The main reason I came to Ibiza was to get the need to party hard out of my system, and from what I’ve heard about Ibiza, this is the place to do just that. For those of you who have not heard of Ibiza, it’s an island off the southern coast of Spain. It has the typical things one would expect of a Mediterranean island… castle, beaches, little villages, plenty of sun, vacationers…etc. But the thing that makes Ibiza what it is (at least in mind) is the nightclubs. This little island is home to some of the biggest nightclubs in the world, and all summer long it attracts what most people consider to be the best DJs / electronic music artists in the world to play in those nightclubs. The party season runs from late May until September, and beginning in mid-June there’s huge parties every night of the week. The last weekend in May is considered “opening weekend”, and many of the larger clubs have special opening parties scheduled for that weekend to kick off the summer. Opening weekend just happened to coincide nicely with the planned start of my trip.
I arrived on Monday and took a bit of time to form a plan for my stay. The first opening party started on Wednesday. The plan was to hit different parties/clubs Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. First, a couple of things: 1) Most parties in Ibiza don’t even start until midnight, people don’t bother arriving until about 2 AM and the party goes on until 6-8 AM the following morning. 2) Opening weekend is a bit different as the weekend parties begin at outdoor venues around 4 PM and go on until 6-8 AM the following day. 3) Occasionally there will be a party that starts at 4 PM and ends at midnight that will be followed by another party at a different venue that begins at the normal (at least for Ibiza) midnight start time. For scheduling purposes, as it was opening weekend, in general, I think that the clubs didn’t want to compete directly with each other, so the main parties were scheduled sequentially so that those going didn’t really have to make a choice between one party or another. This made the choices pretty easy in terms of where/what to go to every night. One aspect of going clubbing in Ibiza that I found strange was getting tickets. Tickets (for everything) are sold in bars and cafes. It was nice that one didn’t have to go to the venue to buy tickets (as some of the clubs were located pretty far away from where I was staying), but strange to walk into a bar or a cafe and ask for tickets, and slightly disconcerting to be told that the particular place didn’t have any more tickets because I didn’t know if tickets were sold out or not (in which cases I had to go to several places to track one down). I could have bought all the tickets online beforehand, but I wanted to remain flexible in my scheduling as this was going to be a long weekend (and not buying anything before hand is just generally how I roll).
So here’s the recap for my week. Wednesday night I head out by myself and hit the port neighborhood of Ibiza town around midnight (I’m staying in Ibiza town and the port area is a popular strip of bars/restaurants that people head towards prior to going out to the clubs). I have a ticket to Pacha that night (Pacha is one of the oldest clubs in Ibiza and looks/feels like a standard large nightclub that could be located anywhere). I was considering not going out big on Wednesday, but Porter Robinson was listed on the DJ line-up and I’m a big fan of his…so decision that made itself really. The port is pretty dead since it’s so early in season, but I have a drink or two and, generally, talk to anybody that I hear speaking English. I end up meeting three Australian DJs who also have tickets to Pacha and also going to see Porter Robinson. We hang out for a bit and then catch a cab to the club together around 2:30 AM. When we arrive the headliner is playing his set, and we commence dancing, partying and meeting people. Porter Robinson comes on around 3ish and plays until 5ish… he’s good but not great. I have a good all around time, meet some more people and commence walking home around 5:45 AM. Luckily, my place is only a 25 minute walk away from Pacha… and I get to watch the sky lighten up as the sun begins to rise. From Wednesday:
Thursday and Friday both featured parties held outside in the castle above Ibiza town. Both days were similar…wake up around 2:30 PM, eat, have coffee, hit the beach, come back to clean-up and have a snack/drink before heading out around 8 M with the two girls from which I’m renting a room. Each night some major headliners played a set (Paul Oakenfeld, Diplo, Wil.I.Am, David Guetta, Pete Tong, Carl Cox…etc). These two parties actually felt a bit like Burning Man sans the costumes… good music and fun while the sun sets, then more good music under the stars with some pretty spectacular light effects… I think it was just something about being outside. I run into the three Australian DJs I met on out Wednesday night both nights. As both of these parties were afternoon/evening parties, the shows ended around 12:30 AM. I opted not to head to further opening parties each night and instead go down to the port for a drink or two until turning in around 3 AM. From Thursday and Friday:
Ushuaia, a relatively new outdoor club/hotel, held their opening party over both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday the headliner was Luciano, a popular Italian DJ. I think Saturday at Ushuaia reinforced my thought that most of the people on the island were Italian as the place was packed even at 6 PM when I arrived with my roommates. Luciano came on at 9 PM and played until 3 AM. I left around 4 and walked the 45 minutes back to my place. Although the party was epic, I had a tough time that night as most of the people there were Italian or Spanish and only spoke limited English… and there are only so many 30 second conversations one can have (I know that I should know these languages a little better). Oh well. Sunday presented the only real party conflict I came across in my stay, Space, one of the larger clubs on the island, was having an opening beginning at 4 PM Sunday afternoon (going until 6 AM Monday morning). However, the second day of the Ushuaia opening also began at 4 PM Sunday afternoon, but only went until 1 AM. Given what happened the night before (not really able to meet anybody), I chose to go to the Ushuaia opening as Fat Boy Slim and Groove Armada were playing and I knew they would draw a more English and German crowd (plus I like their music). I figured I could go to Space afterwards anyhow. Headed to Ushuaia solo at around 5 PM, met the staff of the one bar I’d been consistently going to. They left at 7 to start work, but then I ran into the same three Australian DJs from previous nights again. The show at Ushuaia was amazing. I ended up meeting a group of English and German folks there that I continued to party the night with after the show ended. I managed to get myself home and into bed around 5 AM. From Saturday and Sunday:
Monday night… well, let’s just say by the time Monday rolled around I had hit the wall. I was partied out, and called the “going to Ibiza to get the partying out my system mission” accomplished. I spent the remainder of the time hanging out with various people I’d met doing what I like to call “the other side of Ibiza”, beaches, sunset cafes, eating out and late nights at the cafe.