There’s always something that gets people talking at the beginning of the season, and the one on the tip of everybody’s tongues right now is… Flamingogate. It all started with a simple party flyer. The event: Peyton presents Sol Sundays, at the beautiful Ibiza beach restaurant Chiringay, situated on the very far end of Es Cavallet beach. Nicely designed, with a nod to an Art Deco, Miami kind of vibe, with a fluoro flamingo (try saying that three times fast) as a logo. The idea was to create an open-air lunchtime party, complete with soulful house music and some Latin percussive vibes and live vocals, to bring together island people from all walks of life to a place where drink prices were accessible,to dance in the sunshine like the Ibiza parties of days gone by. But it wasn’t the actual artwork that offended anyone. It wasn’t the venue that did anything wrong. It wasn’t the artist trying to break any laws. It wasn’t the neighbours complaining (down that neck of the woods, there aren’t any!). It wasn’t the police putting a stop on any after hours nonsense. It was a simple matter of lost in translation.
‘From 2pm until the last flamingo flies…’ teased the digital marketing flyer (Digital! It was only digital! Not even harming a single tree by being printed and distributed!) for the party, which was due to open two weekends ago. Those of us with common sense know this is the equivalent of ‘when the cows come home’ or ‘when the fat lady sings’. However on this occasion, one particularly overzealous Ibiza resident took the phrase literally. As in, the party would start at 2pm and then get so loud and crazy that every last flamingo in the nature reserves of Ses Salines would flee the island forever. So when that concerned resident alerted her local politician to the potential eco-terrorism taking place at Es Cavallet, the mayor of San Jose did as any good mayor of any constituency would do. He stepped up, and stepped in to save the day. The flamingo’s day! Before they knew it, the poor folk at Chiringay were slapped with official police warnings not to play music louder than 55 decibels (some people I know talk louder than that!) or to hold any fiestas of any sort. The promoters immediately withdrew the event, not wanting a miscommunication to mess with the livelihood of a business that has been in operation in that very same spot on the beach for over 30 years. Flamingogate was born.
Despite multi-lingual appeals to the mayor by Peyton and his fan base, explaining the misunderstanding, the blocks continued to be put up against Sol Sundays, as environmentalists (without any sense of humour, clearly) jumped on the Flamingogate bandwagon and started to complain about the teaser videos that were online, with the tagline ‘Are you ready to flamingle?’ (my inner word nerd loved that one), again insisting that the idea was to mob the beach with a bunch of crazy, out-of-their-head partygoers who wanted nothing more than to destroy the protected sand dunes and rid the island of flamingos. Upon cancelling the party, Peyton hosted a small barbeque at another venue (which happened to have a pool) for his friends who had flown to the island especially for the occasion. A pretty quiet, family-friendly affair, with a few blow-up flamingos in the pool being ridden by the children of local business owners… and when a photo of this was shared to Peyton’s Facebook page, all of a sudden there was an outcry. They’ve gone ahead and done it anyway! Stop the madness!
Let’s just stand back (on one foot) and take a look at this situation now, shall we? The fact is, Peyton and co – who are self-confessed nature lovers and wouldn’t harm a feather on any creature’s head – had already successfully hosted these low-key parties at Chiringay in 2015. They were just continuing with the same vibe, this time with a little marketing budget behind it (Budgeting, my sources tell me, that came straight from their own pockets and was in the form of fun things people could take home as a souvenir of the event, such as blow-up flamingos, flamingo glasses, hats and more), trying to create a nice authentic vibe in a place that is still unspoiled by the VIP culture of other daytime venues. Shift your weight onto the other foot and consider this: flamingos usually flock to Ibiza in the cooler months, from September until about February – a pit stop on their migratory journey. Global warming has meant there are some stragglers who stay here all year round (can you blame them? I mean… it is Ibiza!), but they generally congregate around Experimental Beach Ibiza or behind El Chiringuito – Chiringay would need to have a sound system the size of Ushuaia to blast them away with music! And, they certainly do not own any such thing.
Chiringay has always been a live and let live kind of place. Freddie Mercury and Elton John were once known to frequent its shores – I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if Elton suddenly announced he was a special guest to sing at the party? In today’s changing Ibiza society, as the lines between gay and straight venues are much more blurred, Chiringay is known by many simply as a place serving fabulous cuisine (In fact, I was once recommended it by a well-known chef who I believe is the very best on the island), with wonderful views of the Mediterranean, in front of some of the clearest waters in Ibiza. The perfect recipe for an amazing day out in Ibiza. It amazes me that a viral miscommunication can have been taken this far… but at the end of the day, for Peyton and his Sol Sundays party, Flamingogate could perhaps be the greatest thing that ever happened. Who else gets this much publicity for a party that hasn’t even taken place yet? It’s gone from a little tiny event, to the party that never was, to the party everyone on the island is waiting for. I have a feeling Flamingling will be a thing this summer… and I wait with baited breath for news of its new location!