Every year truck loads of tourists from all over the world pack their party clothes and head for the Balearic Islands to dance until dawn at some of the best clubs in the world, but that definitely won’t be happening this year.
The Balearic Government is refusing to allow discos and clubs, to open their doors in 2020, and there’s even a possibility that they won’t open again until a vaccine is found for coronavirus.
Francina Armengol, President of the Balearic Government, asked the Ministry of Health not to allow nightclubs to open in phase 3, despite the fact that they were included in that part of the coronavirus de-escalation process.
"We are not in a position to allow nightlife, it is not a priority" said Armengol at the time and pointed out that many of the coronavirus outbreaks in other countries were linked to places where maintaining social distance was complicated.
Club owners are furious and claim that refusing to let them open will just force clubbers to party on the beach or in private villas.
Photos Courtesy: @MooseCampbell
The Tourism Sector accounts for more than 12% of Spain's GDP and clubs like BCM and Tito’s in Majorca and Pacha, Amnesia, Pikes, Hï and Ushuaïa in Ibiza are not only super-popular with tourists, the Nightlife Sector generates a whopping 20 billion euros, according to the National Federation of Leisure & Entertainment Businesses, or FNEOE.
The Federation has already warned that two thirds of clubs could go bust if they’re not allowed to open, putting 25,000 jobs at risk.
Even when clubs are eventually allowed to open they’ll be subject to extremely strict health and safety codes, which include mandatory face masks, only serving drinks with straws, forcing people to dance in marked off boxes, adding tables and chairs to prevent crowding, installing isolation booths for DJs, setting up more VIP areas to ensure social distancing and taking the temperature of partygoers at club entrances.
There’s also talk of cutting capacity to 30% which would make it virtually impossible to scare up an atmosphere in a big club, according to Des Mitchell who’s been the Resident DJ at BCM since 1989 and also does the drive time show on Radio One Mallorca from 6-8pm on weekdays.
“When you talk about Titos and BCM which are the clubs that I frequent and work, we would struggle and even Social would have a hard time. It’s not as big as those other guys, but even so, to get people in there and create entertainment and enjoyment would be a struggle and that’s hard for me to say because I’m part of that entertainment,” he said. “I really don’t know how it’s going to work. BCM holds 4-5000 people and all of a sudden they are only going to allow 1,000 tops? Clubbers would have to pay about 200 euros each in order for a club like that to survive.”
Ibiza is known the world over as “party central” there's tons of clubs all over the place and every single one of them is heaving all summer long, but will they survive?
Steve Altman is the Resident DJ for Soul Heaven at O Beach, he’s deejayed at pretty much every club in Ibiza, decked at two James Bond Film parties and worked with a whole bunch of A-listers, including Elton John and Tina Turner.
He says the big clubs have nothing to worry about, it’s the little places that will go bust without the constant supply of cold, hard cash from tourists to prop them up.
“It’s a hard one because most of the clubs are owned by really wealthy people who could sustain being closed for a season. Hi and Ushuaïa, are part of the Palladium group so they’re not going to go down, the family behind Amnesia are really wealthy and Pacha is owned by a major corporation so I can’t see them going bust either. But the little bars in the west end in San Antonio might be in trouble because I would imagine that there’s quite a few people there who are living pretty much hand to mouth and if they shut for the whole season it would throw them off kilter so much that they’d go skint. I think bars in Play d’en Bossa and San Antonio that are independent and not part of a huge corporation, are the ones that won’t make it,” says Steve.
Photos Courtesy: @MooseCampbell
Hï and Ushuaïa have already published a letter to clubbers telling they won’t be opening.
Others will more than likely be looking at ways to tighten their belts and minimise the shortfall in revenue once those speakers are banging again and one way they could do that is by not paying eye-watering fees for celebrity DJs.
“There are people like Carl Cox, who get paid €250,000 a night, but then Carl is an exception to the rule, he is the only DJ who could do his own party at Privilege and sell it out,” Steve tells me. “Privilege holds 10,000 people and they’re paying €60 a head to get in, so that’s €600,000 on the door alone, without the bar, so of course they’ll give Carl €250,000, because people are only going for Carl. Pete Tong gets about €50,000 I think and Guetta is about the same and then you go down to people like Purple Disco Machine at about €15,000 a set, but you can get the likes of David Penn or Sandy Rivera for €2,500.
DJ’s are ten a penny in Ibiza and some of the really talented ones have been hovering in the shadows for the longest time, desperate to show what they can do, so Clubs won’t have any problems at all finding people to take over the decks for less money.
“New people are coming through all the time, you see people on production like Darius Syrossian from Defected who’s huge and does great tracks and there’s other people coming through as well,” Steve tells me. “They’re already out there and they’ll get noticed more now, but DJs who want huge amounts of money won’t be working at all this year.”
Almost all of the big clubs in Ibiza used to be open air but a few years ago the Balearic Government forced them to put roofs on their venues.
“If Ibiza had just stuck to how it was with all the clubs being open air like Amnesia and Privilege, if they’d just carried on embracing that and not made everyone put roofs on their venues it would have been cool they would have had no issues,” Steve tells me. “They would have had the perfect situation, they wouldn’t have been inside, every club would have been outdoors and in theory it could have been the only resort that wasn’t affected this summer and everyone could go there knowing that they were outdoors anyway so it was as safe as houses and it would have been much busier. The Balearic Government really shot themselves in the foot with that decision.”
Photo Courtesy: @MooseCampbell
O beach has invested a ton of money in a new club called Bam-bu-ku which is aimed at families.
Have you heard about our brand new, tropical beach club Bam-Bu-Ku? Expect lady days, themed brunches plus more, in this palm paradise. Bookings coming soon! https://t.co/1r9b6xxjjt #ibiza #bambuku #bambukuibiza #paradisefound pic.twitter.com/6xcedWWQeZ— O Beach Ibiza (@OBeachIbiza) January 22, 2020