The reason why Ibiza's largest clubs are renowned is pretty simple, says our Ibiza correspondent.
Ibiza isn't known as a clubbing mecca for any old reason. In less than five minutes from capital Ibiza Town, you can encounter about 40,000 people's worth of capacity across a mere half dozen clubs, of which most are perennially acclaimed as the best in the world. These venues specialize in overwhelming newcomers and staying fresh for veterans. Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt, but given that Space can often feel like taking a trip to the local pub for me, I was genuinely buzzing this week to find myself caught in the magic of it all once again—and foolishly wondering afterward why I ever thought that I was immune.
I'm going to start with Amnesia's main room, a somewhat forgotten older brother in recent years, which remains arguably the most epic room on the island. I was there for Cocoon last week when Cassy warmed up before Marco Carola continued the party with his signature house tech. The room is typified by seemingly endless tiers, which start from a pit-like dance floor that is totally submerged by the surrounding balconies and rise through level after level of VIP areas all the way up to the ceremonial mount of the DJ booth. The architectural design is clearly one aspect of the charm, but it's only truly appreciated once full and after the Hieronymous Bosch scenes unravel as techno-thirsty kids move in time with the Amnesia dancers. The booth is the focus of much of the attention, though, and nobody does it quite like Cocoon; agents, friends, randoms, hangers-on and other DJs can all be seen. When the ice cannon goes off unexpectedly, though, the energy inside this cauldron of a main room positively gushes. Even after well over a decade of knowing the drill, I was totally lost in the moment (several times).
Space's most famous room, the Terraza, is often regarded—in its former uncovered guise—as the pinnacle of Ibiza clubbing. Open air, daytime, sunshine parties. Carl Cox thumping out Latin techno for six hours when most people are having Sunday lunch. It was unlike anything else. There's no doubt much of the magic was lost when the roof went on and things went nocturnal, but this Tuesday past, it was Carl Cox again in control. This time he was rocking through a ten hour set for his Opening Party celebrating 10 Years of Carl Cox at Space. I'll skip all the "nice guy Carl" blurb, clearly testified by the huge industry presence at the club. Coxy is simply the king of DJs; he had more than 6,000 people in the palm of his hand for the duration of the night, wandering from "Contemplation" by Josh One to electro by Michel De Hey or just massive moments courtesy of "Grindhouse" or "Spastik." As the customary Cox calls of "Space Oh Yes, Oh Yes" rang out across the sprawling crowd, the immensity and power of the occasion quite simply blew you away. It had everything that the Big Room experience is both loved and hated for, but it was great to see such universal rapture.
The previous day, Monday, it was DC-10. Hardly a big room in comparison to Amnesia or Space, it's still sits (broadly) in the "Big Room" experience when you talk specifically about the Terrace. Rectangular, red-walled, now with roof and a vastly improved sound system, the DJ booth is squeezed into the corner of the room like an afterthought. But what makes this room unique is the crowd. This week it struck me how—regardless of time or how busy the room—every single person in there was dancing. Nobody was at the bar, and nobody was having a chat in the corner. Instead, groups of people walked in, found a space and began to dance.
It's said often how those that come to DC-10 do so typically for purer reasons than is the case elsewhere in Ibiza. And, at the very least, it was clear that this was a crowd that was here for the music as much as anything else. When Dyed Soundorom played a remix of "The Playmaker" by Anthea and Alex Celler, people knew it was his remix. And when Cassy and Tania went back-to-back at the end of the night, everyone knew it was 100% impromptu. The collective and simultaneous passion generated from the now almost clichéd sit-downs may seem trite to hardened clubbers. But like other big room experiences in Ibiza, it doesn't take much effort—none at all in fact—to understand why these have become the iconic big rooms of clubland.