Ibiza: How it all began

Join us as we delve into Ibiza's clubbing history to find out how this small Balearic island became the centre of the world's clubbing community.

Jayne Robinson

Last updated: 15th May 2024

Ever wondered about the history of Ibiza’s clubbing scene? 

Ibiza has been a haven for music lovers, clubbers, and partygoers for decades. But with its ability to welcome and cater for pretty much every niche, it’s easy to get caught up in the metamorphism and forget about the rich history that engulfs the walls and beaches of the island. How is it that this small Balearic Island became such a music Mecca? And when did it happen? 


When did Ibiza become popular? 


Photo: Pacha Ibiza / Facebook.com, captioned "Ibiza in the 70s"

Most people associate Ibiza’s popularity with 70s hippies. However, the island was already bustling in the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and early sixties - when Ibiza life was quite a bohemian affair. Pioneers, writers, painters, and other artists were working and enjoying life from the magic White Island way before the hippies came. Beatniks from the US had also moved to Ibiza, fleeing enrolment from the Vietnam War before the arrival of the flower people.

Ibiza's genuine isolation since the Spanish Civil War also meant that pioneer travellers were more than tolerated - they were positively welcomed. The 1960s saw Ibiza start to boom with the 'flower power' revolution, which saw stacks of forward-thinking hippies from across Europe descend on the Balearic Island, attracted by its laid-back attitude, unspoilt natural beauty and probably its great weather.

The 70s saw the real arrival of the tourist boom that has continued ever since. It also saw the opening of the discos, which would define the history of Ibiza clubbing to the present day. 


Photo: Ibiza Rocks / Facebook.com 

A vital but often forgotten part of Ibiza’s evolution is the rock ‘n’ roll of the 70s and 80s, which saw plenty of rock icons visit the island, particularly the iconic hotel Pikes, for ridiculously long parties and performances. Freddie Mercury threw a wild 41st birthday party at Pikes, Eric Clapton was rumoured to have died in a shipwreck when arriving on the island on a boat with George Harrison in 1977, and Wham! filmed their ‘Club Tropicana’ music video at Pikes. Rock’s influence continued into the 90s and 00s with Ibiza Rocks bringing over Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks to perform. It was only when dance music broke America that the island shifted focus to electronic dance tunes and DJs.

Rave made it big in the 80s, Balearic house really emerged in the 90s, and today, an eclectic mix of people and musical styles spanning hip-hop, UKG, hard techno, DnB, and more make it a massive tourist industry and one of the most fascinating and mind-blowing places to visit.


How did Ibiza become a party island? 


Photo: Pacha / Facebook.com, captioned "80s in Pacha Ibiza"

The main pioneers of clubland in Ibiza were the large clubs of Amnesia and Pacha, which opened in the 1970s. Shortly afterwards, Ku Club joined the scene - now better known as Privilege - and gradually the reputation of the clubs spread as they quickly became fashionable, attracting the rich and famous to experience the island's lively nightlife. 

The first club to be opened in Ibiza was Pacha. The first Pacha opened in the mainland Spanish beach town of Sitges in 1967. Six years later, during the hippy movement, Pacha arrived in Ibiza. Even then, Pacha was already a burgeoning empire, with clubs on the mainland. Pacha was opened by the Urgell brothers, Ricardo and Piti, the latter also being the founding DJ.

Amnesia closely followed in 1976. Somewhere inside the club still lurks the magnificent 18th-century country house (finca) that underwent a multi-million transformation back in the seventies to become the legendary superclub. In April 1970, the Planells family, who had inhabited the house for five generations, decided to move into town and sell their home to a widow from an aristocratic background. A young man named Antonio Escohotado leased the premises for use as a ‘discotheque’. He wanted somewhere for people to go out at night and forget their problems, escaping from their normal lives. He called it The Workshop of Forgetfulness which would eventually become Amnesia.


Ibiza today


Photo: Ushuaïa Ibiza / Facebook.com

Today, the party island is full of vibrant, bustling clubs, including Eden, sister clubs Ushuaia and HiDC10Ibiza Rocks, and O Beach Ibiza, among others. Ibiza events range from eighteen-hour-long raves to glamorous poolside parties as the island only continues to evolve, offering heaven to almost any type of partygoer.

The hippies of Ibiza remain, only now you’ll find them spread across the island, living side by side with the other groups on the island. But, in many ways, the island has strayed from its bohemian roots toward an extravagant, dance music-fuelled party hotspot. Disco fiends, celebrities, and party-hungry revellers arrive in droves over the summer to be swept up in the island's outrageous party culture and bake on its warm sands. Despite Ibiza’s wild spirit, the island is a safe and accepting place where anyone can come to let their hair down.

As the island grows and thrives, and new generations move Ibiza forward, this little gem is unlikely to forget its roots and rich heritage. A heritage that truly makes Ibiza the special place it continues to be.



Ready to book your tickets for Ibiza’s best parties? Check out some of the best Ibiza events with the biggest DJs this year



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.








Header: www.amnesia.es 

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