2007 is really not so long ago, however I think it's fair to say that the world is now a different place. Lets look at where we are financially, after all it is money that makes the world go round and Ibiza is no finer example of that capitalist spirit. In 1999 when I first arrived in Ibiza there was very little VIP culture, Aura was a hippy commune, Blue Marlin was the Jocky Club and KM5 was a small finca. You went to these places to dance all night when you sought out a slightly more authentic experience to what the clubs were offering. No one was drinking champagne and there wasn't a Hummer in sight. Fast forward to 2007 and those little "Pias" folk you saw ploughing the fields or tending their sheep are now property millionaires. In 2002 the Euro took over from the Peseta and Spain's notorious black economy was awash with dirty money. People started buying property like there was no tomorrow, much of it in cold hard cash, fattened suitcases full of peseta's, this helped make Ibiza an Island of property rich locals, the Iborigonies were having their day.
So what has all this got to do with the Ibiza music/party scene? you might ask. The answer… everything! In 2007 the PSOE (the Spanish socialist party) were elected into office. The PP (conservatives) had been in office in Spain for 8 years, and Ibiza even longer. As with most political parties that have been in office for a long time stories of corruption became common place, politicians become lazy and people inevitably become dissatisfied. The people wanted change and change they got - both in Ibiza and mainland Spain.
In came the PSOE with promises of cleaning up Ibiza, giving an Island that had been overrun by the most hedonistic tourists on earth back to the Islanders, what a fantastic mandate. When you have made your fortune the lure of sharing your Island with a load maniacs has loses its appeal, you become choosey about your tourism. Who needs more clubbers, they served their purpose well but it was time to grow up and chase that high end family tourism. Close the clubs down, shut down the port, ban all after-hours, control music everywhere, make private villa parties illegal and make sure everyone who walks up to DC10 has a full body cavity search, oh yes the middle class families will be cueing up to book their holidays in Ibiza once they hear all the weirdos are gone.
But they didn't come… and who was actually surprised? The powers that be were so busy trying to destroy the unique cultural phenomenon that had put it on the Island on the map that it never occurred to them that they didn't really have anything to lure the illusive tourism they were trying to attract. Ibiza was at it's absolute peak in terms of inflated prices, the fact of the matter was that at the higher end a family could book an equivalent standard holiday in Orlando for the same cost they could in Ibiza… There is no Disney World in Ibiza, well not for kids anyway.
So here we are in 2011, post credit crunch, post crisis. The downward economic spiral occured simultaneously with the PSOE's political term and while it would be foolish to think it was their fault, Spanish people are certainly not ignoring the coincidence. Their experiment in tourism didn't work and it seems now maybe they are thinking less Disney World and more Las Vegas. An independent and extensive tourism survey was completed last year and it showed that a staggering 75% of people surveyed listed MUSIC as the main attraction to Ibiza, Shit maybe we shouldn't have taken MTV's event license from them - (The annual MTV festival was worth the equivalent of €50 million in TV advertising) The local council in St Raphael pulled their event license in the last hour for their party at the Hippodrome in 2005.
So as bleak as things looked in the period following the PSOE's term in office it seems. Various committees on music have been formed by that same government. They have supported the IMS heavily and they built a music institute. The next phase is really interesting as the PP party have been reinstated. Having claimed the PSOE was trying to turn Spain into a police state it seems there may well be a turn around on many of their policies. Ignacio Rodrigo Mateo The PP candidate for tourism, commerce and leisure was recently quoted by Ibiza Voice on being asked "What are your views on the after-hours laws?" as saying "Stopping the 'after-hours' didn't stop anything. It just made them illegal. If you go to any club you find out where the after-hours is, only it is in a villa somewhere - illegal, unregulated. If my son were going to an 'after-hours' I would prefer to know he is in a club with security, medics, supervision, a safe environment. It is time to be more realistic, to look at expanding the hours again."