Ibiza, an island on the Spanish coast known for its techno, house and hedonism, saw a major shift in the way that thousands of ravers hit the location this year—thanks in part to Ibiza Rocks.
The hotel and all-round clubbers' paradise is in its tenth year of business and, from what I've been hearing, its most successful season yet. Situated in San Antonio, The Rocks, which has more than 350 rooms that sleeps three people and can fit another 1,000 in the pool-laced arena, is a one-stop-shop haven for millenialls, ones who want nothing more than a great time in the sun. And in 2016, that's exactly what they got: live performances from AJ Tracey, Wiley, Slimzee, Katy B, Toddla T and more lit up the main stage across the summer, including a weekly residency from R&B legend Craig David and chart-topping grime prince Stormzy.
From all of my years going to Ibiza, partying hard with the #squad and seeing people getting off. their. rockers, it was refreshing to experience much calmer surroundings; a new DJ waking you up every morning to the sounds of '80s disco, '90s rap, grime, and even some commercial house and pop. Complex caught up with Jordan Hallpike, the director of talent at Ibiza Rocks, to find out how 2016 became their biggest year and what they have in store for the one ahead. Plus, on the flip side, peep our picture review of the last few days of hype on the island.
How do you go about booking the talent for Ibiza Rocks each year?
Our events at Ibiza Rocks are extremely diverse; from superstar festival headliners like Faithless, the coolest acts on the planet—in my opinion—like LCD Soundsystem, urban and grime acts like Stormzy and Wiley, breakthrough acts like Jack Garratt and Wolf Alice and, of course, the new emerging talent that excites us like The Age of LUNA and Jay Prince. It's important that we look at the big acts who are touring during our summer season and have new material out around that period, but equally important that we have our ear to the ground through the winter, going to lots of gigs and really getting a feel for what might pop the following summer. Predicting trends is extremely important to us.
2016 was quite grime and urban music-heavy, which isn't the norm for Ibiza being the house and techno mecca that it is. How have you managed to pull it off?
Ibiza Rocks has always been a champion of exciting new music. When we first came to the island over 10 years ago, we brought guitar music to Ibiza for the first time in a hugely electronic-dominated world. A few years later, we started to bring bass acts over to the island for the first time. The likes of Chase & Status, Skream, Benga, Pendulum and a host of others all played their first shows in Ibiza for us and we were really the first promoters to take a chance on this type of music. Fast forwarding to 2016, and we are again at the forefront of an emerging scene and culture on the island. Grime is not a genre you would instinctively associate with Ibiza, however we've had some incredible parties this year; Stormzy and co. found a real place on the island with us. 2,000-plus people chanting grime lyrics in Ibiza is something I didn't think I'd ever see. For us, it's always about bringing energy to our events, keeping things fresh and not being afraid to take risks.
What do you have planned for next season?
One of our biggest and most successful events of the summer has been our Craig David TS5 Pool Party. The fun and energy that comes with a 6-hour pool party is just so refreshing to the island. I love to get my head down and pound out a good dance in a dark club, just like the next raver, but being able to dance in the sun with a cocktail, by a pool under the Balearic sunshine is just unbeatable. Next year, expect us to come up with some new and exciting concepts around the Ibiza Rocks Pool as well as continuing to bring over some of the biggest live acts around and the most exciting young talent.