It’s been an intense few months, hasn’t it? In the deepest, darkest depths of April, coronavirus has the world slowly grinding to a halt, all possibility of raving in Ibiza this summer seemed to have vanished.
Spain experienced one of the most severe lockdowns in the world. But since then it has seen one of the most rapid re-openings. Many shops are now open. Hairdressers too. Likewise, most bars, albeit at 30 percent capacity.
And on July 1, the Balearic islands is set to reopen its borders to international tourism, with Ryanair, Jet2 and EasyJet once again gearing up to accommodate British clubbers who have being grounded for up to four months.
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But what will ravers find when they eventually land in a post-coronavirus Ibiza landscape? Will the island's legendary nightclubs, beach bars and outdoor venues really be open? And if so, what kinda tunes can we expect to be playing?
We asked a selection of the island's most significant club owners, bar managers, promoters and DJs to give us the low-down on how Ibiza 2020 will look and sound when the speaker rigs are finally wired up.
Andy McKay - Ibiza Rocks Group Co-Founder & CEO
As it stands, we'll be running a new seven-day a week ‘Poolside Sessions’ schedule from July 1, in place of our big talent DJ bookings which we’ve had no choice but to cancel. Those July parties will now be driven by resident DJs and island special guests. In terms of what happens in August, we're delaying all decisions for now. We may be able to bring back some of the big headline talent, but at the moment we just don't know.
All of our headliners have been incredibly understanding, very flexible and very open. There hasn’t been a single issue. Without exception, they are continuing to keep their calendars open. If we do have the opportunity to get the big hitters back on stage it can and will happen.
Our game plan as the season progresses is to get the content we present closer and closer to how it would normally look and sound, but essentially it will still be around 1,000 ravers listening to cutting edge electronic music around a sun-licked swimming pool.
There will also be social distancing and our customers may have to be served exclusively via waiter service, at least initially. But we're confident that we will be able to cater for all of our hotel guests in a safe and responsible manner. We’re an open-air daytime venue which means we can adapt more easily and provide one of the safest places to party.
Considering what the world looked like back in April, I think the fact that we're going to have the opportunity to spend time with our friends again is something of a gift. And who knows, because of everything that is going on, Ibiza 2020 might just turn out to be one of the most atmospheric dance seasons on record.
Neil Evans - Artistic Director, Amnesia
As we stand, all of our May and June events are cancelled. The Amnesia programme for July, August and September remains the same until further notice. We've reprogrammed some of our October line-ups. And I've just finished booking the Amnesia Closing Party for October 10. The plan is to release news of the Closing Party and then move backwards as and when we know if we can open. We are hopeful that we'll be able to open the club sometime in August, but at the moment we're not 100% sure. It's difficult to specify exactly when we'll be able to open because the information regarding nightclubs is so vague.
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Last month we made a limited number of tickets available for sale on the Amnesia website. We launched a Red ticket for €25, which includes entry to the venue plus three drinks. And a Gold ticket for €45, which includes entry and five drinks. Both tickets can be used at any party in 2020 or 2021. All those tickets sold out, which shows that the confidence in the market is there.
I saw a report in the Diario de Ibiza recently that said every nightclub in Spain, including the Canary Islands, can open as of July 1, except in the Balearics. If this happens my fear for 2020 is that underground club culture will suffer as a result. If the credible acts don’t come to the island all we’re going to be left with is mainstream sounds in the disco bars. At Amnesia, we're currently striving to make sure this doesn't happen.
Christian Anadon - Mambo Brothers
The coronavirus lockdown here was quite tough at the beginning; we really didn't know how things were going to shape out. At the moment it's looking better than we thought and we now have many of our venues open in San Antonio with all the required safety measures in place.
We've already opened a few of our venues like Hostal La Torre, which was the first to open, followed by our restaurant on the beach at Cala Gracioneta. Café Mambo's sister venue, Mint, is now open on the Sunset Strip. And the idea of opening Mambo is there too. We cant wait! All of our DJ friends have been asking to DJ at Mambo this summer, so fingers crossed we can still party and hang out there soon.
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We really believe Ibiza will be more magical than ever this summer. People will get a buzz for getting to know the hidden side of Ibiza. We've all seen it on documentaries where DJs like Alfredo, DJ Pippi and Jose Padilla speak about 70s and 80s Ibiza. We're going to have the chance to experience the many faces of the island in the same way that our parents did. They always spoke to us about the glamorous parties, but also about nature and energy of the island.
We are always socialising in our venues whilst working and not being able to leave our homes for a while has been challenging. But Ibiza is looking great at the moment and it's a safe place to be. The lucky ones that visit us this year will have more time to investigate and appreciate its beaches, restaurants, food and scenery. We don’t know how evenings at Café Mambo will work in terms of the big headliners. It all depends on what we are allowed to do and how we're allowed to do it, but we're still positive!
Anna Tur - Ibiza born DJ, Producer
We all want to know how and when to open the doors to the season. Ibiza is currently seeking a balance between security measures and economic viability. There are already announcements being released concerning the opening of some of the island's beach clubs.
Consequently, the general mood is one of expectancy. There is much desire to start the summer. I'm ready to start DJing now. It's my main wish. I'm going to be so excited to get back in the booth; I may even cry with excitement!
It's a big shame the first few months of the summer were cancelled. I had bookings at big festivals like Creamfields, Dreambeach, Neversea, La Santa Festival, Untold, Sunrise Festival, WE ARE FSTVL with RESISTANCE, and other gigs in nightclubs and beach clubs all across the globe.
There are still many possibilities open to me. After 16 years running Ibiza Global Radio, I finished my work there on May 15. My plan now is to focus all my energy on my artistic side, which is something I didn’t have time for before.
Physically and spiritually, the coronavirus lockdown is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. I really needed a break. I've been able to spend time with my husband, making music, meditating, exercising and eating well.
At the same time, I miss being with people; seeing them united on the dancefloor and enjoying themselves. Now that we've all experienced the world at a standstill for the last two months, I feel an urgent need to act. Streaming live sets just isn’t enough. I need the 'flesh and blood' connection!
Sasha - DJ, producer, label head of Last Night On Earth
I've been in Ibiza for the entirety of the coronavirus lockdown, which in some respects has been pretty amazing. I'm glad we weren't in London or New York. In a lot of ways, I've grown accustomed to being at home. My family have seen more of me these last few months than they’ve seen of me in the last five years! On the other hand, there's always the worry of when I'm going to get back to work again and what the clubs will look like when I eventually do.
Much of what I had planned this summer is out of the window. I was booked to play the opening weekend for the International Music Summit (IMS). RESISTANCE was also back at Privilege, plus I had some one-off shows across the island. But I have managed to use the time to get very creative. I don’t know what I'm going to do with all the music I've produced or even what I'm writing it for, but so many songs that have been sitting in demo mode for the last couple of years are now finished, which is wonderful.
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I went into town a few days ago and there's a sense that normality is returning, even though people are wearing masks and the roads are very quiet for this time of year. A lot of my friends who work in the industry are eager to know when they can go back to work. While others are really quite paranoid about the island being flooded by tourists. Those who run restaurants and bars are really on their knees. They are desperate to get their businesses going again, even at 30% occupancy. They have realistic concerns that the economy might collapse. But ultimately the overriding feeling here is that the island has dodged a bullet.
BLOND:ISH - DJ, Producer and Bye Bye Plastic founder
It was going to be a huge year for me. I had my own night, a brand new weekly residency called Human Nature at one of the biggest clubs on the island. And I still had all my usual bookings from previous seasons. So I had a full Ibiza season. A 20-week run starting in the beginning of May and ending in October, which meant moving out to the island for the entire summer.
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But it is what it is. Of course, it's unfortunate what's happened, but at the same time, I'm grateful to have had these last two months. I've really been able to go back-to-basics and rethink everything. Before I was touring like a chicken with my head cut off. I had a single source of income which was touring. During lockdown, I've been able to think about this with my management and start building from the ground up again.
Obviously we're going to need to be dynamic in these times. Event promoters can't plan events a year in advance anymore. Parties are going to be smaller and promoters are going to be forced to go back to basics. In the future, we're going to see more community-driven events and fewer monopolised parties in the hands of the big players. People are going to have to learn how to adapt in the way that they are adapting to the live stream platforms.
In terms of Ibiza, I guess we'll all have to see what happens in the next two weeks. In the meantime, if people haven’t had a chance yet, I think it's so important to get grounded. Find your passion and your purpose, couple them together and put all your energy into that. Right now I think it's the only way we're going to move forward, individually and collectively, in an efficient way.
Dave Browning - Director, GAME OVER
It was gearing up to be a big summer for Game Over and One Night Stand. We would have had been back at DC10 with Carl Cox headlining. Plus a 20-date WILDCHILD residency was on the cards and we were working with Resistance at Privilege on at least nine-dates, along with many other interesting events and one-off projects.
Now everything is on pause. If we can promote events in Ibiza this summer, of course, we will. We're champing at the bit to do something, but the situation is so unclear at the moment that we're finding it difficult to forward plan. The fortunate thing for us is that we're fairly small operation and fairly agile on our feet. If we had a chance to promote something next week we'd be able to do so next week.
In the meantime, we’ve been keeping busy with social media, which we take care of for Carl and Joseph Capriati. That's an ongoing job and we have a little team doing that. We're trying to plan what we can. We're speaking to everyone, trying to look for opportunities. But it’s very difficult to book your DJs and get tickets on sale because come the day of the party, you don’t know what's going to happen. Speak to any of the club owners here on the island and no one is 100% clear what is supposed to happen. It may be different for the daytime venues with hotels, I don’t know. It's an unprecedented situation for everyone.
Ultimately, though, it's going to be difficult for the big promoters to make the numbers work. When it comes to the big talent performing peak Ibiza dates in July and August, normally everything would be in place by now. Artwork, tickets on sale, everything. Right now, very little is in place to make those big headline events a possibility. For that reason, I think the days when the average Ibiza customer would spend €50 on a ticket and €150 on drinks might be a thing of the past, at least for a little while.
Gemma Charters - Director of Brands and Events, O Beach Ibiza
We have remained optimistic that we would be able to salvage something from the summer. We have been working behind the scenes, devising multiple scenarios to ensure we were prepared for any eventuality. With the announcement that Spain will start allowing tourism in from the start of July we are continuing with the aim to reopen O Beach from July 1. Of course, it also very much depends on the outcome of the UK quarantine scenario for those Brits returning from overseas travel, but at the moment everything is looking very positive for Brits returning to Ibiza this summer.
Obviously the health and safety of our guests and staff is paramount and we will be adhering to government policies on how we need to operate as a venue. If social distancing remains present then our capacities are affected. Therefore, the O Beach experience might not be quite the same as people are used to. Nevertheless, our customers can expect the same dedicated service.
I think the hardest aspect of the lockdown has been making decisions about staffing. It’s never easy to have to tell staff who have been dedicated to the business that there may not be a venue to work in or that hours need to be reduced to enable the business to sustain itself long-term. However, we have been so blown away by the support and compassion of the majority of our staff during these times and it cements even further what a great team we have.
As much as this has been a difficult time for many, I think it has also given us time to reflect on what is really important in life. The world had become a very quick merry-go-round, with lots of people putting extreme amounts of pressure on themselves and the environment. Hopefully the coronavirus lockdown period has given everyone time to reflect, not only on their own lives, but also on the future of the world and the planet. I would like to hope that humans will come out of this more appreciative, thoughtful and kind as a race.
Graham Sahara - long time Pacha Ibiza Resident
Right now, the island is virtually empty. I've been coming here since the 90s and I've never seen so few people here in June. It's like we've gone back 50 years before mass tourism began. The water is beautifully clear. Birds are singing in the trees. There are dolphins in the port, manta rays a little further out to sea. We're in paradise.
In terms of DJ bookings, though, everything is up in the air and I'm looking to pick up the pieces. Before the lockdown, Ibiza 2020 was shaping up to be really good summer for me. I was literally turning down work. Even after so many years on the island I still need to graft to get the gigs I want, so I was really happy with where I'd got myself.
I imagine that when the clubs do re-open we'll see rave culture take a hit. Will this year look the same as people have become accustomed to? I doubt it. But after we've all been locked indoors for so long I don’t think people will really care. Many people on the island have been locked up with no exercise for 60 days and only been allowed out to buy food once a week. Many still worry about letting tourism in again. So if you do come to join us this summer please be super respectful of the rules in place.
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Ken Fan - Music & Events Director, Café del Mar
Right now, we're still waiting for the last phase of the lockdown to finish. After that, hopefully the clubbers will be allowed back in. Until then there's no real point in opening, but we do have a very loose plan to re-open Café del Mar sometime during July.
Despite all the chaos, we're still looking forward to the season ahead. For the island's resident DJs, like me, it seems as if we'll be busier than ever. The superstar DJs, on the other hand, might struggle with bookings. I imagine it'll also be better for the sunset bars rather than the big indoor superclubs, which are going to open later than the outdoor venues.
Generally, though, everyone is overwhelmingly positive considering what has just happened. Personally, I've used the lockdown to my advantage. I have made some great new music, had time to explore some new holistic healing techniques, including regular hypnotherapy and ayahuasca, and spent weeks reading, researching and chatting to my fellow conspiracy theorists, all of which has helped me ponder and deeply question the things that are supposedly happening right now! I would find it very difficult to do all this in a normal summer and I have never felt so spiritually connected.
Of course, I haven’t enjoyed not being able to work and queuing for half-an-hour just to buy water at the local supermarket sucks. But Ibiza is looking as beautiful as ever and the energy here is high. And most importantly we're all waiting for you guys to arrive once the dust has settled.
Ida Engberg – DJ, producer, Ibiza regular
This winter has been my favourite season in Ibiza. The sea is so clear, the beaches almost empty, the weather perfect for hikes in the nature. For our family it’s been a needed time off. I feel so blessed living in nature and not in a city as it never really felt like a lockdown.
I think this great pause was so needed for all of us to reflect on our collective impact as a species. We seem to finally have realised that we need a massive shift in consciousness for us and future generations to survive.
We just need to think in holistic circular terms instead of linear individual competitive ways. We need to unite globally but go back to consuming locally. We've been careless and greedy and it’s come to a point in history when we really need to transform to survive. I love to compare it with the metamorphoses the butterfly goes through. It may sound doom and gloom but I honestly feel happier and more hopeful for our future than ever. We are all talking about it finally. Bringing difficult subjects like racism up to the surface is also amazing to see. I hope it’s the turning point we've been waiting for.
Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the amazing people I've been connecting with. I read his books When Plants Dream which is about plant medicine, and How Soon is Now, a handbook for global change. I feel that his message is so important and I was looking at ways I could help to spread it.
Ibiza is opening up to tourists again in July and I hear the clubs will open soon after. I'm sure there will be parties but maybe not as much as before. I already did a very fun gig a couple of weeks back. A friend of ours has a legendary massive cave on his land where he does events. We were invited and I ended up playing for nine hours, only for around 15 people but I had the time of my life. I guess I really missed it. I have no longing for flying and I'm very happy here. I think I will just play in Ibiza this summer. For now, there is no need for leaving this island really!
Kim Booth - Curator, Cosmic Pineapple
Before the pandemic started I had five Cosmic Pineapple events planned at Pikes, plus Cosmic Corners tents at festivals like Sacred Ground in Berlin, Houghton Festival in Norfolk and Beat Hotel in Marrakech. I'm still uncertain exactly what is possible this summer, but the good thing for Cosmic Pineapple is that it can easily adapt to different situations.
When the coronavirus lockdowns started I automatically moved everything online. I have taught yoga everyday and have also given online sound healings. I'm also growing my own garden! I have worked on other people’s gardens before, but never had my own. I can’t explain the deep satisfaction that comes from planting, growing, harvesting and eating your own vegetables.
Overall, I've loved the lockdown. It's given me time and space and a sense of grounding. I think there will be some form of celebration when all this is over, but who knows what and how? Collectively, we're going through such a shift at the moment and you might say the shit is coming to the surface to be seen and healed. Using healing tools such as yoga, meditation, prayer and the magic of surrender somehow it’s all moving.
The way I see it, if you’re meant to be here this summer, you'll find a way. After all, the island always calls those with magic inside.
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