On May 12 I relocated to Ibiza for the summer. I had been working as a booker for Pure Carl Cox since January with Game Over but I felt I needed to get my feet on the ground to get a feel for what was really going on out there.
A number of thoughts crossed my mind as I made my way through Dublin airport. Ibiza has always been a place of change, but the past twelve months in particular have seen a seismic shift on the island.
Space Ibiza, a global clubbing institution shut its doors for the last time last September. Millions of people around the globe watched Carl Cox DJ for more than 8 hours from the Space Discoteca live on BE-AT.TV as he bid an emotional farewell to the club he called home. Carl Cox and Space Ibiza are two titans that go hand in hand, it is impossible to imagine one without the other.
Carl’s residency on Tuesdays raged on for fifteen years and became the most successful party on the island. In that time pop star DJs became a thing again, rival clubs increased DJ and production budgets to a scale that weren’t imaginable six or seven years ago.
Despite all this and regardless of what went on outside the walls of Space Ibiza on a Tuesday night, that was the place where the magic happened. It was all driven by Carl and a battle hardened team of loyal promoters headed up by Dave Browning and Eoin Smyth, who later went on to set up Game Over.
This year was to be the first time the season would open at the end of May without Space and people weren’t sure what that meant. On the Ibiza debate at IMS (International Music Summit) a number of issues arose that were affecting the island. The cost of living has gotten out of control, homelessness has risen, VIP culture appears to be strangling the life out of what Ibiza was all about, people going out and partying with each other. An inclusive and at times hedonistic experience.
VIP culture is a divisive topic, your average VIP might be someone who doesn’t want to mix with your average clubber, or it could be someone in their forties who used to come to the island in the nineties, has worked hard and wants to go to a club and have some comfort.
So opening weekend came and went. IMS was interesting, the closing party at Dalt Vila in the medieval heart of Ibiza town was really special and sold out for the first time. Outside of that it seemed to lack punch. Throughout June, numbers were down with a number of established and long running club nights.
Questions began to arise. Has Ibiza consumed itself? Is it too expensive? Where are the clubbers? Are we now in the business of electronic music hospitality? Has the sweaty rave experience vanished from the island? People were understandably worried.
Enter Carl Cox. On July 11, Game Over, a collective that arose from the ashes of Space closing, would host Pure Carl Cox at Privilege, a sleeping giant in Ibiza clubbing. On the days leading up to the event Carl Cox fever took over the island and for the first time in over a decade, the largest club in the world was sold out.
Sweat was rolling down the walls, you could feel the energy on your skin as you stood on the dance floor, it was an incredible night, one of the best I have ever seen. Above all else it proves a couple of things; Carl Cox is the absolute king of this island and the season doesn’t start until he and his team say so.
“It’s never Game Over” Carl Cox.