In this week's column we take a look at the complicated history of Gala Night, preview the upcoming Ibiza 123 Rocktronic festival and recap last week's events. As always, for more White Isle coverage, head over to our comprehensive Ibiza microsite.
The Zoo Project is one of the more unique nights on the island. They have strong bookings, an up-for-it crowd and, most importantly, one of the most intriguing venues on the island: Gala Night.
Located in the hills of Benimussa, Gala Night opened in 1972 as a multi-purpose venue. They hosted weddings, club nights, baptisms—anything really. Even animals. Facilities on the extensive property housed seals, parrots, sheep, monkeys and rabbits in its early years. But eventually the up-keep costs proved to be too much, and the venue closed in 1980.
Five years later, it was reopened, and used as an outdoor party park, with food and entertainment, hosting the occasional event by companies like MTV, Sundance and Paradise Lost, but the animals never returned. This once again ended in 2002, and for a few years the property had promoters coming in for one-off parties—some successful, some not.
Recognizing the potential of the space, The Zoo Project came to Gala Night in 2007 and have since transformed it into their own. As many already know, they encourage partygoers to dress up or paint their bodies like animals, and the old seal pit is used as a stage for artists. Following the success of the original Zoo Project gathering, Channel Zoo was born in 2009, with a focus on underground, cutting-edge music, and has been hosting label showcases and off-the-radar artists ever since.
One of the most interesting things about what goes down at Gala Night these days is related to its booking policy. With a dedicated crowd, they seem to feel free to take plenty of chances. This week's guest, for instance, was Moodymann, who played directly after a surprise guest appearance by DJ Sneak. The masked Moodymann, seemginly in camera shy mode, played disco, soul and funk, with the occasional house track thrown in, and the crowd ate it up. One young clubber even took upon himself to jump into the pit before he was taken out by security guards, much to the dismay of the good-natured booing from the crowd. Things soon got back on track, though—the vibe helped along by the occasional loving message sent out to the crowd via portable whiteboard from the DJ himself.
Ibiza 123 Rocktronic
Coming up this week on the island is one of the most anticipated and unique events this summer: The Ibiza 123 Rocktronic Festival on Sunset Strip, which takes place from the 1st - 3rd of July. The event is a fusion of rock and electronic music, and will feature acts like Sting, Fatboy Slim and David Guetta, as well as collaborations by Elton John and Pnau, and Lenny Kravitz and Luciano.
It should be interesting to see how some of these performances will work out. (Elton is a huge Pnau fan, and the group has reworked some of the pop legend's classic '70s tunes for the occasion, while rumor has it that Kravitz may guest on Luciano's next artist album.) The importance of the festival goes beyond the novelty of rock on the White Isle or the pairing up of unlikely collaborators, as Danny Whittle, one of the festival's organizers explained at this year's IMS. "This event is really aimed at the people of Ibiza. It's their event."
To back that claim up, in concert with the local council, the festival has agreed to lower its ticket prices by 20% for Ibiza residents. Some have hinted that this is to boost last minute ticket sales for the event, but this always seemed to be the intent. Whittle said at IMS that the "event is a bit about us presenting something new for the tourists and the tourist trade, but also about giving something back to the island and letting the people go and see the kind of artists they normally wouldn't be able to afford to."
The week in Ibiza
Opening Motel Taboo Ibiza at Club Punta Arabi
At the opening party for Motel Taboo, Jerome Sydenham was the special guest. The biggest tune from the night was the new collaboration with friend Dennis Ferrer, "Backdoor." Taking place at the somewhat remote, yet beautiful hotel Club Punta Arabi near Santa Eulalia, it's well worth a look if you're in the area. The next event is tonight.
Circoloco at DC-10
Despite Lee Curtiss' absence, the Visionquest crew was among the many in attendance at DC-10 this past week. Seth Troxler and Shaun Reeves came to show Ryan Crosson some brotherly love as he mixed upbeat house in the main room. Tale Of Us also featured, and put together one of the best sets of the day. Kerri Chandler, Tania Vulcano and Soul Clap will be among those playing on July 2nd.
We Love... at Space
Jonathan Illel of French trio dOP stole the show this past week at We Love..., stopping and starting the music on command, and skillfully weaving his way around the decks in the Discoteca. dOP will return to We Love... on August 19th.