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Does hippy Ibiza actually still exist?

In search of the island's original spirit

  • Words: Johnny Lee | Image: Marc de Groot
  • 12 July 2017

Each summer the doom-mongers come out in force to remind us that Ibiza is nothing more than a commercialised caricature of it’s former self, a slightly offbeat Balearic satellite orbiting ever closer to the black hole of established culture. The age-old hippie mentality that once made the White Isle a safe haven for conscientious objectors and oppressed minorities of every persuasion has lost its soul, they say. Lord save us, might the pessimists be right?

In an age of rampant dance music consumerism, chrome-plated 5-star hotels and 22€ mojitos, it seems fair to ask the question: does hippie Ibiza actually still exist? Sometimes you do wonder. After all, most of the island’s free beach parties have been quashed, David Guetta doesn’t wear his hair long anymore and the general ambience of countercultural artistry and activism that used to hang like a dissident pine fragrance on the Mediterranean breeze has been replaced by the giddy gimcrack hum of mass tourism.

But wait! What if the doom-mongers are nothing more than a crew of crusty old clubbers who couldn’t keep up? And what if, just beneath the superclub surface of the world’s summer party capital, the original hippie vibe that made Ibiza an essential rite of passage for the flower power children of the late ‘60s still exists, regardless of all shock-and-awe strobe lighting and super-hyped VIP fanfare?

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