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No promotion: Underground is back for another season as Ibiza's best-kept secret

Underground exists away from Ibiza's megaclub circuit – and that's what makes it special

  • Johnny Lee
  • 30 May 2017

Sandwiched in between two of Ibiza’s largest superclub venues, Privilege and Amnesia, Ibiza Underground is like David surrounded by a world of towering clubland Goliaths. Factor Pacha into the equation, the global clubbing giant located approximately a mile or so to the east, as well as Ushuaïa and Hï, situated in the nearby clubbing Mecca of Playa d’en Bossa, and you begin to wonder how Ibiza Underground, a 600-capacity renovated finca that doesn’t advertise its parties, has managed to survive at all in such an increasingly competitive industry.

The answer comes in the form of Spanish venue owner Don Juanito. Juanito has been visiting the island since 1982. He worked for nightclubs in Switzerland and Miami, before hosting a full summer of weekly parties at Privilege back in 1994, headlined by Danny Rampling.

“The owner of Privilege, Jose Antonio Santamaria, asked me to do a party there,” Juanito explains to Mixmag an hour before the 2017 Ibiza Underground opening party gets underway. “We did one year and it went okay. The trouble was that the venue was just too big. To promote something with quality was very hard. You needed major money.”

By the turn of the millennium, Juanito admits to feeling “a little bored” by the rampant commercialism of the scene. Together with his brother Jesus and Englishman Nick Fry, he came across a restaurant in San Rafael which he thought could be better utilised as a nightclub. At the time the site was being used, rather unsuccessfully, to stage local music events. Prior to that, in the mid-1980s, controversial movie director Roman Polanski ran a restaurant there, again without a great deal of success.

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