Before EDC, there was and always will be Ibiza. Spain’s third largest Balearic Island is infamous throughout the world as a cultural mecca for electronic music with a legendary party scene, attracting a range of personalities from George Michael to Paris Hilton.
The island’s cultural beginnings can be traced to the ‘60s, though it was far from a party town back then. As peace, love and happiness was flowing through San Francisco with the rise of the hippie movement, Ibiza was emerging as a destination for free-thinking types around the world. Left-leaning thinkers like Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan flocked to the island long before DJs were spinning records there.
The party scene wasn’t born until the opening of Amnesia in 1978, playing an influential role in both Ibiza and the music world. By the time the late ‘80s rolled around, Ibiza cemented its status as a nightlife capital. Freddie Mercury held perhaps the most infamous party of the island’s history for his 41st birthday party at Pikes, ordering 350 bottles of Moët for 700 guests that included Jean Claude Van Damme, Boy George and Naomi Campbell.
It was around this time a London DJ named Paul Oakenfold took a highly influential trip to the island. Unlike the single-genre clubs back home, Ibiza’s culture embraced a variety of sounds, blending an eclectic mix of dance music called Balearic Beat, a mixture of early house music with rock, hip-hop, Europop and any other sound that struck the DJ’s fancy. Clubs like Pacha and Ku (now known as Privilege), in addition to DJ Alfredo’s groundbreaking style at Amnesia, had a big artistic impact on Oakenfold, who took the Balearic ethos back home to help spawn the UK’s rave scene and a new era of dance music.
One of the most treasured places on the island is Café del Mar, open for almost 35 years on the east coast of Ibiza in San Antonio. The open-air bar overlooks Caló des Moro, and is famous for its beautiful sunsets, spawning what is now known as the “Sunset Strip” with the opening of Mambo, Savannah, Kanya and numerous other lounges along the water. Café del Mar is also famous for its resident DJ, Jose Padilla, who helped create Balearic Beat and still serenades the bar with his pioneering chill-out style. In 2014, they started hosting official pre-parties for Pacha, Amnesia and Es Paradis. The bar also has a series of mix albums, showcasing their eclectic sound.
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