Time just flies when you’re having fun, don’t you think? This year saw the annual electronic music awards ceremony switch venues for the first time in its two-decade history, moving to the whizz-bang surrounds of new clubbing kid on the block, Hï Ibiza in Playa d’en Bossa, to celebrate its 20th Anniversary edition.
It’s always interesting to see a well-known event or brand evolve – you never quite know what to expect and it’s nice to be surprised. Just like the awards venue itself, which was only five months ago transformed from what was the hallowed site of Space Ibiza into what is undeniably now one of the very best clubs in the world, it was about time (in my humble opinion anyway!) the DJ Awards had an upgrade. After 20 years they seemed to have outgrown the intimate size of previous venue Pacha Ibiza and in order to continue to grow and gain respect among the international dance music community, they needed a more fitting setting. The event began with a pre-award shindig in the beautiful Hï Ibiza Magic Garden, complete with all your favourite (well, definitely my favourite!) DJs mingling and doing little mini-interviews in the teepees. From midnight, guests were ushered inside to the VIP booths by the Kryptonite Girls – a set of leggy, sultry, clubby, glamazon Tinkerbelles (aka Hï Ibiza dancers transformed for the occasion to match the colour of the awards) – to the main dance floor, where canapes and cava were being circulated (I remember thinking, ooh don’t mind if I do – however the next day I wished they hadn’t been quite so generous, as readers of my blog last week may remember!).
Let me pause for a moment just to tell you about my outfit drama of the evening (no, not the impossibly high heels, this is yet another tale – bear with me! Or read ahead if you just want to get to the point). You know when you turn up to a party and you’re twinning with someone else (bound to happen when both of you spend a significant amount of weekend hours in Zara) – well imagine my complete dismay to discover I’d come dressed in the EXACT SAME shade of Tinkerbelle green as the Kryptonite girls (and yes, mine was indeed Zara, circa 2010 but I am sure theirs were not)! There were at least nine of them, towering over me by about 10 inches – and the fact I’d chosen to wear a 1970s style shift dress with black tights, while they all had various lengths of long, tanned limbs exposed (no to mention cleavage) made me feel as though I had come dressed as Tinkerbelle’s bibbity bobbity fairy godmother. Or at least her chubby little seamstress. Anyway, I digress… Oh but just one more thing on fashion, since we’re on the topic now. Speaking of outfits – what did everyone think of presenter Lucy Horobin’s err, front-less frock? From the dance floor, she looked a smoking-hot bombshell, but I think her stylist didn’t consider what it would look like from the oh-so-high vantage points of the Hï Ibiza VIP booths, where all the nominees (and me!) were seated. But seriously – I understand an asymmetric cut, but when did presenters start to wear bum-capes? (Sorry Lucy – I do think you looked beautiful and you certainly looked better than me, I just thought it was a questionable choice for the occasion!) Oh well – the event is all about the music anyway, right?
While I can’t lay claims to have been to every DJ Awards ceremony, I am someone who has attended enough to count them on two hands and I have to say, the 20th Anniversary Edition catapulted the event to the next level. The production was amazing – no matter where you were in the room, you could see and hear everything that was happening, from the amazing Henry Saiz band performing live as guests mingled on the dance floor (seriously epic) to the cool projections on the mega LED screens and the incredible sound. As always, the ceremony itself seemed to be over in a flash – although it grows bigger and bigger each year, dance music seems to be an industry that doesn’t require seven minutes per winner to thank their ‘people’ (and/or the universe and God). They were all short and sweet speeches, many of them quite touching, from very well-deserved winners, especially the honorary 20th Anniversary Award created especially for DJ Alfredo. If you look at the island’s history and heritage, it may quite possibly be true that without Alfredo, absolutely none of the winners over the past 20 years would have been here at all. About time!
After co-host Des Paul suggested a 20th Anniversary cake was about to be presented to the winners, I had visions of someone wheeling out a giant birthday cake and Carl Cox popping out, Dita Von Teese style, however it was not to be. Cue instead a giant projection of an exploding cake, thousands of pieces of ticker-tape floating down onto the dance floor and an instantaneous party, complete with ever-so-humble winner of Best Tech House DJ Luciano hitting the makeshift decks on the stage straight away – a surefire way to keep everyone in the room rather than dispersing off into the Ibiza night. Within a few hours, it was clear that for islanders, the Wild Corner (aka the toilets with the DJ booth) was once again the place to be. If there were an award for best toilets in Ibiza (hmm, I smell an idea for a future blog! Err, perhaps not the best choice of words), there is no doubt this little dark room with a big sound system would win. In here, last year’s winner of Best Ibiza DJ Mr Doris was sharing the booth with this year’s joint winners, Graham Sahara and Paul Reynolds to a room full of friends, family and long-term fans who were all happy to see them waving the glowing Es Vedra shaped Kryptonite statues around (and occasionally dropping them). Although the DJ Awards celebrate dance music culture all around the world (and rightly so), there’s still something so special about being immersed right here in the heart of it, with all the people (behind the scenes as well as in the booth) who are the backbone of the clubbing world. Congrats to all of the winners and see you again next year! I’ll be the one in the flat shoes and dress that blends into the walls…