Spain returns to live music but not to Ibiza
For months, regional authorities in the Balearic Islands, including Ibiza, have been arguing with club owners over whether and how to revive their party nights without risking a further rise in COVID-19 infections, which according to claimants. local authorities, could damage reputation in the long run. from Ibiza. More than any other music market in Spain, the island relies on tourists, especially from the UK and Ireland.
In early June, Spain reopened its borders to vaccinated visitors from the United States and most other non-European Union countries. The easing of travel restrictions has also extended to cruise ships which will again be allowed to dock in Spanish ports.
For visitors from countries known to have a higher COVID-19 infection rate, the test hurdle has also been lowered to an antigen test rather than the more expensive PCR test. But Britain has so far kept Spain off its green list of countries from which no quarantine is required on return, to the frustration of the Spanish islands who hoped their low infection rates would be viewed favorably. by the British government. (In the first two weeks of June, the Balearic Islands recorded 39 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants, or about a third of Spain’s national average of 105 cases.)
The British decision struck us as “like a pot of cold water poured over our heads”, says José Luis Benítez, the vice-president of Spain Nightlife, an association of owners of Spanish clubs. “Of course people feel tense with so much uncertainty knowing that it takes a month or two to prepare a club. “
Different regions of Spain have implemented a patchwork of rules and timetables for the opening of clubs and bars, as well as music festivals and other concert halls.
In Madrid, whose regional politicians have defied the central government and kept most venues open during the pandemic, nightlife almost looks like it was before the pandemic, though clubs and concert halls are being forced to limit capacities to 75% and apply other rules, including the compulsory wearing of a face mask indoors. From July 6 to August 29, Madrid will also host Veranos de la Villa, a cultural festival that was abandoned last year and which includes several music concerts by mainly Spanish artists like the group. Cariño and Carmen Linares, a flamenco singer.
In Barcelona, Spain’s most visited city and the regional capital of Catalonia, the reopening has been more timid, held back by cautious regional officials who have also closed bars and restaurants for much longer than in Madrid. Most clubs aren’t expected to be operating again until the end of June, and some big music festivals like Sonar and Primavera Sound – whose headliners included Megan Thee Stallion, Tame Impala and Dua Lipa – have already decided to push their backs. see you later. summer, or even until 2022 in the case of Primavera Sound.
At least three festivals will take place this summer in Catalonia, from July 8 to 10 in Barcelona with the Cruïlla festival, which mainly features local Spanish artists and plans to host 75,000 people over three days.
Even though the pandemic means most Spanish artists perform this summer, some Latin stars are also touring mainland Spain, including Nicky Jam and Camilo (eight dates in July and six more in September). Iron Maiden and Rufus Wainwright have also scheduled dates in Spain this summer.
But the situation remains murky for Ibiza, where entertainment is a bargain of 770 million euros. During its 22-week music season, DJs tour seven days a week at eight main clubs – including Amnesia, Privilege, DC10, Hï and Ushuaia – as well as dozens of sunset bars and after-party venues. -party. In recent years, the island has also attracted big Latin stars like Bad Bunny and Natti Natasha.
Ibiza bets on trial event to persuade officials
Island developers are hoping that an open-air test event for up to 2,000 people on June 25 at Ibiza’s Hard Rock Hotel will change the minds of cautious local authorities. If the ’80s Kids’ party turns out to be successful – which would mean no new clusters of COVID-19 infection could be traced back to the event – club owners say they could reopen the outdoor sites in mid-July, then the indoor sites in August.
The Ibiza lawsuit comes three months after a 5,000-person pilot rock concert was held by Love of Lesbian in Barcelona. Local politicians had agreed that the concert should be treated as a litmus test, under the close supervision of health experts. Six people tested positive for COVID-19 after the concert, which was considered a positive result.
“We are now reaping the fruits of our efforts,” said Jordi Herreruela, the director of the Cruïlla festival. “Maybe the lesson is that instead of waiting for politicians to legislate, the right approach was to have trials as early as possible to generate activity, excitement and show that things can work. after all.”
Yet among the leaders of the Ibiza club, the frustration is palpable. No club has announced its opening date, in light of ongoing negotiations with politicians to give the green light to any mass indoor event. But a sign that schedule planning is in shambles, Amnesia is already selling tickets for a closing season party October 23, with Jamie Jones, The Blessed Virgin and Adam beyer. Some music industry executives question whether local officials see the pandemic as an opportunity to move forward with an upgrade to the archipelago’s tourism model.
At the start of last year, even before the pandemic swept across Europe, the Balearic Islands introduced a law to ban pub tours, party boats and happy hours – for up to five years – also to deter the British and other tourists who come to the islands to party and have a drink. The local government has decreed that establishments in areas that sell alcohol should close between 9:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. Business owners breaking the rules face fines of up to 600,000 euros ($ 727,000) and shutdowns of up to three years.
“Right now, we literally don’t know overnight what to believe,” says Evans. “I don’t even know if the main fear is that no one wants to be blamed for a new one [COVID-19] vague or if some local people think clubbing is actually not that important to the island. (With Ibiza still on the back burner, Evans says Amnesia is focusing on events in Miami and Croatia, where she is hosting a July 1-5 weekend at a 17th century fortress on the island of Pag.)
Some musical artists who live on the island, like DJ Sasha, have noted the island’s dramatic change without the club scene. Despite “a few secret parties” on the island, last year “it felt like Mother Nature was claiming the island,” Sasha said. Billboard in May. “The water was clear. There was no garbage or pollution.”
The Balearic Islands regional tourism ministry declined to speak to Billboard. In early June, Patricia gomez, the region’s health minister, said the nightlife posed “a lot of risk” which meant that no club, at this point, could reopen.
Victor Agudo, the general manager of Pacha, one of the main clubs in Ibiza, said that the Hard Rock trial was coming “late”, especially for a club which normally employs around 300 people for its summer season.
Agudo says Pasha still hoped to break even this year, but “making a profit is a pipe dream.” For Pacha and most of the other clubs, the long wait also creates problems for their visiting DJs, who would sign contracts anyway with a COVID-19 clause that allows the club to opt out if faced with another. health emergency. Agudo says Pasha will make a final decision on reopening around mid-July.
“We have historical ties with a lot of artists and DJs, and I think they understand this situation, and of course DJs are very flexible and used to take a flight here, in Mykonos, Tel Aviv or anywhere. “said Agudo. At the same time, however, “there are a lot of DJs who either want to have the full club experience (perform in front of a large crowd of dancers) or prefer not to play any music at all”.