I’m from the West Coast, and after spending nearly 2 years living in Berlin, and visiting a few times since, I wanted to check out another major party city that people can’t stop talking about: Ibiza.

I’ll begin by saying two things: It wasn’t all bad, and I did buy some swag, because of that.

A good friend of mine, Caro, and I recently did a lil’ techno euro-trip. We visited London (Egg, Fabric), Ibiza (Amnesia, Rebels Boat, Café Del Mar, DC-10, Jet, Sankeys, Space), and Barcelona (R33). While London and Barcelona were pretty great (and the latter MUCH better than the former), we both found Ibiza to be a massive disappointment. Here’s why:

Sven Väth. Carl Cox. Maceo Plex. Tale Of Us. Solomun. Kink. Dense & Pika. Recondite. Mind Against. Stimming. Ricardo Villalobos.

World. Fucking. Class.

These are just a few of the legendary producers who were playing during the 4 days we were in Ibiza. I remember looking at the event listings and picking them apart, setting up an almost hour-by-hour schedule to experience the best of the music that the island had to offer.

This is the story of our exploration, and subsequent disappointment, of all of the above.

Upon our arrival (and after my hurried attempt to learn how to drive a manual car), we first visited Amnesia- it was Sven Väth’s Cocoon night, with himself, Kink, Sonja Moonear and Ricardo Villalobos playing. Let me begin by saying that, even after seeing all we saw, Amnesia was the most impressive club that we visited. Clearly Papa Sven went all out on creating an experience, and he largely succeeded. Lights, dancers, and décor were all to the 9s, although after about 5 hours (and the better part of a day of travel already under our belts), we felt like we had gotten our 40-or-so euros worth, and headed home.

Amnesia Club

  • Lineup: 8/10
  • Music: 8/10
  • Sound: 4/10 (boomy, too much bass, bad baffling and too much reverb and harmonics)
  • Lighting/Visuals: 7/10
  • Layout: 5/10 (no ‘chill’ area other than a fenced in pavement area outside)
  • Crowd: 5/10
  • Value: 7/10

Day 2, we headed to a bar in Playa D’en Bossa, where a friend of a friend hooked us up with some… drinks, and suggestions on where to go. His suggestion of the Capadi Rebels Katamaran boat party ended up being a lot of fun- 2.5h of open bar on a 5h boat was a blast. He also put us on guestlist for Space that night, a memo which Space never actually got… Apparently this is common there.

Capadi Rebels Boat Party

  • Lineup: 0/10 (all locals/unknowns)
  • Music: 7/10 (up-beat tech-house but just fine for a boat party)
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Lighting/Visuals: N/A 
  • Layout: 8/10 (great variety of spaces to hang out, chill, party, plus dive into the water!)
  • Crowd: 7/10 (the free alcohol really helped)
  • Value: 7/10

After heading to Space (and finding out guestlist didn’t work out), we called it a night, and Khung out around our hostel in San Antonio. Probably for the best. 2.5h drinking in the sun on a Ketamara (and subsequently losing my hat) meant I needed a wee bit of rest.

Our 3rd day in Ibiza started by heading out to find a beach. 10 points to Caro for making sure we got a rental car, because it was great for this. When the first one we hit was full (and like FULL FULL), we got a suggestion for another locals beach. Some wandering around in the mentioned area, and a tip from a family that was just leaving, and we ended up at a beautiful little alcove where we soaked up sun and swam in gorgeous clear water. It was Spain, after all, and what is Spain without some beach and sun time?

Random Private Beach

  • Lineup: 0/10 (all locals/unknowns)
  • Music: 0/10 (no music)
  • Sound: 8/10 (very clear, no muddy bass)
  • Lighting/Visuals (10/10)
  • Layout: 7/10 (nature could have done a better job making it more accessible)
  • Crowd: 8/10 (all locals, no other annoying tourists)
  • Value: 9/10

After beaching it up, we headed back to the party world to prep for Paradise at DC-10. Spoiler: It’s not Paradise.

The night began at an Ibiza staple: Café Del Mar. I first heard about Café Del Mar via their Aria mix series many years ago. I’ve wanted to visit ever since. It’s directly next to Café Mambo, right on the edge of the water in the west-facing San Antonio, positioned perfectly for gorgeous sunsets.

Between the two of us, having a salad, a small pizza, and two drinks, we spent nearly 60 euros. A weeee bit steep. Bonus: the music was tech house, and was often overpowered by the Martin Solveig pre-party happening next door. I considered having a shisha, which they offer, but at 40 euros I felt it wasn’t justifiable.

Café Del Mar

  • Lineup: 0/10 (I don’t even know who was playing)
  • Music: 0/10 (no music)
  • Sound: 3/10
  • Lighting/Visuals: 8/10 (gorgeous sunset)
  • Layout: 5/10 (nothing special, very crowded)
  • Crowd: 5/10 (nothing special)
  • Value: 2/10

DC-10 was where we had originally wanted to go on the first night, to see Circoloco, a party that apparently is best enjoyed in the daytime and thus only goes until 4 am. As we were just having dinner at 1 am (a mediocre paella) we ended up at Amnesia instead. Experiencing DC-10 this evening, it was clear that this is a daytime party- the large open courtyard was a great chill-out space, but would have been made much better with a gorgeous sun shining overhead. Here we saw Stimming playing his Alpe Lusia album live which was a real treat. Unfortunately, the entire experience was hampered by the same that bothered us at

Amnesia: mediocre sound, a bevy of beefy brits who either weren’t enjoying the music, or didn’t feel the urge to dance, and really, really fucked up people who had regular battles with gravity. After Stimming, we saw some back to back with Patrick Topping and wAFF in the main room. The main room had better visuals- some cool laser grid things that captured my attention much more than the apparent disagreement Topping and wAFF were having about whether this should be a Tech House or Techno set.

DC-10

  • Lineup: 7/10 (Stimming. That is all.)
  • Music: 7/10 (Stimming. That is all).
  • Sound: 5/10 (unimpressive overall, muddy in the main room)
  • Lighting/Visuals: 6/10 (some cool lasers..)
  • Layout: 7/10 (I liked the outdoor chill area)
  • Crowd: 4/10
  • Value: 4/10

The one nicety about DC-10 was meeting a lovely couple. The four of us bailed on the indecisive music and headed back to Playa D’en Bossa to catch the sunrise and smoke a joint. I guess this was technically the start of…

Day 4: If you’ve never been to Ibiza, you might still have heard of Jet Hotel. It’s called that because regularly (as in, like, every 30 minutes), a jet comes in over the town and directly above the hotel, on its way to the airport. The jets flying overhead make a great, big noise, one that is really hard to miss, I’m sure you’ve heard it before. The hotel is famous for having chosen a great way to resolve what would normally be seen as a really, really bad location: drowning it out with music. Every day, and I do mean every day, Jet hosts a pool party. From 11am until about 9pm (or until 11 if people are still going), they blast tech house, non-stop, from F1 club-level speakers. Our new friends had a hotel room overlooking this raucous mess of chavs, which we found mildly entertaining at first, but within a few hours decided was becoming far too repetitive and bothersome. How these people managed to stay for 10 days in that room, unable to experience silence, is beyond me.

At some point early in the afternoon, we decided to head back to San Antonio where everything was a little less abrasive. While Caro got an hour of Zzz, the rest of us headed out to the aforementioned Café Mambo have some drinks. The next 8 or so hours consisted of heading back to the Playa, drinking more, discovering certain beach bars would give you a cup of ice for a euro, to fill yourself, and then drinking said cups. At some point in the evening, we sorted out guestlist for Sankeys and bought tickets (yes, paid this time) for Space, Afterlife night by Tale of Us.

Both Sankeys and Space are in Playa D’en Bossa, so we went to Sankeys first, for Unusual Suspects. The club itself is quite new for Ibiza standard and is a branch of a club with the same name located in Manchester. The club itself is cool enough, but what really brought it down was the people. Because of its relative newness, and the fact that it was a smaller night, getting in free at Sankeys is quite easy, so it really attracted the most undiscerning partiers. People who were doing the Macarena on the dance floor, for instance. Yes, seriously. Upstairs on the patio (next to the entirely empty 2nd/3rd room), there was a couple ladies making the rounds giving people free shots for reposting some video on facebook. Really high-quality promo work…

Sankeys Ibiza

  • Lineup: 4/10 (I don’t know, frankly the macarena dancers were distracting me)
  • Music: 4/10 (seriously, the Macarena)
  • Sound: 5/10 (not too offensive)
  • Lighting/Visuals: 4/10
  • Layout: 8/10 (I actually really liked the layout, great separation between areas)
  • Crowd: 0/10
  • Value: 1/10 (it was free, after all)

After about 45 minutes, I managed to persuade everyone to leave and head to Space, for Tale of Us.

ACTUALLY USEFUL INFORMATION HERE: Promo and ticket sales in Ibiza works in a couple different ways. First off, you can buy tickets from RA. Simple, easy, guaranteed. For Space, RA had the tickets for I believe 45 euros. Secondly, you can go to one of the many, many, many club ticket sales booths in various bars and areas of the island. They had tickets for 50 euros. Additionally, you could buy them last minute at the door, for a value that isn’t really known til you get there- usually either the same price or a bit more than the ticket booths. Finally, you can sometimes get discount wristbands from promoters on the beaches, and sometimes even get ticket packages from them (that may include a shuttle, drinks, whatever).

We had bought tickets presale, through RA. Our friends landed wristbands on the beach that lowered the price to the same amount we had paid (and, in fact, less if we’d arrived before 1230). Two lines, Presale/guestlist, and door. Guess which one was longer, by a solid 40 minutes? Yep. Presale/guest list. While our friends were in the club in no time, we got to stand around and watch other people not be on the guest list, get mad, and leave. Fortunately, this time, having paid, we managed to get in and experience the wonder that is SPACE IBIZA once before it closes.

So for starters, Space is big. I couldn’t really get a sense of HOW big, but it’s BIG. There are at least 3 or 4 different rooms and areas, although on this Thursday night the main room was not open, so we didn’t get to experience them all. What we did experience, however, was one side ‘lounge’ room with some minimal and then tech house playing, a ‘main’ room with I believe Tale of Us playing, and SO GOD DAMN MANY PEOPLE THAT WE COULDN’T ENJOY ANY OF IT. We left after 45 minutes because the crowd was SO intense that it was simply impossible to stay.

Space Ibiza

  • Lineup: 7/10
  • Music: ?
  • Sound: ?
  • Lighting/Visuals: 6/10
  • Layout: ?
  • Crowd: 2/10
  • Value: 0/10

We ended the night back at our friends’ hotel, where thankfully the horrible party had ended, and we could play some good music in the room. Later that morning (still with next to no sleep) we packed our bags and began to head out. Before leaving, we did make it to a cemetery on top of the island to smoke a joint. That was definitely the quietest hour I had experienced for days… and certainly one of the most relaxing.

How Ibiza used to be

Conclusion | Clubbing In Ibiza Overall

Lineup: 8/10 – Great international DJs playing all the fucking time

Music: 6/10 – Every single one of them seems to dumb down their music to make it more approachable and easier to digest. Not what a music aficionado would enjoy.

Sound: 4/10 – Genuinely appalling sound in all the clubs. I used musician earplugs all the time, and so I could genuinely gauge the quality of sound.

Lighting/Visuals: 7/10 – It’s clear that the clubs went out of their way to make their spaces visually stunning, and it shows. Despite my preferring dark spaces with a couple iSpots, they did a great job blowing the minds of e’d out 19 year old Brits who’d never seen a real light show before, and for that I must give them credit.

Layout: 5/10 – Overall, unimpressive. Usually too few spaces to chill

Crowd: 1/10 – This is what really bites- the city is filled with low-grade party tourists who don’t know good music, don’t know how to hold their alcohol (or other intoxicants), and generally aren’t fun to party with.

Value: 3/10 – I went because I had to see it. I spent far too much money doing so, and truly wish I’d gone only to Barcelona rather than trying to do both.

Special shoutouts to:

  • A legion of insanely jacked guys waxed bare walking around with tan lines
  • 50 euro (65+ cad) average entry to most clubs
  • 20 euro (25+ cad) average drink price at any club
  • 9 euro (13+ cad) bottles of water (250ml too, not even 500ml)
  • Genuinely horrible sound design pretty much everywhere
  • On the plus side, I learned how to drive a stick, so it wasn’t a total waste.

In summary:

Fuck this stupid over commercialized expensive chavvy pop music mainstream bullshit party island.

See you in Berlin.

Bijan D.

Contributor

Bijan is a co-founder and the principal nightlife photographer of photo agency mood.berlin and is located in Vancouver.
Instagram: @moodberlin

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