-tooled cowboy boots, everyone moves at a leisurely Mediterranean pace.’

Ibiza’s sister island Formentera wasn’t known as the ‘stepping stone of the gods’ for nothing, and it soon attracted the sparkling attentions of a sprinkling of notable artists. If Formentera is an allegory for the wild, unkempt and untamed rhythms of mother earth, then Bob Dylan was its most soul fitting resident-in-waiting. And so it came to be that rock ‘n’ roll’s most infamous myth-maker made his pirate island of Formentera the greatest myth of them all.

Legend still whispers that Dylan took over a 200-year-old windmill in the small town of El Pilar in the 1960s and inhabited it for some time. Or so the story goes. You won’t find any photographs but, what you will find (if you look hard enough), is a depiction of the very same windmill on Pink Floyd’s 1969 ‘Soundtrack From The Film More’.

pink floyd - more
The cover art of “More”

The haunting structure imposes itself against a burnt orange Ibicenco sunset, the backdrop to their first work sans psychedelic sorcerer Syd Barrett, who was ousted in ’68. Rumour has it the band even built a studio in Formentera with the sole purpose of recording the accompanying album (and name-sake track ‘Ibiza Bar’) to Barbet Schroeder’s 1969 film about strung-out hippies that was partly filmed on the island.

Prog rockers King Crimson swiftly followed suit in 1969 when they released the track ‘Formentera Lady’ on their 1971 concept album ‘Islands’. In it, the verse bursts to life with the lyrics: ‘Houses iced in whitewash guard a pale shoreline/cornered by the cactus and the pine/here I wander where sweet sage and strange herbs grow/down a sun-baked crumpled stony road.’

mike oldfield - voyagerAlthough the song has dimmed into obscurity over the years, a small memento of Formentera’s past-life remains in the form of world-renowned guitar repair workshop ‘Formentera Guitars’, which can still be found in the town of Sant Ferran De Ses Roques. The records of Pink Floyd and King Crimson (whose guitars were regularly serviced here) are all that remain.

Yet in Ibiza, the past is never lost. Just last summer I walked down those self-same ‘sun-baked crumpled stony roads’, breathing the scent of the pine trees. If King Crimson themselves had emerged from the shimmering summer air to strike a few chords, I wouldn’t have been surprised. This is part of the secret lure of Ibiza; that despite the overwhelming influence of electronic music and club culture there lies in its magical heart something for every music lover.

From Mike Oldfield, whose Voyager album cover features Es Vedra, to Joni Mitchell to David Bowie – who’s Life On Mars name-checks the island – Ibiza is a rich source of inspiration to musicians of every persuasion. Long may it remain so.

By Kat Lister

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Rick Wright R.I.P.

September 15th, 2008
Arguably my favourite band of all time and Dark Side Of The Moon was the first album I heard and then owned…

I was lucky to see Pink Floyd live around 20 times since I saw the last gig of The Wall tour at Earls Court in 1981 – that gig ended up being the last gig they all played together until Live 8.

In 1968 the group visited Formentera for 3 weeks whilst producing the soundtrack to the film “More”, the cover of which is an image of a windmill on Formentera. Recently EMI released a compilation featuring a photo of the band at Ibiza’s Crossiant show as the cover artwork.

28th July 1943 – 15th September 2008
rick wright

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Tomorrow comes…

September 11th, 2008

salinasOne of the most popular words in the Spanish language is ‘manaña’ – meaning tomorrow. It’s generally used in conjunction with work that has to be done and normally refers to Spanish people, but this year it has been hopefully applied to foreigners – and specifically tourists.

The Spanish themselves are not prone to panic, but when May, June and then July proved to be quiet months many of the foreigners running businesses on Ibiza began to lose their cool and depress the few tourists who did darken their doorways with tales of despair and despondency.

Spanish business owners on the other hand, with the benefit of decades of profitable summers under their belts and in the bank, said “make the most of the peace and quiet, they’ll all come at the same time – in August!”

salinasTrue enough as it turned out – almost overnight vast expanses of sand turned into vast expanses of sunburned flesh. Despite this many of the foreign business owners continued to moan, claiming that the majority of the tourists were Italian and weren’t interested in their Full English Breakfast offering, or even 2 pints for the price of one!

No complaints, however, were heard from the ever-growing band of Italian business proprietors. It appears that Ibiza is becoming an overflow facility for Formentera, which is widely acknowledged as being temporarily annexed to Italy for the month of August.

Those who live in Formentera have long been aware of this fact and most nowadays have sufficient grasp of Italian to relieve their boisterous visitors of their euros with a smile. They also know from experience that as soon as August ends the other nationalities will return until the end of the season.

The other particularly numerous visitors to Ibiza in August are the flamingos of Salinas, however, they are completely ignored in the official figures as they don’t carry money.

Yet another thing for local business owners to moan about…

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