September 26, 2021

Deprived of its clubs, Ibiza seeks to reinvent itself

By Sandrine Morel

Posted today at 05:56, updated at 05:57

In the “beach clubs” of Ibiza’s Salines beach, a few dozen tourists enjoy the sunset while sipping cocktails before the curfew hour strikes at midnight. A few kilometers further, the night falls in a dreary silence on the Amnesia disco, on this last weekend of May.

Apart from a few cats wandering in front of the faded-walled entrance to one of the most famous clubs on this Balearic island, there is no living soul in the abandoned parking lot. Normally, on this date, the latter should be crowded, covered with an artificial lawn and decorated with lush green plants for its traditional “opening party”. There, only a double-decker bus in the colors of the club parked there, and it was hardly ready to restart.

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After eighteen months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pacha, Hï, Privilege, DC10 and other huge discos in the Spanish archipelago, a paradise for clubbers around the world, are waiting for the holding of test evenings and a possible green light from the Balearic regional government in the hope of reopening, at best, at the end of August. For the time being, only Amnesia, a 5,000-seat club, has come forward to set a reunion date: October 23 … for its « closing party ».

Outside the Amnesia nightclub, one of the benchmarks of Ibiza's nightlife, on May 27, 2021.

While waiting for these hypothetical reopening, the verdant island with idyllic coves, crystal clear waters and white villages, a hippie paradise of the 1970s before becoming the Mecca of clubbers, is rediscovering a calm and tranquility long forgotten. The island, which is severely suffering from the economic crisis, sees the pandemic as an opportunity to accelerate the change in its tourism model, highly dependent on the nightlife – something it has already been working on for several years.

“Preserve our environment”

“The pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes and changed the way we live, believes Vicente Mari, president of the Island Council of Ibiza. Ibiza endures very high pressure during the summer, from which it recovers the rest of the year. Our objective is to seasonally adjust economic activity so that the island lives all year round – and in a sustainable way -, to attract digital nomadic workers, to bet on clean energies or to encourage agriculture, fishing and breeding, because only 3% of the food we consume is produced here… ”

Restaurants and outdoor bars are starting to open.  Like here in the city port.

Among elected municipal officials, thinking is progressing. At the end of April, Sant Joan de Labritja, in the north of the island, had a standard ratified banning any new disco or any new beach club in the town. All groups represented in town hall, from right to left, voted in favor, and local media welcomed the measure, with some calling for it to be generalized. “We want to keep the image of traditional Ibiza and preserve our environment by attracting more family tourism, in contact with nature”, explains the conservative mayor, Antoni Mari, which nonetheless supported the construction of a large luxury hotel of the Six Senses chain on the rocky point of the bay of Cala Xarraca.

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