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Musical Ibiza - A Brief History

Mathew Fregona

06 May 2020

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It’s 9 a.m. on Saturday, the last weekend in October. I’m sitting at the gate waiting to board the next flight to Ibiza. Excitement levels have been through the roof from the night before, I’ve had an early start to get to London Heathrow from Somerset.

 

You see I’m feeling these emotions because I’ve never visited the White Isle before. Until this moment it has only been through second-hand accounts, from the movies of my adolescence, and articles written in magazines.

However, I’m not the only one visibly excited in the departure hall. There is something palpable amongst those gathered around the boarding desk. It is undoubtedly the first time I’ve experienced excitement among passengers about to board a flight.

 

But I need to stop the story here for now and take you back, back to when the island first began playing electronic music. To enjoy what is about to come, it’s essential to know the context of history.

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The summer of love of the ’60s brought the hippy culture to the island, and with it, Pacha. Thursday nights are still called Flower Power at the twin cherries (referring to their famous logo). A tribute to this time.

 

When Franco’s dictatorship fell in ’73, the first flow of tourism began. And when Tony Pike threw a 41st birthday party for Freddy Mercury at Pikes hotel, discotheques and celebrity appeal thrust Ibiza firmly into the limelight. Today it is estimated that 5 million people visit Ibiza during the summer.

 

A chance night out in ‘88 at Amnesia would spark a massive milestone in the electronic scene. For Paul Oakenfold and Trevor Fung, it was their introduction to the Balearic sound. The offspring of Balearic came in the form of the acid house and rave scenes in the UK.

 

The rave wave of the ‘90s was the golden age for electronic music in Ibiza. It’s the pinnacle of hedonism and is unlikely to be replicated anywhere else. It’s this decade that attracted the hardcore party-goers, and now the island had a stark contrast in the types of tourism on offer. Resistance to tourism is starting to gain momentum.

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Into the new millennium and Space personifies the acceptance of techno and trance. It would be the making of a 15-year residency for Carl Cox. Pete Tong is another name forged into the legends corner during this time. However, this decade will always be known for the changes to noise regulation laws. And the once seemingly endless parties are a thing of the past.

 

The next notable change took place during the 10’s. Daytime parties are born, and the beach club scene is now open for business. Enter the celebrity DJ and the emergence of the VIP in the electronic scene.

 

Final boarding call. I walk over (struggling to contain my excitement) and hand over my boarding pass to the desk. The attendant smiles and wishes me a pleasant flight. As I make my way to the aircraft, I’m wondering what sounds will shape out the end of this decade. Where will this be known in the islands long and illustrious musical history? Only one way to find out!