Secret parties in villas and boats: "the Pirates" that have taken over the business of the night in Ibiza

There are no discos, but the party goes on. Promise select guests, premium brand drinks and non-stop revelry enlivened by the best DJs. In return they only ask for discretion and an entry from between 40 and 60 euros or even more. The location is not known until a van takes the guest to the door of a villa in the middle of the field. From the outside, nothing suggests that inside, in an acoustically isolated basement, there are hundreds of people dancing and drinking. There is no mask, no safety distance, and no antigen test. Just a party like the ones before the pandemic.

“If you are in Ibiza, you will receive dozens of messages and proposals to go to illegal celebrations ”. It is the ‘dry law’ of the party. Out-of-control sprees in private villas, unlicensed premises or boats. Anything goes to replace the famous nightlife of Ibiza, seriously injured after chaining two summers with the padlock thrown.

“Ibiza without discos is a pack of pirates”, he sums up Jose Luis Benitez, Leisure Manager of Ibiza. The strict measures of the Balearic Government against nightlife – the discotheques carry closed 22 consecutive months– They have attracted unscrupulous businessmen to the Greater Pitiusa who organize private parties in private homes, country villas, unsuitable venues or yachts.

DJ Oliver talks about how many of his teammates have turned to illegal parties to survive.


It is not a new phenomenon, but the pandemic has given wings to this black market of the party. “This has always existed, but before everything was done in small committee because most of the people preferred to go to one of the big discos, but now there are hundreds of houses like this “, details DJ Oliver, one of the most prestigious musicians on the island with years playing in temples of the night like Amnesia, Space O Pacha.

The pandemic has not extinguished the desire to party and, in the absence of discos, many sign up for whatever. There are offers of all kinds, for every day of the week and they arrive through different channels. A private group within a social network, a proposal from a public relations person who goes to hotels in search of tourists, a WhatsApp from an acquaintance… “There are different diffusion groups of promoters from Ibiza or from abroad. They rent the house and then in the subway or a soundproof room, they throw the party. You only see the vans coming and going from that town, ”he bitterly details. DJ Oliver.

Private detectives

Administrations are powerless to stop the escalation of illegal parties. So much so that Consell of Ibiza he’s hiring private detectives to lend a hand to the police, who are overwhelmed by the proliferation of outlaw celebrations. The idea is that the investigators, probably coming from outside the island, track social networks to locate the place of celebration of the parties and notify the police. In addition, they will also infiltrate the houses as guests to burst the revelries from within and try not to celebrate.

“With the regulations that we have, you cannot enter a house even if the house is acting as a disco,” recalls the first vice president of the Consell de Ibiza and minister for Tourism Planning and the Fight against Intrusion, Mariano Juan. The Consell, in the hands of PP, criticizes the Government, a coalition of PSOE, We can and the nationalists of Month, for washing their hands and rejecting any proposal to solve the problem.

“It is not our competence, but since they have left us alone, we will have to solve it alone”, regrets Juan, who has even considered cutting off the electricity to the houses while the party is being held because he understands that at that time it is no longer a private house, but “An undercover disco”.

This type of illegal parties moves more and more money. Tickets have multiplied their price and it is expected that they will continue like this, once it seems confirmed that the clubs will not open this summer either. The organizers, mostly from abroad, work in the black economy and can pay higher salaries.

The last parties in the clubs of Ibiza were in September 2019.

The last parties in the clubs of Ibiza were in September 2019.


For this reason, for example, it is difficult to find professional waiters in Ibiza because in a single day at this type of party they win 500 or 600 euros clean, that is, a third of your monthly salary in a legal establishment. The same happens with DJs who, after months and months stuck in their homes without working, find a way of income free of taxes.

“These are things that have come to stay,” Benítez laments, “because if it is not stopped now that there is a serious health problem, when it is only a question of taxes or security, you will tell me …”.

The administrations want to “get their hands on it”, but they don’t know how. And meanwhile, ‘legal’ employers and workers feel they are “Paying the duck”. “It has been shown that the outbreaks are not the fault of leisure, because in the Balearic Islands it has been closed and there are still rebounds,” insists Benítez, who believes that with open leisure “it could have been much more controlled by complying with the measures.”

“If you open the clubs, this massive illegal parties is cut off”, underlines DJ Oliver from the recording studio that he has at home, where he now spends hours and hours “to get some money” because he has not worked for 18 months , paying the freelance fee and without aid.

The Ibizan nightclubs closed in October 2019 and nobody knows when they will reopen. It was scheduled to do just this week, after a long wait and several successful pilot tests both in Ibiza like in Mallorca. But the brutal growth in the incidence of coronavirus in the Balearic Islands has ruined the forecast.

The mega-outbreak caused in Mallorca by students on their end of studies trip and the explosion of cases in Menorca after the bottles that replaced the suspended festivities of Saint John They have caused, as if it were an insular butterfly effect, a wave of infections in Ibiza. In fact, this week the capital of the Greater Pitiusa had the dubious honor of being the Spanish city with the most unleashed Covid thanks to a percentage increase in the incidence of the pandemic of 348%.

Interior of the main hall of the Amnesia nightclub, which has been unopened for 22 months.

Interior of the main hall of the Amnesia nightclub, which has been unopened for 22 months.


Ibiza started this new wave later, so the Health department fears that it will be the last to leave. “It could take a little longer to overcome this wave,” said Javier Arranz, the spokesman for the Balearic infectious diseases management committee, a few days ago.

After having imposed the toughest restrictions in Spain to save the tourist season, the Balearic government He does not want to go back, but he does not want to advance in the de-escalation either. “We rule out opening the nightclubs for now,” confirms the Minister of the Interior, Mercedes garrido.

The next review of the measures will be at the beginning of August, so as soon as the hand would be raised at the end of the month or at the beginning of September, when the discos should already have had their best moment and are approaching the end of the season.

500 million euros

A part of Ibiza’s nightlife has been reinvented to be able to get out of the way. Ushuaïa opens its doors this Saturday the 31st, transforming its large dance floor into a restaurant with musical entertainment. After 21 months in the dry dock, the famous Sant Jordi hotel-club changes DJs for chefs, as has already done Pachá Group that, although it keeps its nightclub closed, organizes dinners with musical shows in restaurants such as Cabaret Mess or the Hotel Resort Destino, O Amnesia, with the Cova Santa.

But most of the nightlife is still closed. The big clubs hold out because they have a lot of financial muscle thanks to pre-pandemic profits. In fact, some maintain dozens of employees throughout the year despite not unopened since October 2019. But for other workers, direct and indirect, the situation is dramatic because they chain months without employment and without aid.

The nightlife sector generates the 35% of employment in Ibiza and its weight in the island’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is around 35%, with an annual turnover of 500 million, according to a study by Carles Manera, Professor of Economics at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB). The expense of a musical or leisure tourist is double that of an average family who chooses Ibiza to enjoy the sun and the beach.

No one has made calculations of what it can assume have the clubs closed two summers in a row. “It will be seen in the future, because without them we are a destination equal to many, without a differentiating element. And with discotheques, the flats are rented more expensively and faster, there are more high-level restaurants, there are more excursions… ”, point out the leisure entrepreneurs. “Ibiza lacks life without discos. It is its main attraction and it feeds a lot of people directly or indirectly ”, adds DJ Oliver.

Meanwhile, the Ibizan economy holds up as best it can and, in fact, the island is one of the tourist destinations with the lowest drop in visitors compared to 2019. “The world does not end without nightclubs. We miss them, but we will survive ”, the vice president of the Confederation of Business Associations of the Balearic Islands (CAEB) points out to the Diario de Ibiza. José Antonio Rosselló. But when reviewing the microeconomics, the situation is much darker. There are more than 10,000 temporary workers less than in a normal month of June and unemployment triples that of the same month of 2019.

Large nightlife groups diversify their businesses to cushion losses.  In the image, the Hotel Pachá

Large nightlife groups diversify their businesses to cushion losses. In the image, the Hotel Pachá


One of the groups that suffers the most from the closure of nightclubs is that of DJs. “We are the plagued: unable to work and without help.” Only 20% of DJs are working this summer, according to data provided by Dipef (Associació de DJ i Productors d’Eivissa i Formentera). This entity was created recently as a result of a controversial agreement of the Government that prohibited them ‘expressly’ from working, although it was later modified after the protests.

Businessmen, DJs and other workers demand that the Government open nightlife for vaccinated with double guidelines or that they use the passport Covid. “There is no excuse for 2021. We should have been a little more forward-looking and created a bubble from the first minute of this year. We are an island! ”Benítez laments.

“In other places they have everything open and they are better. It is to think badly and to believe that politicians are using the pandemic to change tourism ”, DJ Oliver distrusts while preparing in his study the first session after the pandemic, on August 14. In Andorra. What song will I start with? It is clear to me: an unpublished song by Sandy Rivera ”, he reveals without hesitating for a second. The song has no name because it will come out in November, when Ibiza hibernates again with the hope of having a summer like the old ones again.


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