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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Ibiza 1978

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Ibiza 1978
Bob Marley & The Wailers Ibiza 1978

Two pounds of Jamaican ganja, two pounds of Jamaican honey and twenty pounds of white fish…. That and $50,000 is what it took to create one of the most iconic moments in Ibiza’s rich musical history.

Ibiza has a well documented musical history. Throughout history the small Balearic island was in the cross hairs of one or another burgeoning civilisations trade routes, this often left the Ibicenco residents under the heel of whatever marauding hoards happened to be passing through in any given epoch in time. This formed a resilient, rebellious and autonomous spirit that created a kind of bohemian oasis in the Mediterranean during Franco’s rule of Spain. The stories of the origins of the Balearic beat are often lamented but one of Ibizas most halcyon moments in musical history has been much less documented. A chance meeting I had with the daughter of Noel d’Abo, one of the events promoters led me to this story, in his words, this is the story of Bob Marley’s one and only concert for the people of Spain, or more precisely, the people of Ibiza.

“It all began with David Olivestone, a property developer, renting his former Bayswater office to me and my partner, Andrew Miller, up and coming UK concert promoters. Olivestone was a big music fan with a holiday home in Ibiza and suggested we do a summer show in the bullring. He wanted to finance the project with an Ibiza resident who had all the local contacts, Roger Middleton and, together, they made it clear how and why they wanted us to get involved: “You sort it, we’ll pay for it – Bob Marley’s the biggest thing in Ibiza!” Days later, we had a signed contract with Bob Marley & The Wailers to play the Ibiza bullring on Wednesday, June 28th, 1978.

Our modus operandi was Andrew Miller did the deals, while my job was to market and sell out the shows. We’d launch with posters, press ads, radio ads, plus tickets + album competitions. We had a logo, Music Ibiza ’78, printed over a shining sun, surrounded by a Spanish red and yellow border to ease objections to us UK interlopers! The rest of the poster was a blue wash to suggest sea and sky. 

“The only part of Ibiza that’s Spanish is the police station”

I’d drive round Ibiza Town putting up large posters in the street, small ones in the shops and, in addition, took 10 pairs of tickets and a box of Bob’s latest album, ‘Kaya’, to the local radio station. We paid a small fee to get the ball rolling but, from then on, every time we turned on the radio we’d hear the ad in its full glory: a few bars of Kaya then, ‘Bob Marley . . . Plaza de Torros . . . Miercoles . . . 28 Junio!’ The ad was on pretty much day and night, so one thing was certain. Everyone in Ibiza knew Bob Marley was coming to town! His opening gig was in Ibiza, because we could offer a full stage, sound and lighting crew, plus PA, lights, monitors and back line. At the same time, Bob’s road crew would be in Rome setting up their equipment for the original opening date the following evening. Playing Ibiza meant an extra $50,000 to the Marley tour, with no costs apart from airfares to and from the island. We’d cover local costs, including transport, villa for the artists and, most important, Bob’s rider: 2 lbs of Jamaican ganga, 2 lbs of Jamaican honey and 20 lbs of white fish. Luckily, our local man-on-the-ground sorted everything with the words: “The only part of Ibiza that’s Spanish is the police station”

Music Ibiza ’78 – Bob Marley & The Wailers

I arrived at the airport an hour before Bob’s scheduled arrival mid-afternoon with the fish, the ganja and the honey. All I needed now was to meet the driver, check the coach, then wait for Bob and his entourage. What could possibly go wrong? Walking into the terminal building, there, slumped on one of the seats looking rather the worse for wear, was my coach driver. How I knew it was him I can’t remember, but I shouted out a loud, ‘Hola!’ and he was on his feet like a boxer at the count of nine. The coach was fine and he showed me where the luggage would go, said he knew the route to the bullring and, finally, showed me a small, hidden enclave beneath the driver’s seat. It was all silk cushions and woven prayer mats, doubling as carpets and wall coverings – the perfect place to hide Bob’s rider. Moments later, I was shaking hands with Bob, his entourage close behind, all smiles as they strode out of ‘Arrivals’. After the initial introductions on our way to the coach, Bob asked if I’d managed to get the ganja. I assured him all was well. “The fish?” “Oh, yes . . . that, and the honey!”

Bob Marley arriving at Ibiza airport in 1978, image by Francesc Fabregas

When we got to the coach, Bob’s chef took the fish, the honey and bags to be driven to the villa. He would prepare dinner for the Marley team there. Meanwhile, Bob joined me in the cosy inner sanctum and took a good look at the ganja. “Shall we try it?” I instantly agreed. As we made ourselves comfortable, I offered him a pack of Rizlas, but he handed them back, smiling, “No, you roll it!” If there’s one moment I’ll never forget, it’s being invited to roll a joint for the legendary Bob Marley. He was charm itself. One puff was enough. Bob was happy. I left him and the band in the hands of the coach driver. Later, I was driving back to the bullring when I saw an extraordinary sight: Bob Marley, The Wailers and The I Threes all walking down the road to the venue! I stopped the car and asked, “What’s happened?” Totally unfazed, one of The High Threes told me; “The driver told us to walk this last bit – it’s a No Entry!” It must have been around 5pm and crowds were starting to gather. Some were putting steel crowd barriers up against the bullring wall as ladders so, once I’d escorted the band to the dressing rooms, I told security to keep an eye on the crowd outside till we opened the doors.

Soon after, Bob and the band were on stage for the sound check. I watched from the wings then descended the steps towards where the crowd would be standing but, for some strange reason, I turned towards the centre ground beneath the stage. There, to my surprise, stood one of my sound crew by a 16 track sound desk ready to record the show. For a very brief moment, the thought of cutting a deal there and then crossed my mind. “If Marley’s team see this, they don’t play and we lose fifty grand. I’m giving you 15 minutes to get this recording gear dismantled.” I’d realised that a deal’s a deal and, if we ignored this central core of our agreement, it could put us out of business. Sometimes I look back at that moment and wonder, what if?! In fact, Tony Visconti, producer of David Bowie, Thin Lizzy and many others, had asked us if he could  film the gig, but Marley’s management refused. It’s possible they’d already sold exclusive film rights to a live performance of the Kaya tour, so that opportunity was gone.”

Noel d’Abo.

It turns out there was a recording made that there was actually a secret recording made that night by someone in the crowd you can listen to it over on Reset Rebel Podcast. A series created by island resident Journalist Jo Youle, exploring how Ibiza became notorious for attracting those looking to forge a new path in life. Carving out a new lifestyle and sharing it is what makes the community of the island so unique. Each month, she dives into the investigative underbelly of the islands rogues, rebels and those who relished their time on the white island and left their mark like Bob Marley did in 1978.

Music Ibiza 1978. Bob Marley & The Wailers. Thin Lizzy.
Music Ibiza ’78. Bottom left Noel Dabo. Bottom right David Olivestone.

Lead image by Francesc Fabregas

Ibiza & The War On Culture

Ibiza & The War On Culture
Ibiza Hippie Culture

2020 will mark a significant turning point for Ibiza. The pandemic has shown us how fragile the tourist economy is. The current administration have talked a lot about encouraging more sustainable industries outside of tourism. Before tourism in Ibiza there was farming, fishing and salt production, there are no other industries. The people who are calling for these radical reforms are generally people with state salaries and not those who earn a living from the islands tourist economy. As far as tourism goes the party line is that Ibiza needs to move away from leisure tourism (this is code for clubbing or bar culture), I’d like to take this opportunity to make a clear distinction between leisure and culture as many of our politicians and local newspapers seem to be struggling with this.

This year we lost two very significant balearic cultural icons, Jose Padilla and Brasilio de Olivera. Jose Padilla as many of you will know is attributed with creating the chill out genre, as resident dj at Cafe Del Mar and curator of their musical compilations of the same name he created one of the biggest selling music compilations of all time, his music and his expression of the Ibiza sunset travelled to the furthest reaches of the globe, putting Ibiza on the map for millions of people. Jose along with Alfredo can arguably be attributed to being the godfathers of the Balearic sound, a globally recognised musical genre that was entirely made in Ibiza, culturally it could be said, it is Ibiza’s biggest cultural export. 

Brasilio de Olivera’s influence on Ibiza clubbing as it has become known worldwide can’t be overstated. As artistic director at KU he programmed the club, commissioned the artwork and styled the venue (he created the Coco Loco bar). Andy McKay , director of Ibiza Rocks and former director of Manumission wrote “Brasilio was the man that took me and my brother in and gave us the opportunity to launch Manumission. We had no money so he paid for the flights for all to fly out to ibiza and he truly was our partner in everything. We even offered him a share of the brand but he refused it telling us to save our money and buy homes on the island whilst it remained affordable. To me he represents the best of ibiza and personally I owe him a larger debt of gratitude than anyone else in my professional career. He was ibiza before the big DJs and it is to him that we must look to see our best future too”. His ‘La Vaca Asesina’ party, which became ‘La Troya’ also started at KU and would later go to Amnesia, Space and finally Heart. It was a trailblazer in polysexual clubbing, a blueprint for the kind of flamboyant, progressive and inclusive clubbing Ibiza became renowned for. His dancers, acrobats and performers of all kind brought the carnival energy to the club and the streets in a flurry of colour, energy and sexuality, he introduced the famous parades to the Port of Ibiza where he had his bar. As artistic director at KU and Amnesia, then later as promoter at Space and Heart his influence was that of flamboyance and creativity, it would set the tone for things to come. 

Brasilio de Olivera at La Troya

It’s fair to say the cultural anomaly of what we know as Ibiza today happened by chance and not design, there are contributing factors, Ibiza has always been a cultural and political refuge from the peninsula, Franco’s ban of foreign imports of music meant that Spanish visiting Ibiza might hear a Rolling Stones record for the first time, this I think is the birth of Ibiza as a musical island. The hippies brought their counter culture and their records with them and the warm natured Ibicencos welcomed them with great acceptance to the island, the seeds of culture were being sewn. Stories of the Mediterranean bohemian utopia spread and more followed. Something else very significant was happening around this time, Franco was promoting tourism, he abolished entry visas for tourists and devalued the peseta making Spain even cheaper as a destination for visitors with hard currency. Ironically Franco’s promotion of tourism, like the remittances from Spanish emigrants, provided much-needed hard currency and also played an important role in the country’s democratic development because it brought Spaniards into contact with different peoples and ideas, particularly from European democracies. That aside, this is really where we start to see the duality of Ibiza, both a bohemian utopia and a mass market tourist destination. The fact that Ibiza was both these things meant that millions of people who arrived on package holidays went to places like Cafe Del Mar, KU and Amnesia and had cultural awakenings of their own. Famously Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and Nicky Holloway had that very experience listening to Alfredo at Amnesia and that faithful holiday was attributed with starting the acid house movement in the UK.

Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé – performing Barcelona – Ku Club Ibiza

Sadly most politicians will not understand the significance of these events, perhaps the magnitude of these cultural shifts are too recent or too counter culture for them to be recognised as some of most important cultural gifts Ibiza has bestowed on the world in the last century. Just as mass tourism meshed with bohemian hippie culture in the sixties, commercial leisure influences meshed with the organic club culture that started here in the seventies. The pandemic has given governments unprecedented powers of control, this in conjunction with an existing mandate to reshape the island in their new touristic model has taken a strong stance against music and dancing, when politics takes a direct stance on culture it’s generally a red flag. In so far as mass tourism no longer being a good option for the island I have no argument but in so far as denying Ibiza’s cultural history and shutting the door on its further development, I think there needs to be some serious dialogue. Restrictions without alternatives is subtractive and solves nothing, it simply makes us lesser. What is the alternative? What role does music still play in this new tourist model? The discussion on outdoor daytime music venues shouldn’t be centred on an argument between two feuding men in their eighties, it should be about looking at it as the only realistic alternative to clubs for the immediate future. The limitations imposed on outdoor live music venues last year should be completely reviewed now that indoor spaces are no longer viable. Bloop Festival, Ibiza Light Festival, Ibiza Jazz Festival are all great examples of how ibiza can move forward but we need to do more. We need to protect venues of important cultural significance. Licenses for independent cultural events should be more readily available. Art, theatre and music should be promoted. Books and films documenting this history should be supported. 

Ibiza’s musical and cultural heritage needs to be embraced not vilified, we are at a crossroads in a time when commercialism has devoured much that was authentic, when many iconic cultural figures and venues have departed, at a time when the leisure industry has taken over the music scene. Contemporary art and music should be given as much respect as traditional, if Ibiza wants to stay relevant then it should look to the future and continue blazing the trail as a beacon of expression and creativity as it always has, doing so we should also remember our past and the events and people who made Ibiza such a unique destination. 

Ibiza Light Festival

Ibiza Light Painting with Marc De Groot

Ibiza Light Painting with Marc De Groot
Ibiza Light Painting with Marc De Groot

Marc De Groot is an Essex born Photographer and Videographer who first came to Ibiza on a family holiday in 1982, he returned again briefly in 1998 but it wasn’t until 2006 that he spent a summer working here. “Around that time I was just shooting clubs in London, so to get the opportunity to do the same thing but shoot people dancing in the sun instead of a dark nightclub was amazing.” 

How long have you been a photographer and how did you get into it? “I bought my first camera in 2005, there was a famous but now defunct website call ‘Don’t Stay In’, it was a proto’ social media website for clubbers which was very popular before websites like Facebook or Instagram existed, it was heavily driven by club imagery and that inspired me to get into club photography. I’d take photo’s after my dj sets, after a short while the photography took over from the dj sets.”  

2020 was a challenging year for anyone working within the events industry and its satellite industries however it did allow people to work on projects they might not have otherwise been able to pursue, such is the case with Marc’s light painting project. “This was done purely to entertain people. With there being a lot less work in 2020, I took this opportunity to do something positive with my time off.”

Tell us about your light painting project, where did the idea come from? “Light painting has been around since the beginning of photography, so there’s nothing new there. I thought it would be a cool idea to do the light painting from the sky and not just from the ground. It was a pretty easy set up. Camera on a tripod and set the shutter speed to around 30 seconds whilst flying the drone around which has a couple of torches attached to it.”

As you can see from the images below there is probably a little to it than Marc’s humble description. Enjoy the images below. You also can follow Marc’s photography on Insta and Facebook.

The Oldest Olive Tree In Ibiza
Time and Space Ibiza
Time and Space Ibiza
Torre de Compte
Portinatx Lighthouse
Festival Club Ibiza

Marc De Groot on Insta and Facebook.

The End of Lawless Leisure by Andy McKay

The End of Lawless Leisure by Andy McKay

After a financially paralyzed year for most of Ibiza’s hospitality and entertainment sector, the Covid vaccine is finally being implemented and the future is starting to look much brighter for the island’s tourist economy. A moment that should be positive and for the main leisure companies of the island to come together to create the most attractive vacation proposal with the aim of safeguarding tourism in 2021.

On the contrary, the ruthless internal battle continues between the opposing political parties and hotel and club owners on what kind of tourism and business are considered acceptable. There is a cure for Covid but there is still a debate and a desire to kill the tourism sector that feeds the economy of Ibiza. The irony of this situation is quite incredible, not to mention that it is enormously detrimental to securing a future.

Pepe Rosello, the founder of the Space nightclub is publicly pushing for the permanent closure of day clubs and beach clubs, as well as trying to deter the under-30 tourist market. I wonder if this reasoning may be really justified as he was the original pioneer of discos. Or is this damaging public tirade more about Roselló’s bitter feud with his former partner and fellow Ibiza leader Abel Matutes of the Palladium Group and Ushuaïa because he didn’t renew his Space nightclub rental?

To put the subject in perspective, back in the 1990s, the owners of big clubs like Space were the kings of the island: they had extreme influence both in terms of power and importance, they controlled the entertainment scene and promoted a large part of the ever-growing tourism economy. Pepe Roselló was one of those kings and nightclubs during the day were a big part of his business. In the 90s the ‘Carry On’ party at Space was the 2nd biggest party at their world-famous club. That changed in 2001 with the start of Carl Cox’s Tuesday night residency. Pepe decided to be both a day club and a night club and this was the beginning of a much more lucrative time for Space.

Later, Pepe worked with promoters to develop what became the hedonistic 22-hour Sunday party “We Love.” In 2007, Roselló had created a monstrous business where the clubbing season began and ended with giant festivals of 15000 people and his nightclub had grown to the point that bringing together 8000 people for each party was the norm. It was a smart move: the terrace outside was closed and the club increased enormously in size. Roselló and his business partner Abel Matutes were indeed a formidable partnership then, but it was Pepe and the Space team that really made the club work and Matutes received a percentage of the profits as owner of the Space building.

Pepe now refers to “lawless leisure”, but in fact he was one of the kings of that golden age. Even later, when nightclubs were forced to enclose, the sound level outside their buildings was well above what is acceptable today and the opening and closing times were largely the ones that club owners wanted them to be. There were laws, but they were largely ignored. Almost all companies violated the laws, but only the truly powerful could do so without fear of retaliation.

Pepe was and is at the top of the tree and few caused problems that he could not solve. But he knew that after hours couldn’t last forever and by 2008 when the local government prevented clubs from opening until 4.30pm, Pepe was generating almost all of his income after that time. The after hours legal parties ended in 2008, the government successfully stopped this trade and Pepe was smart enough not to suffer financially; he was an unbeatable and in many ways irreplaceable force in Ibiza’s entertainment industry. However, the main problem he faced was the same as Pacha icon Ricardo Urgell: the problem of succession.

Matutues owned the Space building and it was during his association with Pepe that he proposed to convert the hotel across the street into a branded Space hotel, but Pepe always refused. Roselló’s ability to adapt and grow his business into the future will go down in Ibiza’s history as unsurpassed. He was the man who had created an outdoor terrace that was the best place to continue the party and then moved on to the evening hours while having the unique skills to drive people to the disco at 8 o´clock, 5 or 6 hours earlier than less skilled competitors. His vision was truly inspired and yet as he got older he naturally chose to slow down, but the entertainment industry around him didn’t.

Pepe now attacks people who previously worked with him, such as José Luis Benítez, current manager of Ocio Ibiza. Benítez works for Matutes today, but in the glory days of Space he was one of Pepe’s most loyal employees. Roselló attacks the lack of legality of these new leisure venues yet all the laws required to police this scene already exist today. Instead of being in the era of “lawless entertainment” we are in the final transition to fully regulated and legal entertainment and this transition requires time and understanding, as well as the application of laws and the redrafting of some that are not of the law.

And in this intriguing story, I appear. A young Irishman co-founder of one of the most important parties that has taken place on the entire island of Ibiza: Manumission and also co-founder of the Ibiza Rocks Group.

Andy McKay responds to lawless leisure
Andy McKay

In 2009 I invited Abel Matutes Jr. to a live concert in the courtyard of my hotel, Ibiza Rocks, to show him this innovative concept and to negotiate the launch of Mallorca Rocks at a hotel owned by Matutes in Magaluf. Matutes proved to be a very useful partner for me and, with the help of his army of lawyers and technicians, we were able to legalize the Mallorca Rocks Hotel’s open-air concert activity, which became an instant success. He then used the same legal process to obtain the permits for the Ibiza Rocks Hotel and then Matutes legally launched Ushuaïa; A hotel idea inspired by the same model of the Rocks Hotels but instead of live bands they hired world-class DJs and changed the entire panorama of the entertainment industry in Ibiza overnight. While the Matutes empire enjoyed this new success, I was dealt a very bitter blow, which has given me fascinating first-hand insight to not only deal with it, but to push myself to better myself.

At that time I had 3000 beds in the Mallorca Rocks project in Magaluf and after 5 years of continuous growth Matutues turned over the properties to the BCM empire and overnight I lost practically all my Mallorca business. He found another person who invested around 18 million euros in his properties and carried out the roadmap that he had suggested to expand the business. It was a very tough trick and it hurt as I had been the one who had shown the Matutes family the way forward and inspired the idea of ​​Ushuaïa and, as a direct result of my ideas and passion, they had transformed their entire business by increasing its value by hundreds of millions. However, this helped me to come back and improve myself and thus continue working. I also have to say that my business only exists today because Matutes helped me get all the necessary permits and licenses.

Exactly the same thing happened with Pepe at Space, so I really understand him but I also acknowledge that Matutes did nothing wrong other than making smart decisions for his own benefit without empathy for anyone else. He did the same to Pepe as he did to me, but I also fully recognise that without his skills and involvement, my own business would not exist today, because from that setback I had no choice but to recover and grow.

Being upset that Matutes acted as he has done many times before and being commercially astute and uncharitable towards his partner is no reason to launch a hate campaign against everything new on the island that arose out of these post 2011 changes. Matutes gave me exactly the same treatment that he gave Pepe, but next time I would be much smarter.

I admire and respect Pepe Roselló very much and I really feel that he has been fundamental in the evolution of the Ibiza entertainment industry. Pepe and his team were true innovators and he was the owner of the club with which it was easiest for me to do business. I respect him and I like him a lot. With that said, I am convinced that his current schedule is motivated by his bitterness towards Matutes and it is ridiculous and hugely damaging to the islands entertainment industry to try to disguise it as anything else.

Matutes took advantage of the enormous talents of Yann Pissenem and Ushuaia to go from strength to strength. His daytime concept became competition for Space and, while Ushuaïa’s revenues increased, Space’s began to decline. The Matutes team felt they could do a better job exploiting the building themselves and the fact that Hï is now the most successful club on the island is proof that they were right. Space was Pepe’s greatest achievement and at his peak he had something that many believe Hï will never achieve, so it’s easy to understand the anger and sadness over losing something that he had worked so hard to build.

As for my story with Pepe, when I arrived on the island in 1994, some 26 years ago, I was 23 and I launched the Manumission events in Ku (Privilege) and shortly after our ‘Carry On’ after hours parties at the Space day club . Back then, Space only had a daytime party on Sundays and our Manumission after party on Tuesday mornings. Most people left Privilege around eight in the morning for Playa d’en Bossa.

While some ventured into the dark interior of Space, most waited for the terrace to open at 10 am to experience what really was a magical party. We all cheered as planes flew overhead. In my opinion, at the time, Space was the best run club in the world. Pepe was tough, controlling the use of illegal substances, but the reality is that people came from being up all night to continue the party.

This is the true story of Pepe Roselló but the truth is being distorted today to adapt to a completely different one to damage Matutes, which is understandable in the sense that he hurt him deeply.

It suggests that these hotels are illegal and yet I have all the permits and licenses to operate my “open air auditorium” at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. We do not generate noise pollution and there has not been a single moment when Ibiza Rocks Hotel has violated the legal limits of sound in the last 3 years. I don’t think all indoor discos can say the same. Contrary to the claims that hotel establishments like mine only paid 10% VAT between 2013 and 2016, instead of the 21% that nightclubs paid, it is completely false. It is a fact in the public domain that Ibiza Rocks paid VAT at 21%

How can Pepe Rosello be the man to lead this movement against daytime leisure? He was the king of after-hours and tried to open his own Space Hotel in San Antonio to emulate Matutes’s business model. Together we turned Playa d’en Bossa into the biggest after hours the world has ever seen and we dominated the area acoustically, but I wasn’t responsible for Space, Pepe was. How can he now have credibility in trying to stop others who follow in his footsteps and evolve the tourism model by finding new ways of doing things, like we are, all inspired by the fantastic example he set?

Why should we get into a fight based on bitterness, anger and bad blood that is not ours? I simply won’t tolerate it or let my legitimate, hard-earned business suffer from it. Covid has set the world and Ibiza back, and we undoubtedly risk a drop in quality as a result. While the repositioning of the tourism proposal is essential, it is also essential to recognize how much repositioning has already been done. The skill is not about killing the things you don’t like, but about embracing and supporting the things you like. If you don’t have a better idea to replace something you are trying to eliminate, the resulting void invariably results in a reduction in quality and creates the opposite effect as desired.

Today, unlike in the 90s, Ibiza is not just parties and discos, there are other leisure offers that make the island a much more varied place and we must also not lose sight of the fact that beach clubs and hotels with music are not ‘after hours’.

Original Article published in The Periodico de Ibiza on 13 December 2020


Natalie Wood Make-up

The relative calm of the onset of the Ibiza winter is normally punctuated with one last big festivity, this event is very different from the seemingly endless parties that make up an Ibiza summer, this event – Halloween Ibiza, is different because it belongs to Ibiza’s residents, a rare occasion when the people who make the party can take the party. It is a time when all the people who work tirelessly in hospitality or in tourism (which lets face it, is the vast majority of us) during the summer months have the free time to kick back, reunite with their fellow islanders and loose a few days in the best way possible. Halloween and perhaps New Years are the only times when all the islanders can party together and we can assure you, people from Ibiza know how to party. 

In this year of 2020 when the world is reeling from the effects of the pandemic it would be insensitive to suggest any one group has it worse than another but its fair to say that on a small island that survives exclusively on seasonal tourism that Ibiza is feeling the fallout of the how the pandemic has been handled rather acutely. Not just financially, through the loss of jobs and businesses but also in our personal liberty. Spain has enforced some of the strictest measures of controlling their population that we have seen in Europe, we felt this first hand on our little island during the last lockdown when the government enacted the last state of alarm. There are few countries in Europe who could constitutionally, politically or infra-structurally enforce these measures on their population but Spain has the ability to do so due to its turbulent political history, something we forgot living in a place that has historically been a refuge from the more oppressive apparatus of past regimes, somewhere that for many of us has always represented a sense of freedom, how we long for those days now. 

I must stress this article isn’t a thought piece on the rights or wrongs of the politics of the pandemic , this is a commentary on the time we are living in and our experience of it. It’s also a retrospective view of better times, something that I think is important for us to hold onto when we emerge from this pandemic into a brave new world, the new normal as it were. It’s important to remember why we live here and what is important to us when the virus is gone but the legislation and the politics remain. So as the late night party girl and president of the Balearic government, Francina Armengol kindly announces that she is giving us an extra hour before they tuck us into bed for our winter hibernation lets look back at some fun times we had.

Bambuddha 1999 – 2015 John Moon.

John Moon

It was from very humble beginnings that Bambuddha’s Halloween Ibiza party began in their inaugural year of 1999, Halloween marked the annual closing of Bambuddha, from it’s very inception Bambuddha was the social beacon of the north of the island with the charismatic and occasionally outrageous John Moon at its helm. John Moon was one of the main protagonists of the hippie movement on the island and was a big part of the Ibiza – Goa connection, he was also a well known face on the club scene so it was only natural that all kinds of colourful people would gravitate to Bambuddha when she opened her doors in ’99 and it wasn’t long before its closing party at Halloween became a focal point of the islands social calendar too. “As the party grew bigger and bigger we put more effort into production, hiring the islands artists to create the decor, painting, sculpting, building, each year getting more creative and bolder. The party grew and grew with our event in 2015 being the most successful but also our last, we were shut down in spectacular fashion by the police. I wasn’t working that year, I was simply there to enjoy myself, Jonjon Moon my son was running the show, I remember I was dancing on the bar having a lovely time when the police shut the music of a 4am much to my annoyance, but that was that we were shut down with a huge fine and the threat of an even bigger one if we ever did it again” I recall how much effort people put into their costumes, how did you encourage that? “I told them if you don’t dress up then you can’t come in, we had queues of people outside trying to get in so it wasn’t a difficult request, we had make up artists on the door on hand to assist if people didn’t know but most people knew and got into the feeling of the thing with enthusiasm, it was a fun thing to do. We made it into a sexy thing too, we made it into a fetish Halloween, people enjoyed dressing up as nuns and priests, people came as deviants and all sorts of wonderful underground people”

I seem to remember one year you had no costume, in fact you weren’t wearing anything at all “Ah yes, I worked so hard that year on the production creating covered areas outside, it was a very elaborate production and eight o clock came and I hadn’t gone home to change into my costume so I just took my clothes off and greeted people as they came in the door with my dick hanging down to my knees, all my costumes have been very spontaneous, from dressing up as a syringe to Michael Jackson but that certainly took things to another level.” There was a special energy at those parties, what can you attribute that to? “We had a very strong punch that seemed to help people get involved, the punch got everyone launched” Halloween started to become quite a huge thing in Ibiza where traditionally it had never been “Yes people would fly in specifically for it, its such a shame it had to end but the authorities don’t see the value in these things, they were already on a trajectory of closing things down, the beach parties, the villa parties, all the things that had existed all the way through the eighties and the nineties were being stopped and now in Ibiza you can’t have any kind of party, the concept of Ibiza as it was has changed, the parties we had at KU were so ahead of their time, the Dirty Diamonds parties later on were so much fun but they don’t wan’t that here anymore. The inspiration for us was freedom of expression, the kind of thing Mike and Claire were doing at Manumission, The Motel and Space, they were the best times. Maybe after Covid things will be better, we can only hope.” 

Pikes 2014 – TBC Mark Broadbent.

The Brothers Grim

Mark start at the beginning, where did it all start? “Well we kinda inherited it when Sarah started working there full time around 2014/15 but I’m a little fuzzy as to when the first Brother Grim presents: Halloween was. I’m guessing 2014. Pikes had been doing it in house for a few years previously though. We felt that there was a massive gap in the market to do something really upsetting and disturbing as all the other ‘Halloween’ gigs where more about sexy devils and people having a generally nice time. We wanted to celebrate the true spirit of All Hallows Eve, the coming of winter, a time when the witches can come out from the shadows and celebrate the season the Earth returns to a state of torpor and rejuvenation. Spilling blood onto the soil in the hope that new life will spring from the font of death. We hoped that people would understand what we were trying to achieve.”

How has it evolved? “As the event became more successful and we had confidence that tickets would sell out quickly we were able to spend more money on the production and employ actors to further the immersive experience with seemingly impromptu ‘happenings’ occurring around the venue thought-out the night. Once we had the right people coming who trusted us and understood what we were trying to do we were able to fully push the boat out and fully let our imaginations run free.” How would you describe the party? “Horrible, bloody, wonderful and frightening, deeply sexual and rather disturbing all at once depending on your own personal take on it. A fully immersive experience.” Is

Halloween important to the island? “Are these kinda things important? I have my doubts. Maybe in helping to put Ibiza on the list of things ’not to miss on Halloween’ kinda thing. So increasing revenue streams maybe? I have noticed people starting to come from overseas to celebrate Halloween but I’m not sure if thats a good or bad thing tbh. Halloween for me and my friends was about saying thanks and goodbye to the season we’d just finished and really it was nicer when it was more about the people left on the island after the seasons finish. A time for us to party like we used to on Ibiza.” Any final words? “We are ever thankful to the team at Pikes for handing over their cherished venue for us to tear apart for one night at the end of October that we feel truly put the summer season to bed over the years we managed to get away with such things.” 

Boutique Hostal Salinas 2012 – 2018 Ryan O Gorman

ryan o gorman djing ibiza halloween party
Ryan O Gorman

Myself and my pals Will and Brydie threw the first Halloween party at Boutique Hostal Salinas back in 2012, The Monster Mash Mornings Session, we did it simply because we needed somewhere for our crew to go after Bambuddha, necessity is the mother of invention and sometimes the best parties come from the simplest motives. Location was key and what better location for a carry on then in a hotel, but who did we know that were crazy enough to let us loose in their hotel? Lo Cura crew and fun loving proprietors of Boutique Hostal Salinas Dave, Duesi and Anita, that’s who. They had another generation of Ibiza party people on us so collectively we had a really interesting mix of Islanders and more importantly they were one of us, they understood, in fact they more than understood, in many cases they instigated. 

People partying, ibiza halloween
Boutique Hostal Salinas Halloween Crew – David Phillips, Duesi Wolfmier, Anita Day, Ryan O Gormman

It was perfect, Salinas is beautiful but also quite desolate in winter and November 1st is a public holiday (All Saints Day) so we thought a little day time get together within the confines of the hotel wouldn’t bother anyone. There’s plenty of rooms for people to hang out in, we’ll stick the DJs in the restaurant, perhaps a Lo Cura Lounge in one of the back rooms, maybe a room for Karaoke too, brilliant! There’s no denying we were dancing on the coat tails of what Bambuddha had created, they were the reason everyone dressed up and came out in the first place but we created somethings very much our own at BHS, what we had cultivated from our inner circles outwards was a diverse collection of Ibiza party people, a romantic snap shot of that illusive Ibiza spirit much lamented but rarely captured, a rare bunch of seasoned campaigners with endless shared stories, memories and jokes. Freaky people with a hedonistic disposition and an inherent knowing of the magic of this place we live in, a recipe for good times. We put a huge amount of creative energy into creating new themes each year, the artwork, the decor, the furniture, even the movies and the party goers put extra effort into the most elaborate costumes I have ever seen, it was a strong group effort from everyone involved and it showed.

Boutique Hostal Salinas, Halloween Ibiza
Boutique Hostal Salinas at dawn

Will & Brydie left the Island to pursue other paths and the BHS guys got more involved as the event got bigger. Eventually like many great parties we became a victim of our own success to a degree, as the event grew we needed a lot more infrastructure to keep cars parked correctly, to keep the roads free and generally make sure people could come and go safely without creating too much disturbance, however we weren’t exactly inconspicuous, there were a lot of very weird looking people passing though Salinas and it didn’t go unnoticed. As respectful and responsible as we tried to be the authorities closed the curtain on us in 2018, it was the end of an era for us but deep down we knew it could never last forever. We were never going to do a watered down version of what we created, it was a wild party, a beautiful thing.

The Hitchhiker

There are so many memories, making our horror films, the days spent decorating the venue with the crew, watching the sun come up from the balcony revealing a sea of freaks below, seeing old friends reunited, seeing all my favourite people in one place, playing some of the most fun dj sets I’ve ever played anywhere, watching Alfredo play the closing set, the lock in and the aftermath antics… so many good times. If you were there you will know if you weren’t well this is a scant description but it’s the best I’ve got in these short paragraphs. I’ve done a lot of parties in my lifetime but these were without doubt some of the best. 

“Ryan O Gorman”

Follow us on instagram for more amazing halloween Ibiza photos, we’ll be uploading loads more amazing shots by PHRANK in the coming days.

DJ Alfredo


Salvatore Stalone



Jean Cedric


Alex Arnout & Clive Henry




Jose Padilla in tributes

Jose Padilla in tributes
Jose Padilla

Jose Padilla 1955 – 2020. The passing of Jose Padilla will mark a turning point in Ibiza, the end of an era ushered on by a global pandemic and marked by the passing of some of its most beloved protagonists. There are few figures who encapsulate the Balearic spirit of the era as Padilla has with his music. It’s fair to say he carved out a genre of his own with the legendary Cafe Del Mar compilations he curated, transporting the essence of his sunset soundtracks to millions of people the world over, he is credited as the creator of Chill Out. The compilations he curated were the biggest export of music from Ibiza in its time and his contribution was instrumental in the construct of what we know today as the Balearic sound. 

1995. Jose Padilla was asked to “Define Balearic”

“Balearic is not a kind of music, it’s a way of life. It’s the freedom to play whatever you want so long as you play proficiently. People listen to a track with guitar on it and say ‘this is Balearic’ when it’s not, it’s just a track with a guitar on it. Balearic is just the spirit of Ibiza. DJs used to play here seven or eight hours a night and have the freedom to play anything they wanted from rock to house”

Andy Wilson
“This was a very emotional show to make as it was recorded only 3 days after Jose passed away but I couldn’t have done anything else . The mix includes some of Jose’s own productions and collaborations , some of his favourite music by other artists and a half hour selection from two mixes he made for me around 10 years ago . I hope it will make you smile and maybe cry a bit too . Adios Maestro”

lead image
Chris Coco, Johnny Nash, Jose and Phat Phil Cooper at Potato Head, Bali.

NuNorthern Soul LIVE Ibiza Session, a tribute to Jose!https://www.mixcloud.com/…/nunorthern-soul-sessions…/Tracks and mixes from artists and labels including James Bright, Dario Aiello, HELL YEAH recordings, NuNorthern Soul, Chris Coco, Mike Salta, Private Agenda, A Man Called Adam, Idjut Boys, José Padilla, Stones Throw Records, SAULT, Andrew Ashong & Kaidi Kat Tatham, Cantoma music, Blair French, Rocksteady Disco plus more.

Mark Broadbent.

“Earlier in the week I was thinking about Jose and what he’s meant to me personally over the years realising just what an important figure he has been in my life both directly & in-directly through his incredible compilations and the handful of true ‘Balearic’ sonic experiences he afforded me whilst I sat listening to him with my wife Sarah on the rocks outside The Cafe, actually seeing him draw the sun from behind the clouds just in time to let it slip into the sea on more than one occasion was really something to behold. That first year we had returned from a year in India and really were at a loss as to what to do when Darren Hughes suggested we go to Ibiza and look after his business interests there. Now at the time Ibiza was the last thing on our minds as a viable option, I mean, who the fuck wants to go to such a seemingly cheesy place as Ibiza after the freedom on the beach scene in Goa?!? but then we thought what the hell, we’d always enjoyed the Cafe Del Mar compilations so there was always that to check out. A safe haven from the English rabble…or so we thought!

I don’t think that I’ve ever been as underwhelmed before or after as when I first set eyes on the Cafe Del Mar! I had it in my minds eye that it was going to be a wooden hut on a beautiful beach surrounded by chilled beauties. Not a concrete monstrosity surrounded by drug dealing idiots. Feeling a little saddened by the whole experience we decided to get a beer and watch the sunset anyway. We had another beer and started to relax into the place, the sun was still pretty high when Jose arrived. The funky house daytime soundtrack came to an abrupt end, interrupted by music from a film score I no longer remember and the next few hours slipped by in a dreamscape. We were hooked. All of a sudden Ibiza made a certain sense to us and we were able to see through our pre conceptions, relax and enjoy the company of the people we now found ourselves with every night around sunset at The Cafe Del Mar. Over the next two seasons we fell in love with the island and the people we met there (many of whom we had met in Thailand and India during the winters away from the island) and the rest, as they say, is history. We moved to Ibiza made parties for more years than I care to remember, programming the perfect soundtrack for peoples holiday experience. Always with the memory of our first introduction to the Balearic beat at The Cafe Del Mar firmly in our minds.

I am now weekly sunset resident at The Hostel La Torre and have held that residence for the past few years and although I would never consider myself an equal of The Maestro it always put a smile on my face and afforded me a rare feeling of pride when I saw my name next to his on the billing. Imagine. 

So I made a little Sunset 4 Jose mix that I think captured my mood yesterday whilst paying a homage to the man himself. Have a listen. I think you’ll like it…it’s slightly melancholic with a light at the end of the tunnel. Non of the tracks featured would have been played by Jose (to my knowledge) as I’m guessing that there will be a shit load of ‘homage’ type mixes coming through in the next couple of weeks. I also know he hated people stealing his style and generally making a fucking pigs ear out of it. Lots of people play his signature tracks. Nobody else sounds like him.

Good night, God bless and thanks for the memories Maestro.”  

James Horrocks (React Music Publishing)

“Jose Padilla’s legendary live soundtracking of the sunset as a DJ was perhaps his greatest gift to us. Such a simple task you might think? However, in real time, it is in fact the hardest set to emulate as Jose’s sun-set conveyed so much raw emotion and dark intensity set against the raked over embers of the sun’s final journey transmuting into the breezy balminess of an Ibizencan pre-party and the welcoming of the cool night air at the flick of a switch. Not forgetting the resounding cheer when the lazy sun finally slumbered, taking with it the heat of the day and allowing the nightlife to begin again. From classical music like Pablo Casals’ J.S. Bach to the ambient works of Brian Eno and the timeless movie soundtracks of Vangelis & Ennio Morricone; flamenco, salsa, samba, soul, reggae, trad and jazz-funk; Bowie to The Waterboys & The Cure, Penguin Cafe Orchestra to Sabres of Paradise, Frankie Knuckles to Leftfield & A Man Called Adam, acid jazz, breakbeat hip hop, house and deep techno, with so many barely-known nuggets mixed in-between, terms like chillout and Balearic found their rightful place in the lexicon of beat lovers and mindful music devotees alike. It was a pleasure to be introduced to Jose Padilla by Sheyla Aslan from Logic Records in ’92 and be able to help Jose create and establish the Cafe Del Mar series of compilation albums on our label, React Music (and subsequently Mercury Records), which to my mind are still the most inspired compilation albums since Trojan Records ‘Tighten Up’ ska, rocksteady and reggae compilations of the late 60s & 70s. Furthermore, Jose Padilla helped create and establish a movement of deejays, producers & musicians who spanned the divide between natural, analog and electronic music, whose music could accompany the sunset, dinner or a full moon party and the morning after-party, beach party and pool party. Friends once told us that Cafe Del Mar Volumen Dos was played non-stop for 72-hours at their Ibiza chill out pool party. Anyone can compile a playlist but not many people can deliver a playlist that willl be regarded as a masterpiece and a work of art. Jose lives. Viva Jose Padilla!”

If you would like to read more there is a great interview by Bill Brewster with Jose here.

Ibiza Walks and Hikes

Ibiza Walks and Hikes
Ibiza Walking

Ibiza walks by hikingibiza.nl, walking group, blue sky, summer fieldLooking for great Ibiza walks? Here we list some of the most beautiful and interesting walks and hikes to discover in Ibiza.

Ibiza Walking Association

These wonderful winter Ibiza walks encompass everything from full moon walks through Santa Ines to exploring Tanit’s cave and the San Vicente hills; leader Rob Seeker knows all the secret c corners and scenic routes to get there. Bringing together Ibiza’s walking community and promoting the island as a walking destination is what it’s all about; longer community walks on Wednesdays cost 10€ person, and the shorter Sunday walks are 5€. You can even book a private group of 8 for only 12€ per person – a cheap and cheerful way to get your mates together for a blast of beautiful Ibiza air. All guides are trained and insured with great experience and island knowledge.



[email protected]


Sabina Brownstein’s Women’s Wellness Walks take place every Thursday at 10:30am until midday in Roca Llisa. Come together, breathe in Mother Nature, connect spiritually and make new friends. Sabina is an experienced healer and throughout the walk she shares some of her knowledge on meditation and healing techniques, making it a walk with a difference. She also invites members of the group to share their events and every week a guest talks about a topic of their choice. No children or dogs are allowed as they detract from the meditations and quiet times. But don’t worry; there is also time to talk!




This group is run by Ibiza born Toby Clarke so expect some special secret walks where no VIPs have dared to tread. During winter there is a short and sweet walk every Wednesday, with longer walks on Fridays, both starting at 10am. There are occasional walks in summer too, but these are more likely to be at sunrise or sunset to avoid the heat that some of you will be soaking up on the beaches. Watch the FB page to keep abreast of latest walks. The suggested donation is 10€, or you can arrange some kind of swap.




The walks are full of historical references and island anecdotes, and Lucien is keen to show you the special vibration and sacred heartbeat of Ibiza, encouraging you to take the views right into your soul, and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the incredible beauty of Ibiza. Open hikes run until May and are paid by donation, while private hikes cost 150€ for up to 8 people, so under 20€ per person. In summer after a big night out you can do a sunrise hike or sleep all day and still not miss out by taking a sunset walk, just keep your eyes on FB.



Ibiza Light Festival

Ibiza Light Festival
Ibiza Light Show

The magnificent UNESCO world heritage site that is the city of Ibiza acts as the backdrop for the Ibiza Light Festival. It’s monuments and facades interact with the light in a symbiotic show that will dazzle child and adult alike. This fantastic free interactive arts festival held by the Consell and Ajuntament d’Eivissa is completely free and welcomes all. Come light up the town on the 13th of October. Starting at 7pm, light, dance and music fill the port until midnight. More info here

Ibiza Light Festival

The San Jordi Market In Pictures

The San Jordi Market In Pictures
San Jordi Market Ibiza

The San Jordi Hipodromo was once home to Ibiza’s trotting races, a very popular sport on the island. These days you are more likely to encounter the huge outdoor arena for it’s famous Saturday market. The market is open to all, in the old days they would make people race to stake their stall plots, this wasn’t very democratic and led to the occasional punch up so now stalls are appointed in orderly fashion on the previous day. People sell mostly clothing and household goods but you are likely to find anything and everything. The open nature of the market invites people from all walks of life and there is a definite bohemian feel to the affair, this is the alternative side of Ibiza, the Ibiza of yesteryear, this is something we wanted to document in images.

old ibizenco pretty lady man and van market stall people 6.Wally at San Jordi Market Ibiza little dog ibiza sign market stall lady lamp shade market stall dolls in glasses hipodromo big bubbles hippie family wooden bastard

Photos by Ryan O Gorman

Ibiza Spirit Festival

Ibiza Spirit Festival
Spirit Festival

Held in the beautiful gardens of Atzaró the Ibiza Spirit is an all day festival “Celebrating the Spirit of Ibiza in Dance, Consciousness & Love for all free spirits of Ibiza”. The festival highlights practices in yoga, meditation, tantra and healing. It features workshops in areas such as self hypnosis and “living with purpose”.

Founded by Jerry Brownstein and coordinated by Sabina Brownstein, their vision is to create “a day of joyous celebration that shows us how beautiful life can be, how together we can generate the energy for positive transformation… in ourselves and in the world. They along with their team are dedicated to raising global consciousness by bringing the awareness of alternative lifestyles and individual transformation to our beautiful island so that Ibiza becomes a shining example of humanity’s highest potential”.

For more information on timetables and workshops visit their facebook page

Atzaro Map