I thought my clubbing days were over in my 50s, but I made an exception for Ibiza this season

Back on the White Island for Pacha’s 50th birthdaye birthday, I was about the same age as the walls around me. But there’s something about a harsh drum beat at full volume over a finely tuned sound system, a bassline full of menace and sex, and that terrible, sinful snare construction that crackles with tension suppressed, ripping roll after roll after roll after roll, louder and louder and faster and faster until it fills your ears with its inhuman crescendo and boom! Dear Lord, I was dancing.

What was I doing? Trying to relive my youth on the dance floor at the epicenter of Ibiza’s bohemian party culture? Was I overexcited? Was it time to go home? But then, as the crowd surged around me, I realized that Ibiza’s dancefloors were still truly democratic. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how old you are, whether you’re gay, straight, black, white – even a squid-headed alien – as long as you want to cast a few shapes rather than a lot of attitude.

Pacha is the best place to try to understand the mystery of Ibiza, the third largest of the Balearics. Having previously managed clubs on the Spanish mainland, club founder Richardo Urgell moved to Ibiza in 1972, bought deserted land across the port of Ibiza and built the club in the style of an old local finca. “There wasn’t even a road,” laughs Francisco Ferrer Arabi, ambassador of the Pacha brand. Arabi was nine at the time and first went to Pasha for one of the children’s discos organized for the locals during the winter. “Everyone thought he was crazy.”

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