And then, quite abruptly, the fun stops. In 1990, local sound restrictions force Ibiza’s outdoor venues to literally put a lid on it. The astronomic cost of covering a coliseum as vast as Ku is further increased when a large section of the roof collapses during the first phase of construction. Then, on January 19, 1993, owner José Antonio Santamaría is assassinated by the Basque separatist group ETA.
By the summer of 1994, KU is no longer the principal party hub on the island. A wholesale rebrand from KU to Privilege only enhances the identity crisis. Fortunately for new owner Jose Maria Echaniz, dance music is booming. All he requires is a flagship party to get his gargantuan superclub back on the map. Cue the arrival of Manumission, the brainchild of English promoters Claire and Andy McKay. “95 was the first year Manumission ran every week,” says DJ Griff, Manumission’s first resident DJ. “At the time, Privilege was Manumission and Manumission was Privilege. People didn’t really differentiate between the two. In hindsight, we did everything we shouldn’t. Posters with no DJ names listed, asking massive DJ headliners like Fatboy Slim to play in the toilets. Yet many of the outlandish party concepts we invented at Privilege are still being used in Ibiza today.”
Hedonistic, artistic and conceptually immersive, Manumission at Privilege runs for 13 full seasons until 2008, conjuring up the same wild vibe that made KU so successful in the 80s. “Sales were insane even in the final year,” DJ Griff continues. “There was more competition on the island, but we were still doing as well as ever. In that aspect, it was crazy that the party finished.”