The first iteration of the IMS in 2008 had, as its highlight, a historic meeting when the club owners all sat around the summit table with representatives of the island government for the first time. It was a lively meeting with little quarter given by either side of the perceived divide between the powers that be and the powerful clubs.
Two years on and the new political administration has got used to the exercise of power. The clubs and the government now talk to each other…
This second summit meeting might have been a re-match, but the government wasn’t represented. Neither were Amnesia, nor the combative Coco Loco or Andy McKay of Ibiza Rocks, whose comments inspired raucous applause as he set up a third front to the discussion – ‘live rock ‘n roll’.
Nonetheless, despite the absence of these two admirable adversaries, the club combine addressed both issues by confirming that all were now including live acts as part of their programmes, and that relations with the government had softened somewhat in the interim.
The subject of the clubs vs. government has a long history and those members who might best be described as ‘long in the tooth’ clearly still have an axe to grind for days gone by. Pepe Rossello of Space was the worst hit by the ‘after party’ ban as Space has been globally famous for its daytime terrace parties for several decades. His point was that many unlicensed and uncontrolled venues now operate in Space’s daytime absence. He didn’t mention villa parties, but he did recite an ancient text by an earlier visitor to the island – Plato 400 years before the birth of Christ.
The text pointed out that the island was magical, its people were magical and the way that they expressed it was through music. In other words, the island has always been a place that revolves around music. Every ancient fiesta or ceremony of any sort featured music and dance, even back then. The club owners of the last half a century simply recognized and facilitated that island characteristic – then the rest of the world noticed what was going on and the rest is part of the history of modern music…
On the subject of reminiscing, Hugo Urgell of Pachá bemoaned the gradual erosion of the freedom that has made Ibiza so unique and attractive since the beatnik days. His eyes glazed over as he recalled the days before the clubs had roofs when every night out was a fancy dress party with no end in sight.
Paquita Cardona of Eden reminded us that her entire family were born and have lived in San Antonio all of their lives. Her grandmother remembers the way that everybody worshipped the first tourists when they arrived seventy years ago, because they brought money to the island and all sorts of things that the people of Ibiza had never seen before.
The people of Ibiza would do anything within their power to keep these valuable visitors happy and to encourage them to return. Their descendants, however, seem to have lost that enthusiasm for their summer visitors, and indeed their numbers are now declining. Meanwhile the island government has been persecuting the clubs, who are one of the main reasons so many youngsters first find Ibiza, then to return many more times later in life.
That attitude now appears to be softening with projects like the Ibiza Music Cluster being actively encouraged and promoted by the authorities but, as Pepe Rossello pointed out, the government needs to stand up for itself and grasp control of its promotional budget from Mallorca. He cited a recent World Travel Market dominated by Mallorca on behalf of the Balearic archipelago at which the huge nightclubs of Ibiza were never even mentioned, never mind acknowledged as one of the major wonders of the musical world…