Two weeks ago in Tuned In, I described how Barcelona, like New York, is a city that never sleeps. Two weeks later, its music scene is just as vibrant as the city itself. However, I did not anticipate what I would experience last weekend in Ibiza. Although the music on the island is almost exclusively in the electronic genre, the music environment in Ibiza, whose clubs host hundreds of the world’s top disc jockeys, reaches a scale of grandeur unlike anywhere else in the world.
Ibiza is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea about 50 minutes off the eastern coast of Spain. With just a half-hour bus ride separating the two major towns, Sant Antoni and Eivissa (also known as Ibiza Town), much of the island is easily accessible. Sant Antoni on the east side is considerably cheaper, with crowded and busy streets filled with Europeans speaking numerous languages. On the other side, Eivissa and the surrounding area play host to the majority of the superclubs. On DJ Mag’s list of the top 100 clubs in the world, Ibiza lays claim to three of the top five and many more on the top half of the list. The two we visited over the weekend, Ushuaia and Pacha, each offered something different. Ushuaia, the biggest outdoor club on the island, features several pools in addition to a massive stage that transforms the club at night into a party more reminiscent of a festival. Pacha, on the other hand, is more traditional, being one of the first superclubs on the island as well as the flagship location of the now-global Pacha lifestyle brand.
The biggest names in electronic music fly to Ibiza for summer residencies that span two to three months from late June or early July to mid-September. For these residencies, the DJs play once a week at their specified venue, with each night of the week receiving a different theme and supporting lineup of acts. All of the major clubs on the island, the number of which most accept to be at least seven or eight, thoroughly publicize each night across the island. Most billboards next to the main roads and even in the airports advertise the residencies of different DJs at each club. Although DJ Mag’s list of top DJs is a source of much dispute, nine of the top 10 perform on the island at least once a week during the summer.
As if Barcelona were not enough of a culture shock, when we arrived at the west coast of Ibiza around 9 a.m., Sant Antoni resembled a ghost town. Save a half dozen people on the beach and a few people running on the sidewalks, the only sound that could be heard was that of the waves on the beach. As we found out later that day, most stores on the island don’t open until at least 10 a.m., and the majority of people don’t get outside before 10:30 or 11 a.m. Why this late? The clubs and nightlife on both sides of the island don’t end until at least 6 a.m., something we experienced for ourselves both nights of our visit.
An island that lives up to its impressive reputation, Ibiza is truly a unique experience. Although its tourism website and recent articles have explained the island’s desire to increase its appeal for families, during the summer it is seemingly reserved for Europeans under 30 looking for a break from their everyday schedule. With a wealth of electronic music offerings every night of the week and both towns having a principle focus on clubs and nightlife once the sun goes down, summertime in Ibiza is incomparable.
Andrew Minkovitz is a rising junior in the School of Foreign Service. Tuned In appears every other Monday at thehoya.com.