At the same time, Spanish authorities seemed keen to ban dancing as a way to limit the spread of the virus. In June, the Balearic government instructed venues to use dance floors as extra space for tables. “At one point it felt like they were trying to restrict dance music tourism,” says Neil Evans, artistic director at Amnesia. The government has banned party boats, which can no longer serve food or alcohol, and Ibiza is also experiencing a 10 p.m. curfew on businesses in Ibiza Town and San Antonio.
Partiers Head For Forests and Private Villas
Amnesia made headlines in June when it hosted an illegal gathering. Evans says it was easy to socially distance with 150 people in the 7,000-capacity club. The party went on through the night, ending at 7 a.m., when the police arrived.
With clubs closed down, club tourists have thrown parties in private villas up in the hills of the island, some with basements that lend themselves to clandestine gatherings. Parties are also happening outdoors in forests and more secluded residential properties.
While the clubs are still hedging their bets on reopening next year, some members of the island’s establishment have pushed authorities to change the longer-term culture of Ibiza by cracking down on clubbing tourism. Binge-drinking culture combined with mass tourism have become increasingly intolerable to some islanders, and the local government has been trying to remodel the island as a family-friendly tourist destination. Cheap, alcohol-fueled holidays may have met their demise.
Even before the pandemic took hold, authorities in January enacted a ban on pub crawls and happy hours in San Antonio. “This current situation is an opportunity for us to change our model, for the hotels to change the offers they make based on these, let's say, alcohol consumption and cheap holidays," Rosana Morillo, the Balearic Islands’ head of tourism, told CNN.
Gatherings are still possible, even with such limiting restrictions. It’s a far cry from a packed dance floor at DC-10, where there’s usually no space at all, with everyone tightly packed into the famous red-walled Terrace room. Or the jubilant atmosphere in the bathrooms at Hï, where the centerpiece is a fully operational DJ booth.