But this year in Ibiza, there is a certain iconic nightspot celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the calibre of celebrations that go along with such a milestone are almost impossible not to miss. I’m talking, of course, about Pacha Ibiza, whose birthday party last Saturday night was one for the history books with Pete Tong bringing his now famous ‘Ibiza Classics’ event to the island for a one night only extravaganza at Pacha’s sister venue, Destino Ibiza. The Ibiza Classics concept was born in 2015, when BBC Radio 1 presented the Ibiza Prom at Royal Albert Hall – a classical tribute to the island’s musical heritage. Needless to say, I missed it because as usual, I was here in Ibiza, and while I don’t usually get FOMO for non-island events, this one did indeed tug on my heart strings a little when I started seeing the hundreds of videos that were shared by UK-based Ibiza lovers all over social media. It’s pretty amazing – taking the best Ibiza club anthems and reworking them at the hands of a 65-piece orchestra, acclaimed conductor Jules Buckley and legendary Ibiza DJ Pete Tong. So that’s 134 hands, all in all, just to be clear.
So, when Pacha Ibiza announced they’d be taking their birthday party out into the great outdoors and hosting an Ibiza Classics event, I knew it was something I couldn’t afford to miss (though if you read my blog post last week, you’ll know I almost did!). Team White arrived en masse at Destino, just before sunset, breezing in through the guest list queue, alongside Pacha royalty like Bob Sinclar, David Guetta (looking sharp with a new haircut!), Ricardo Urguell (the true king of Pacha), DJ Piti, the flamboyant performner Parris, and many other glitzy glam types. Speaking of glitz – the hotel’s entry was flanked by a row glamazons decked all in white with feather headdresses and capes that must have truly been a burden in the 35-degree plus heat (such is the price of beauty) – if there’s one thing you can say about Pacha Ibiza, they certainly don’t do things by halves. With a serious case of feather envy, we stepped inside Destino Ibiza, which had been suitably decked out with enough cherries to remind anyone who didn’t remember, who this night was dedicated to. Enormous neon cherries over the stage, more glamorous dancers flitting about the pool in red sequinned mini-shorts and holding larger than life cherry inflatables, the VIP crowd fanning themselves with fans emblazoned with, you guessed it, cherries, plus each and every table in the restaurant featuring martini glasses filled to the brim with fresh dark red cherries. Happy birthday to Pacha Ibiza!
Destino Ibiza is pretty much like a living, breathing catwalk at any time of the day and at dusk – that time when hotel guests are still revelling in the pool (complete with OTT Chanel accessories) while eager partygoers are arriving dressed to the nines for the night ahead – people watching was at its finest. The event seemed to attract all ages, all nationalities, and all styles – authentic Ibiza style. Iconic local DJs Alfredo and DJ Pippi provided the soundtrack – a fusion of cinema-score style tracks, house anthems and Balearic classics. An enormous VIP viewing platform had been extended over the pool, complete with plush sofas – for the king and his cohorts, of course. And while I’m not sure Ariel’s ‘Part of Your World’ from The Little Mermaid could be called Balearic (or could it? Perhaps it’s the very definition of the genre!), all of a sudden, my ears pricked up at the familiar melody floating over the airwaves. As I followed the direction of hundreds of mobile phones being directed at the pool, I realised it was indeed the same song, only being performed live, in Spanish… by a bearded merman! Señor Ariel’s performance culminated in a dive into the pool, emerging with perfect hair to be carried by his hunky man-in-waiting to a throne on wheels waiting to take him back to Atalntis. Weird, wacky and wonderful… Although I have no idea what it had to do with Ibiza classics, I say bravo Señor Ariel, bravo! Donde estas Sebastian?
Finally, when the moon had risen high above and the sky was twinkling with stars, the familiar bars of Fatboy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now echoed from the stage, where The Heritage Orchestra had taken their places and kickstarted their performance with a massive burst of energy. Pete took to the microphone immediately, his familiar voice welcoming the huge crowd to the event, and then it was all over to Jules Buckley – who, might I add, seemed to be attracting quite a lot of attention from the ladies in the audience – to take control of the stage. Track after track of island anthems whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Very early on, Pete Tong made a touching tribute to the late Robert Miles (“He loved Ibiza so much.”) as the band launched into Children. For me, the real goosebump moment came with Moby’s Go. All of a sudden, I was back in 2007, and although there was so much to watch on the stage (or through the thousands of mobile phones held up in front of me), I just had to close my eyes and feel the music. At times throughout the night, the voices of the crowd (my own included) would drown out the live vocals coming from the stage, and although they may not have had the skills of the professionals on stage, there was something equally as touching about the way this music had the power to unite people under the Ibiza sky.
It was the kind of night Ibiza legends are made of, that’s for sure, however if you weren’t lucky enough to be in the crowd, I am 100-percent certain you’ll still get goosebumps just from viewing the videos of those in the crowd, just the way I did back in 2015 from the Royal Albert Hall. What an enormous pool of talent, right there, right now. Who knew classical musicians (and their conductors) could be young, cool and into electronic music… encore une fois?