The Trouble with San An….

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.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

14 thoughts on “The Trouble with San An….”

  1. He’s played in San An every year I’ve been there.

    Out of every DJ I’ve had the pleasure or in some cases to speak to or work with or for he is certainly in the top 5 for being friendly and down to earth.

    Like a really normal guy.


      1. The fact you included this line in your article….

        “He will play Wolverhampton, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton, Folkestone, Glasgow but not San Antonio because it’s ‘bad for his reputation’. ”

        ….makes you no better! Your moaning about these comments yet you do the exact same thing here, insinuating these places are not as worthy as San An to host DJs. That you can even list Glasgow in this is just laughable.

        Double standards mate


  2. Absolutely spot on Martin
    San Antonio has too many amazing places to mention, in a very small area ..

    But the emphasis is ( and always will be ) on one stip of path 100 m long at 0500 in the morning ….
    The same strip of path every town anywhere has

    If the ibiza powers could dispense with the street selling slime then for me there’s nowhere finer

    And you are quite right shaggy …mambos is in San an mr Tong .. The place you go every year and VIP it up


  3. As much as I prefer the culture of Ibiza town, San an does offer some beautiful scenery , sunset, restaurants, bars etc , and yes it has its young loud element but we were all young once mr tong as I remember early 80’s milk bar San an when himself raved about the Balearic music he heard and himself , okenfold, dorrel took it back to London, so short memories from the elite few… San an continues to improve its image and will always have a special place in my memory bank


  4. Have to agree that Pete is a star. So involved with the islands history and I thank him for that.

    But… Ibiza is different to different people. I spent 40 days travelling to the island by skateboard last year and immediately headed north when I finally arrived. I spent time living with hippies in Portinaxt, a few nights in Santa Eularia and elsewhere but it wasn’t until I got back to San An that I felt that buzz that I’d been missing.
    Yes, it smelt. Yes, it was embarrassing and No, I didn’t like the muscle vests, steroids and fake tan. I don’t like the crime, vomit or blatant drug dealing but it was easy to ignore all that.
    The vibe created by the workers, the lack of care and VIP bullsh!t keeps it fresh and real.
    Personally, I’m more upset about Playa den Bossa and the direction that is heading. After all, I’m not “Very Important”, just average and happy with that.

    Maybe I have bad taste or maybe my memories of San An are just too strong but I can’t wait to return!


  5. The west end is one of the worst places I’ve been to in the world. If not the worst. Otherwise San Antonio is fine but that Street drags it down.


  6. The author may have good intentions but this a nonsensical hissy fit and in the end a completely through and through self defeating article.

    Pete Tong is probably the biggest single individual agent promoting Ibiza and San Antonio in particular to the UK and the outside world at large …with over 25 summers of live sunset radio broadcasts, parties, club nights and even a full on music festival that brought amongst others Elton John and Lenny Kravitz to of all places San Antonio. He even brought Lady Gaga to his club night in San Antonio. He has done more to improve the image of the island, & of San Antonio in particular & worked to attract the world’s most talented and famous to Ibiza and San Antonion than anyone else… certainly more than erstwhile part time bloggers would in multiple lifetimes.

    The criticism he made was perfectly valid and his words have been taken out of context and in an extremely myopic fashioned been fanned tabloid style to write an an article much ado about nothing, to criticize Pete Tong. What it does is certain have more people talk about the valid criticism itself. You sir are shooting yourself in the foot if you are indeed hurt by the supposed “snide remarks”.


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