It's not hyperbole to say that 2011 was Ibiza's biggest. It's a fact: The island had more flights coming in then it's ever had before. Looking over the new nights on the island for 2012, you might be surprised to learn that it's the likes of Jamie Jones, Richie Hawtin and Marco Carola that are generating the most interest. Swedish House Mafia and David Guetta have their place on Ibiza. (A big one, it must be said.) But when Ben UFO, DJ Qu and George FitzGerald are playing too, then it's clear that music fans of any type can find something to love.
There are two big questions coming into 2012: With so many parties on offer, there'll be more choices than ever before. But will the people come in the same numbers as last year? The other big question is how those aforementioned residencies may fare. Jamie Jones and Richie Hawtin both saw that Thursday could be a great day to start something. Now they're head-to-head. Meanwhile, Marco Carola has made the jump from the friendly confines of Cocoon to helm his own night at Amnesia on Friday—a typically slow day of the week, as big name DJs travel to countries where partying is primarily done only on the weekends.
As we head into the season, we'll be tracking these questions carefully each week in our RA Ibiza Weekly column. That'll be complemented by our comprehensive Ibiza summer clubbing guide, where you can get all the news, photos and general White Isle goings-on that you can handle.
Sven returns to Amnesia with Cocoon.
Cocoon at Amnesia
Marco Carola and Richie Hawtin may have moved on to helm other nights, but metamorphosis has been the norm for Cocoon down the years. 2012 presents an opportunity for others to step up: Will it be Mathias Kaden? Onur Ozer? Or perhaps Raresh will finally reach the heights that have seemingly been prophesied for him. Whoever it might be, there are still several steps to go before anyone comes close to challenging the dominance of Sven, Ricardo and, most significantly, Desolat label head Loco Dice, who is back for seven dates and remains a massive draw.
Circoloco at DC-10
Having taken proceedings to "The Next Level" in 2011, the mythical Monday afternoon/night party is set to continue the success of last year by delivering more of the same. The list of residents who have grown with the club and stay despite their own individual rise is evidence of this year's strength. Seth Troxler, Davide Squillace, Jamie Jones, Matthias Tanzmann, Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom all hold a ton of gigs, while acts like The Martinez Brothers and Soul Clap have been added to the regulars list.
Phat Monday's at Eden
New night with a focus on commercial hip-hop and R&B.
Fiesta Del Agua at Es Paradis
The iconic water party. The dance floor fills with water at this one to create a makeshift swimming pool at the end of the night.
A State of Trance at Privilege
One Dutch trance superstar (Armin van Buuren) replaces another (Tiesto). Based on his previous years at Amnesia and Space, AVB has his work cut out to come close to filling the enormous Privilege, but the following of his A State of Trance radio show, which reaches into the tens of millions globally, stands as testament to his ongoing appeal.
Ibiza Calling at Space
Modern house and tech house, with alternating residents Wally Lopez and Roger Sanchez.
David Guetta at Ushuaïa
The Frenchman takes his sound to a daytime and outdoor audience.
Carl Cox returns with some new recruits in 2012.
Together at Amnesia
Formerly known as Tonight, Together heralds—among other bookings—the man known as Skrillex. Chase & Status were a massive hit in Ibiza last year and they return alongside others like Pendulum, Sub Focus and Knife Party. Eric Prydz and Annie Mac alternate, more or less, as residents on the Terrace, while Public Enemy appear for a live performance in September.
Ibiza Live at Eden
Urban pop-focused night that is likely to prove popular to the mass tourist market. Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah, Example, Jessie J and Professor Green will all perform.
Colors at Es Paradis
Not to be confused with the Scottish promoter, this is actually a new trance night run by Finnish DJ Alex Kunnari.
Flower Power / Renaissance at Pacha
One of the most distinctive Ibiza parties, Flower Power is a real treat, with a charged atmosphere thanks to the universal fancy dress and hippie vibe, all set to a backdrop of classic tunes. Think The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones. Renaissance, meanwhile, have risen from the ashes of their demise in 2010, and return for the strongest Ibiza showing in years (seven parties), just in time for their 20 year anniversary. Guy Gerber, Steve Bug and M.A.N.D.Y. amongst others, indicate the direction this year.
Privilege Live! at Privilege
After embracing the idea of big live shows in 2011, Privilege look set to continue that theme with more heavyweight names across the dance spectrum.
Diynamic at Sankeys Ibiza
Solomun makes a deserved arrival to host his own residency at Sankeys. He's arguably the kind of artist who could become a really big fish in Ibiza, especially based on the popularity of his studio output in 2011. Using a "Neon" theme, Diynamic keep things very much in the family, with a line-up almost exclusively in-house. Stimming, H.O.S.H., Kollektiv Turmstrasse and David August all feature.
Carl Cox at Space
One of last year's most lauded parties, there is no doubt Coxy was riding on the crest of a wave in 2011. How to remain there? Well, there are the customary big dog guests: Loco Dice, Laurent Garnier, Sasha, Dubfire and John Digweed. But the interest is sharpened by several new names like Deetron, Ben Sims, Pan-Pot, Tiger & Woods and Clockwork, all of whom point to a definite shift towards the more contemporary in programming terms.
Do not adjust your TV: This is Channel Zoo
La Troya at Amnesia
Easily the most interesting of all the gay/gay-friendly parties in Ibiza. Promoted by the legendary Brasilio, there is a different theme each week, and it features a house soundtrack on the Terrace. Main Room is more commercial and it all ends with the Espuma Foam Party.
Wednesday Showcases at DC-10
In August only, DC-10 will host a series of night events featuring the likes of Visionquest and Better Lost Than Stupid (Tanzmann, Squillace and Buttrich).
Ibiza Rocks After Party at Es Paradis
Post-gig fun featuring whoever is still standing. If you've been to Ibiza Rocks for the gig, you get free entrance to Es Paradis.
Channel Zoo at Gala Night
One of the best places on the island to hear underground music with plenty of label showcases. Jimpster, Steffi and Spencer Parker will all play at some point this summer.
Ibiza Rocks at Ibiza Rocks Hotel
One of the biggest brands in Ibiza, the Rocks crew switch things up in 2012 by starting a new night on Friday, called W.A.R. (We Are Rockstars). This means the original Ibiza Rocks gigs place more focus back on rock/indie bands that were its foundation during the early years. Kasabian are welcomed back and The Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party are a couple of others sure to grab interest. The biggest coup though is New Order, who will play their first ever gig in Ibiza, 20 years after much of their album Technique
was recorded here.
Subliminal at Pacha Ibiza
You have to respect Erick Morillo's longevity, still going strong after more than a decade of Wednesday night parties at Pacha Ibiza. Guests for 2012 include some of the most popular mainstream artists around, including Steve Angello, Chuckie, Dirty South and, of course, longtime friends Harry "Choo Choo" Romero and Jose Nunez.
VIVa Warriors at Sankeys Ibiza
Steve Lawler loved playing Sankeys closing so much last year that he's returning and bringing his mates for a VIVa music residency. Another symbol of Sankey's intent and programming direction, guests will include Derrick Carter, Kevin Saunderson, Tiefschwarz and Martinez.
Be at Space
Space's Thursday night remains in flux, this year due to the departure of Armin Van Buuren to Privilege. Taking hold of the reins is Mark Knight and his Toolroom entourage, who will be desperate to bring some stability and identity to a party that had switched from Danny Tenaglia to trance to hard techno in a period of just a few years.
Swedish House Mafia at Ushuaïa
The pop star trio's event series is sure to be a sell-out.
Luciano pulls double duty at Ushuaïa and Pacha this year.
Cream at Amnesia
Another superbrand celebrating their 20th birthday in 2012. One of the busiest and most enduring Ibiza parties this year features Deadmau5, Laidback Luke, Calvin Harris and, of course, Paul Van Dyk.
Paradise at DC-10
Big island news here: Jamie Jones spreads his wings and his Hot Creations outfit take charge of DC-10 for an extended run. Merited on the basis of an all-conquering 2011, he brings in some familiar names from his extended network like Art Department, Maceo Plex and Benoit & Sergio, alongside some unexpected acts in the form of Efdemin, Ben UFO and Space Dimension Controller.
Twice as Nice at Es Paradis
This long-running night was championing R&B and hip-hop in Ibiza long before Snoop turned up at MTV last year. 2012 promises the likes of Tinchy Stryder, Artful Dodger and DJs like Steve Sutherland and Matt "Jam" Lamont back on a regular basis.
F*** Me I'm Famous at Pacha Ibiza
David Guetta's weekly Ibiza performance, which he loyally commits to every single week for four months, has become a backbone of his brand and shows no sign up of letting up.
The Face of Ibiza at Privilege
Gay-friendly frolics, hosted by Baby Marcelo (formerly of La Troya) and much-loved islander DJ Oliver.
ENTER. / Kehakuma at Space
Richie Hawtin flies solo for the first time in Ibiza with ENTER. He'll be joined by the Kehakuma crew on the terrace for an Asian-themed extravaganza that even includes a sake bar coordinated by the Minus boss himself. Label artists abound of course, but also expect the likes of Paco Osuna, Dubfire and Marcel Dettmann to make an appearance alongside the housier terrace with Nick Curly once again leading the charge.
Luciano & friends at Ushuaïa
One of the many factors in Luciano's rising stock in Ibiza has been his long relationship with Ushuaïa, from beach shack in 2009 to mega-hotel complex last year. He takes his extended crew weekly for 2012.
Pete Tong's varied night returns for a second season at Pacha.
Music On at Amnesia
Marco Carola's new project, which sees the Neapolitan take control of both rooms at Amnesia in an ambitious break from his Cocoon home of many years. Undoubtedly one of the few artists potentially capable of carrying a night of his own, whether that materialises or not is another matter. Not only do new nights nearly always take time to establish themselves, Amnesia has two of the largest spaces on the island to fill. Carola has chosen Stacey Pullen, Jeff Mills, Audiofly, Joseph Capraiti and Leon as the foundation for the main room. On the terrace, the key to success lays firmly on his own shoulders.
Pandemonium at DC-10
One of the island's real charms, offering perhaps one of the only places to enjoy an underground party with a really clued-up crowd. The club's long-running event, hosted by Tania Vulcano, allows for longer, and often more interesting, sets from many of the artists used to appearing at the club for Circoloco. Kerri Chandler, Dan Ghenacia and D'Julz all appeared in 2011. Watch out particularly for the Isgud Records showcases.
Fiesta del Agua at Es Paradis
More aquatic dance floor antics.
We Are Rockstars at Ibiza Rocks Hotel
...or W.A.R for short, is the somewhat paradoxical name for the event now taking place on Friday at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel, which focuses on DJs and not rock stars as the name suggests. Chart-friendly dubstep leads the way in the form of Magnetic Man—Skream, Benga and Artwork—Example, Major Lazer and High Contrast. After tentative attempts and moderate success, it'll be interesting to see how that style of music fares this season.
All Gone Pete Tong at Pacha Ibiza
Looking at the line-ups for Pete Tong's party this year, you'd be forgiven for thinking someone had shuffled the pack and taken out a bit of everything. Eats Everything, Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles, Guy Gerber and Laurent Garnier's LBS form one extreme of a party that also has weeks with Sebastian Ingrosso, Calvin Harris and Paul Oakenfold. Definitely one to double check the listings for.
SuperMartXé at Privilege
Privilege's busiest party by far, providing mass market, lowest common denominator entertainment to a predominantly Spanish crowd. If you want to see the club in all its glory, it's worth checking out for the spectacle. But any party that has Paris Hilton coming in for "special appearances" is never going to be about the music.
Supalova at Sankeys Ibiza
House music from Italy, hosted by Joe T Vanelli.
Barcelona's famed night comes to Ibiza this year.
Matinee at Amnesia
Extremely Spanish, extremely high-octane and unlikely to be of appeal to any serious music fans.
Mondoloco at Eden
One for the locals, hosted by island face Mr. Bosco, playing tough, techy house.
Hed Kandi at Es Paradis
Disco and vocal house in the botanical garden club surrounds of Es Paradis.
Zoo Project at Gala Night
Daytime event in a unique location and a vibrant, fancy-dressed crowd to boot. Zoo Project is now well-established as a bastion of underground sounds with an independent and fresh take on programming. Giles Smith, George FitzGerald and San Proper will all play this summer.
Defected at Pacha Ibiza
Maybe it's Pacha, maybe it's the fact Bob Sinclar sometimes plays, but Defected's night has a perception problem from some underground quarters. Given that Dennis Ferrer, Solomun, MK, Noir and Osunlade are among the main guests throughout the season, however, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better house night of a similar ilk on the island.
El Row at Privilege
One of the most talked-about clubs in the Barcelona scene, largely due to some outrageous all day Sunday sessions, El Row now step up to form part of a new project at Privilege. The legendary Coco Loco room and Back Room (La Vaca) have been merged into one, now called Vista Club—due to the amazing views offered from high towards Ibiza Town. The intention is to offer an alternative to the commercial sounds offered to the Spanish clientele of Matinee and Cafe Ole.
Carnival at Sankeys Ibiza
Judged on the line-ups alone, this party throws itself into the centre of the ring with an intriguing selection of bookings. There's almost too many to mention, but guests include Chez Damier, DJ Qu, Steve Bug, MK and Kink, with Heidi's Jackathon, Leftfroom and Southampton's Junk Department hosting a couple of events. What's most surprising is that all this takes place on a Saturday, a notoriously difficult day to attract artists to the island.
Cafe Ole at Space
Space's gay-friendly fiesta takes no shame in being clichéd, although 2011 had a few booking surprises like Ultra Nate, Dita Von Teese and Boy George.
Those smiley faces can only mean one thing: We Love... is back.
Pop Star at Amnesia
Another day to catch the Foam Party at Amnesia in the Main Room. On the Terrace, resident Brian Cross welcomes a cast of popular Spanish pop acts, as the name suggests.
Judgement Sunday at Eden
Apparently Judge Jules is packing DJing in to return to his legal roots. Possibly his last season for his long-running night then?
Fabulush at Es Paradis
Returning for their second year, the emphasis is on the visual aspect, as the "Beautiful Party People" tagline suggests.
Cadenza Vagabundos at Pacha Ibiza
The phenomenon of Luciano in Ibiza is naturally the biggest draw for this party, but it also has one of the freshest booking policies for any series on the island in the last couple of years. As well as the usual Cadenza family members, Kenny Larkin, Marshall Jefferson, Robert Hood, Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen and DJ Qu are all set to play.
Don't Let Daddy Know at Privilege
One of the stranger party names you'll come across, even by Ibiza standards. It promises live action from some large-scale electro, hip-hop and dusbtep names.
We Love... at Space
Continuing to blaze a trail of new music in Ibiza, 2012 sees UK bass get its first meaningful representation on the island with the likes of Scuba, Untold and Ben UFO all appearing. We say the same thing every year, but it's impossible to even begin to explain who else is playing at this festival-like event, such is the size and diversity of the bill. Some choice picks, though, include a monthly Innervisions showcase, The Chemical Brothers in August and plenty of Detroit techno heroes. Take the time to peruse the listings. You're sure to find something that takes your fancy at this must-do island institution.