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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Andalucian Fair

Ibiza Local News

The last week of August in Ibiza and everything is starting to wind down. The summer rush is finally coming to an end and the temperatures will (hopefully) start to drop. It has been another hectic summer on the island, much like any other, despite initial fears that this season would be quieter than past years.

This week has seen the start of the fourteenth Andalucian Fair, which is taking place in the Recinto Ferial (Ibiza's exhibition and conference centre), near Ibiza Town. Every year, the Andalucian community living on the island gather for a week of flamenco music and dancing, accompanied by Andalucian food and plenty of wine.

The exhibition centre is divided into various stalls, each with their own music and special decoration. Local politicians and journalists are asked to choose the best stall and, every year, the competition to win first prize becomes more intense. This year, the prize has gone to Hermandad Rociera (the brotherhood of the patron saint of Andalucia) from San Antonio.

The fair runs until Sunday 2nd September and if you would like to sample some Andalucian delicacies and hear traditional flamenco music, I recommend a visit.

Unlike the Andalucian Fair, one event that did not get up and running this week was the planned traditional drum festival on the night of the full moon that takes place on the beach at Benirras.

These illegal parties have been taking place for many years, but this year the Guardia Civil (civil guards), acting on instructions from the Town Hall of San Juan, clamped down on the event after receiving complaints about the noise from the neighbours.

The "Friends of Benirras" have been attempting to hold full moon parties on the beach since the start of the summer but have not succeeded in out-witting the Guardia Civil who have baricaded of the area.

The party planned for Tuesday 28th August to coincide with the "International Drumming for Peace Day", was cancelled because the "Friends of Benirras" already knew that the police would not allow the party to go ahead. Instead, they held protest with hundreds of people gathering on the beach to take part in a mock funeral ceremony for one of their bongo drums, symbolizing the death of the event.

The drum was placed in a black velvet coffin filled with yellow feathers and carried to its burial site on the beach. Some of the attendants even dropped a few tears because, even though their fight to hold these parties goes on, some believe that this summer will mark the end to all out-door events, as MTV has found out to their cost this year.

Their festival planned for an open-air venue (like the past two years at Sa Pedrera, "the quarry"), was refused permission and, consequently, they were left with no choice but to stage the event in Privilege discotheque. This was not a suitable alternative as they had hoped for 20,000 people to attend the festival at San Rafael hippodrome and, because of the capacity restrictions at Privilege discotheque, only 4,000 people were able to be present. Why they were refused permission is still a mystery.

MTV did not panic and, after a lot of work, they transformed Privilege discotheque into a giant television studio and presented one of the best events to be staged on the island in recent years.

The night of Wednesday 29th August saw famous DJ's such as Carl Cox, Todd Terry, Mauro Picotto, Roger Sanchez and local DJ's Cesar del Rio and DJ Gee, among many others, keep the thousands of dance music fans who travel to Ibiza from all around the world entertained for 12 hours at Privilege and, a further 12 hours at Space discotheque the next morning and into the afternoon.

The famous New York DJ Roger Sanchez presented the festival for MTV, which included live sets from Faithless, Basement Jaxx and the Italian group Planet Funk. MTV will be broadcasting the festival to 342 million households around the world via MTV Networks and, also in the UK on Channel 4 in September.

An increase in the number of American, Canadian, East European and Australian tourists visiting Ibiza has been registered over the past two years and this is due, in no small measure, to people seeing Ibiza for the first time on MTV.

It is ironic that in a week when a large part of London is closed of to traffic as millions of people converge into Notting Hill for two days of dancing, loud music and street parades, and most cities in Europe are holding similar events, for example, "The Love Parade" in Berlin (2 million people), that a small one-day open-air festival for 20,000 people and a smaller party for a few thousand hippies can not be granted permission in Ibiza that, according to CNN (the worlds largest news broadcaster), is the dance music capital of Europe.

Talking about streets being closed of to traffic, the Town Hall in Ibiza has announced that on 22nd September, Ibiza Town will be closed to all cars. This is the day recognised throughout Europe as the day when cars are banned from all main city areas. The purpose is to reduce contamination and create a better city for everyone, even though it is only for one day. The Consell Insular (Island Council) hopes that drivers will use the public transport on that day and maybe realise that they can live without their cars.

Louise Wright