Before anyone says anything, yes I’m well aware I’ve already written a blog this past week about the Space Closing Fiesta. But after what went down on Sunday and Monday, some more dues have got to be paid, so I’m writing another! Plus, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to and I want to write about Space. Again (though to be safe, I ran the idea past Chief White first, and she was fine with it). So here goes… I’m going to start by telling the absolute truth. Despite all my pre-rave day, well, ravings about the party, I wasn’t expecting it to live up to the expectations I’d set. I had a sneaking suspicion it would be full of people getting way too high or way too aggressive. I thought it would be way too crowded full stop. I thought a lot of island people were going to boycott it because they couldn’t use their Space passes, blag the traditional resident’s free entry, couldn’t get a pre-sale ticket or thought it was too expensive. I thought there’d be a lot of VIP wannabe newbie Ibiza lovers. You know what I mean – sometimes these big events can attract ‘the wrong crowd’ due to over exposure (cue ‘it’s not like the old days’ from old timers). How very wrong I was to be proven. Hallelujah!
I was very fortunate to be whisked through the side entrance as a guest of one of the artists playing, which meant I could avoid the two to three hour wait on the queue to get in, during the early hours of the afternoon. Trust me when I say I am extreeeeemely grateful for this. Finding our way to the huge Flight Club arena in the car park, extended for the occasion, I prepared to battle crowds as I attempted to locate my friend Miss G, who was front and left of the stage. To my surprise, the dance floor was blissfully spacious – with thousands of people dancing, but with room to move between them thanks to all of the other five rooms being open at the same time. A few hours later, I would not be so lucky, as I tried to make my way back to her only to realise my attempt was fruitless, as the car park was body-to-body-to-body while Carl Cox played the closing set, dressed in Balearic all-white like his buddy, Space creator Pepe Rosello (do you think they called each other and coordinated?). This for me, was one of the first truly magical moments (aside from being whisked in the side entrance for free). As he closed his set with Frankie Knuckles’ Your Love (a perfect tribute to another king of dance) and segued into John Lennon’s Imagine as thousands and thousands of people sang along and waved their luminescent phones in the air (it was like disco karaoke, as the words were flashed up on screen!), I could feel the tears starting to well up. In the words of the big man himself, oh yes, oh yes!
But the magic didn’t stop as the music wound down, and a gospel choir, all dressed in white, made their way into position on stage. Billed as a ‘surprise live act’, many revellers were surprised, perhaps expecting a live singer or rapper, however I thought it was the perfect way to wind down the atmosphere in the car park as sound restrictions meant they had to lower the volume from midnight. I found out later on that each and every member of the choir was either a cancer patient or cancer survivor from the island – what an impressive show of strength and talent. As the choir left the stage, the massive lightshow was turned off and replaced by a simple screen that bore the words: 27 years have been brief, to remember and dream about them is forever. Being with all of you has meant everything!! Thank you. Cue more tears. To the right of the stage was a specially built VIP area, especially for Pepe’s family and friends, many of them elderly Ibicencos, dressed to the nines, sipping champagne and looking super emotional as they left the venue after the choir. Who said clubbing was for the young? I saw handsome older men and elegant ladies, draped in elegant lace shawls and walking on beautifully carved walking sticks – this was real European style, right there in the Space car park. Magic.
Sadly, the car park was closed down earlier than expected due to police intervention – despite advertising it would run until 5am, it was closed abruptly at 3.40am during Balearic legend Alfredo’s set, meaning the inside areas became pure bedlam for the next few hours. I was again grateful for the magic wristband that allowed me to skirt around the edges and not get caught in a can of sardines inside! You’d think the police would have been lenient, given it was THE last party ever… but I guess the law’s the law. Even magic can’t help you there. I’m going to fast forward now to 8am – you can check out some other popular dance music websites for more comprehensive musical reviews than mine – when we arrived on the Sunset Terrace for what was, quiet literally, the best four hours of a party I have ever experienced in my life. Island resident DJ Paul Reynolds was manning the decks, having scored an epic eight-hour set, which seemed kind of strange considering most other DJs were limited to between 30 and 45 minutes, but on conclusion, I’d have to say, it couldn’t have gone to a better DJ. Later, he was joined by the 2016 winner of Best Ibiza DJ Award, Mr Doris – whose set in the car park had been called off due to the fun police turning up – in a show of good karma. Or maybe more Space magic? Smashing it would be an understatement, as it was pure hands-in-the-air euphoria, with more and more people flocking into the room once they heard news of the atmosphere. It was the Space terrace of old. It was sunshine, smiles and happy faces. It was high heels next to trainers. Sequins and sparkles next to face paint and fancy dress. A collective of clubbers from all generations, united one last time under perhaps the most famous clubbing roof (or lack thereof in that room!) in the world.
There were giant Space flags flying in the wind from the fans, glistening in the rays of sunlight coming through camouflage canopied roof. There were bottles of hierbas, tequila and champagne being passed around and swigged from by one and all. There were people writing on the walls and the DJ booth like high school teenagers. There were mums and dads, fresh from the school run, ready for one last dance. There were hundreds of familiar island faces, all knowing that despite the King of Space, Carl Cox, playing his final ever set in the room next door, THIS was the room to be in. This was Space as we knew it. And as we’ll always remember it. The absolute highlight – according to the videos on my Facebook feed, as well as my memory – was when Reynolds dropped Love Is In The Air at around 10am. There was not a dry eye in the house, every single arm was in the air and yes, the air was indeed full of love. Love for the music, love for each other and love for Space Ibiza.
Of course, everyone who wasn’t there wants to know about last tracks. You can find them all over Youtube and Facebook by now, but in the Discoteca it was Carl Cox laying down Kings of Tomorrow’s Finally with Angie Stone’s Wish I Didn’t Miss You. But for those of us on that magical Sunset Terrace, it was Lionel Richie’s All Night Long (slightly ironic, since it was the middle of the day) as Paul Reynolds totally, and deservedly, stole Carl’s thunder (I mean come on – he has closed the club quite a few times this week already). Because nothing beats dancing in the sunlight on the Space Terrace, especially when you know, you can never repeat that experience again. Our very own Space-time continuum has come to an end. And now if you’ll excuse me, I just have to go and clean all the tears off my keyboard while keeping the words of Dr Seuss in my head to avoid it malfunctioning: Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. NB: Sadly, #occupyspace didn’t become a thing and the security eventually ushered everyone out for the last time (the lease is up and the new owners slash neighbours want in, I suspect!).
Photography courtesy of Space Ibiza – thank you… for everything!Part 2 – Farewell Space Ibiza
And you know what that means – the last ever party at Space Ibiza, as we know it. And more tears being shed as I write today’s blog. We’ve said goodbye to Glitterbox at Space. We’ve bid farewell to Sundays at Space (though we already technically said goodbye a few years ago when We Love Sundays called it a day). We’ve said adios to La Troya at Space. Afterlife is over, short and sweet (or dark) as it was. ONYX too (what WAS that all about?). Elrow knocked their closing out of the park last weekend and if you didn’t cry like a big bald baby as the final bars of The Doors’ ‘This is the end’ reverberated over the Discoteca at the hands of the king of Space, Carl Cox, well you just can’t be human. But this is something else. This IS the end.
The concept this year was Club 27, as Space Ibiza’s end has come as it turns 27, just as many of the world’s famed musical heroes passed away before their time at the same age – think Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and Amy Winehouse. And speaking of musical heroes, there are well over 100 DJs listed on the line-up and surely as I type, each and every one of them is currently plotting and planning their own last Space Ibiza set, trying to find the perfect final track to sum it all up. Mine would be Layo & Bushwacka’s Love Story – you don’t get much more of a Space anthem than that. Perhaps I should send a group email to the below list and see if there are any takers?
Wow. And they say there are more to be announced! At this rate, it seems like they’ll all get to play a 15-minute set.* But seriously – who will be dropping the final track? Carl Cox, of course… the pressure! What time will it actually carry on until? And will the general public just sit down and refuse to leave? #occupyspace could become a thing. Let’s MAKE it a thing. Readers of my previous lament may remember I wrote about my first ever Space Opening experience with my very good friend Miss G. She’s currently packing her suitcase and getting ready to jet into Ibiza especially for the occasion. As are thousands and thousands of other people from all corners of the globe, who just can’t bear the thought of this party taking place without them. I can’t imagine when Pepe Rossello transformed a humble convention centre into a nightclub in 1989 he would have envisioned having such a profound effect on so many people’s lives. Millions, surely. Me, definitely *wipes another tear away*. Perhaps it should be Pepe himself who chooses the last track to float across those hallowed airwaves. Frank Sinatra’s My Way perhaps?
So here we are. Three sleeps to go. The enormous Flight Club stage is currently under construction in the car park. History is in the making. As we prepare to enter an era in Ibiza without the greatest nightclub in the world, I find myself lost for words (for once) to sum up how I feel, so I leave you with the words of the great W. Axl Rose** – where do we go now? RIP SPACE IBIZA 1989 – 2016 *This is 100% not true. With six arenas and probably over 24 hours of operation, everyone will get their fair share of time on the decks! ** If you’re too young to understand the reference, you probably weren’t at Space in its heyday. Ask Google.The last ever Space Opening Fiesta
No matter what the future holds for the iconic superclub – turning into a night version of its neighbouring competitor, moving to San Antonio, moving to the airport, moving to Privilege, hanging on until New Year’s Day or just bowing out gracefully – this will be the very last time we get to celebrate the official summer season opening on those hallowed stomping grounds of a grimey Playa d’en Bossa car park. It was 10 years ago this week that I arrived in Ibiza, a fresh-faced clubbing enthusiast slash journalist, thinking I’d have a fun summer abroad before going back to my serious career in magazines. It was 10 years ago this week that my best friend Miss G and I checked into the Jet Apartments (yes, how our tastes have changed!) as ‘temporary’ accommodation while looking for a place to live (which was certainly a lot easier back then than it is now), dumped our bags and made the short walk up the deserted street (because back then the island was always a ghost town right up until the day before Space opening – how times have changed) to just gaze adoringly on what we thought of as our church. Who hasn’t had a religious experience at Space? I know I certainly spent the majority of my Ibiza summer Sundays there!
As we stood outside the eerily quiet building, I remember it started to rain. Ever since that day, whenever it rains at this time of year I find myself musing, “Oh yes it always rains around Space Opening,” as if I were a qualified weather girl, yet really just based on that one experience. I remember praying that it wouldn’t rain that coming Sunday, as I’d never been to the open-air Flight Club Arena before. I remember Miss G desperately trying to get a suntan on our tiny little balcony despite the rainclouds because god dammit it was Space Opening and she was going to be brown! 2006 wasn’t my first visit to Space, but it was my first time as an ‘Ibiza resident’. It felt different. It felt more special. It felt like… it was MINE. Space would go on to become a huge part of my life, as I ended up working there for many, many years – in many guises – originally just handing out flyers on the beach because I wanted a summer sabbatical (and I wanted to be brown too). I was in Ibiza. I didn’t want to write about it – I wanted to experience it!
Let’s fast-forward now to 2016. I’ve got half a mind to drive to Playa d’en Bossa right now and stand outside that club and see how different I feel ten years later. I never knew it at the time, but I was never going to go back to my home country. That season, Ibiza truly won my heart and soul and for that, I have Space to thank. I met my best friends – my Ibiza family – in Space. I’ve had the best times of my life in Space. Sure, I don’t go there as often as I used to anymore (eventually I swapped my flyers for the keyboard once again), but Space Ibiza – and by that I mean the iconic club in Playa d’en Bossa, not whatever its future incarnation may be – holds a very special place in my heart and it always will. As I’m sure it does for many people. DJs, promoters, workers, dancers, glass collectors (we love you!), sound technicians, the behind the scenes team and clubbers from all over the world. WE were ALL what made Space Ibiza amazing. We all have our own special and unique Space memories (in fact, there’s an entire Facebook group devoted to it). We all have our own Space.
So as this Sunday rapidly approaches, I find myself wondering. Should I do my best to preserve the memory of what will undoubtedly be one of the best parties in the world? Should I take notes, write a review, book a photographer to document every moment? No. When I think back to that very first cherished Space opening experience there were no notes, no cameras, no Shazam-ing the songs the DJs were playing. It was all about being in the moment, the experience. The right thing to do this Sunday is to get right back in the thick of it all and experience Space Opening Fiesta like it was the very first time again. Because it’s the very last time. We will NEVER get to do this again. So we should do it right. Who’s with me?