BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong was drawn into a small war of words this week whilst at the International Music Summit after describing San Antonio as ‘disappointing’ and ’embarrassing’.
I don’t know Mr Tong personally and I’ve been told by many friends that he is a good guy and has ‘done a lot to put Ibiza on the map’ but our town can really do without his snide asides and backhanded compliments. The reaction from San Antonio locals was predictably strong, shouting him down and berating his not too successful (and very expensive) ‘Wonderland’ night at Eden a few years ago.
Of course it’s a free world and everyone is entitled to an opinion and I’m sure that Mr Tong and his band of merry men have had their comments taken out of context and didn’t intentionally go out to ‘bad mouth’ our little town but his comments are endemic of a wider problem, namely that San Antonio is an easy target especially within certain sections of the media and entertainment world.
Have you heard the story of the famous DJ (not Mr Tong btw) who will play ANYWHERE in the world EXCEPT San Antonio? He will play Wolverhampton, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton, Folkestone, Glasgow but not San Antonio because it’s ‘bad for his reputation’. Let that sink in a for a minute and you will start to understand the image problem we have amongst those who are paid plenty to arrange and play music to a crowd. They are not bothered about anywhere else but as soon as it comes to Ibiza there’s a strict hierarchy put in place by their management and hangers on.
You know who they are, you can picture them sitting around their VIP tables in London and when someone talks about Ibiza they get all animated and tell you that it’s the most amazing place in the world but then San Antonio is mentioned, the sneers and the “Oh but I don’t go there” comments start. These are the same people who regularly frequent Mambo, Pikes, Ibiza Rocks, Sa Capella, Villa Mercedes and other places but in their words “that’s not really San Antonio though is it?”
Well I’m afraid it is San Antonio, glorious in its flawed entirety and for all it’s faults has far more positives than negatives but ‘they’ don’t like to talk about that because it’s cool to have a sly dig and insinuate otherwise.
There’s not one place on the island that doesn’t have a compromise: Bossa, San An, Santa Eulalia, San Carlos, Portinatx, wherever. All amazingly different places and all catering to different markets but all are not for everyone. Bossa has more problems than it’s willing to admit to but this is counterbalanced by world class venues and a lovely mile long beach. Ibiza Town has many social issues but also has the most amazing old town, vibrant commerce and a real cosmopolitan buzz. San An has plenty of challenges but also some incredible bars, restaurants, amazing natural scenery, a friendly ex-pat population plus the most famous sunset in the world.
But it’s just not cool to talk up San An because ‘they’ want you to believe otherwise but we on the West Coast have broad shoulders and will carry on doing our thing and banging the drum and improving year on year and when they eventually do come and see us, we will smile at the ‘pleasantly surprised’ comments about San An’s laid back attitude, incredible geography and a willingness to not take itself too seriously. Shame we can’t reciprocate the compliment to Mr Tong and friends.