No More Privileges for Privilege

Before the internet and social media started spreading fake news & giving away all the secrets, Ibiza was a mythical destination. It had it’s negative tabloid headlines in the 80’s but there also existed an underground movement that personified late 20th century Bohemia.

The glitterati and fashionistas flocked to the island and indulged in all their hedonistic pleasures, not the social media wannabes from today’s era who are judged by their instagram followers and blue ticks, but genuine power people, the movers and shakers, those who knew that on the white isle they could do as they pleased without being judged. It was a secret society, a playground for the rich and famous to let loose, the wild stories could never be substantiated but those on the inside always claimed that the truth was stranger than fiction.

Right in the middle of all this decadent excess was Ku Club. An outdoor extravaganza centred around a large swimming pool in the hills of San Rafael. It was here that many infamous parties went down with the great and the good, the beautiful people and, of course, the hangers on and fixers who could arrange ‘things’.

You can’t mention Ku in the 80s without Freddie Mercury but you also need to throw in Grace Jones, Spandau Ballet and any other 80s european stars you care to mention who invariably sampled the club at one time of another. By the end of that decade it had been crowned the ‘biggest club in the world’ and it even had the certificate from the Guinness World of records to prove it but there was a problem.

The early 90s saw the first gulf war that decimated travel while the club had become tired and the roof had given the vast space an airport hangar type feel, totally different to partying in the hills under the stars in the balmy summer heat.

After a couple of bad years the unthinkable happened and in 1993 Ku never even opened but it was about to make a comeback of Lazarus proportions thanks to 2 brothers from Manchester who were in the right place at the right time and had the vision and creativity to make their mark on the varied history of Ibiza clubbing.

In 1994 the club re-opened with a new moniker and ‘Privilege’ was born and Monday nights were about to go stratospheric. Manumission not only put Ibiza back on the world clubbing map but also brought it to the mainstream, focussing on production with the same hedonistic values that made the place what it had been in the previous 2 decades.

When you trace the Ku/Privilege timeline 1994 is where it’s modern history starts and Manumission were right at the forefront of this. Cream also started their long tenency, Renaissance put on some amazing live shows with such luminaries as Adamski, Boy George, M People and Kylie Minougue. The glitterati had now been replaced by mainstream UK clubbing but with volume brought money and by the end of the 90s Privilege was booming but their was a storm brewing.

Egos always play a big part in the clubbing world and the bigger the club the bigger the ego and when you are filling the worlds biggest club on a weekly basis then there are bound to be ego clashes. A big falling out between Manumission and Privilege saw the unthinkable happen as Ibiza’s biggest night was unceremoniously evicted from their home halfway through the summer of 2007, moving across the road to Amnesia but the damage had been done and Manumission never truly recovered.

What type of club evicts the biggest night on the Island? The type of club who then goes and gets the then biggest DJ in world to plug the Monday gap. Tiesto started playing to packed houses in 2008, a residency that would go on for 6 summers proving that Privilege were still at the top of the tree. Recently Carl Cox had a sold out summer residency there along with many other artists. When it comes to Ibiza on a massive scale then it doesn’t get any better.

So why the big back story about Privilege? Well this pillar of Ibiza’s hedonistic history has now been closed indefinitely by the local council due to illegal modifications inside the club that have hindered fire escape routes and increased capacity beyond its original licence.

The aforementioned egos have once again come to the fore and instead of playing ball and immediately fixing the problem the Privilege owners decided to appeal the decision at the regional court in Palma which duly upheld the decision to suspend its licence.

The very next day after the court ruling, a representative of the club presented a letter to the Council requesting that the suspension be lifted saying that it had already remedied some of the deficiencies detected on the day of the inspection. However, the municipal technicians found that some of the problems hadn’t been solved and that threats to public safety persisted.

Chances are that it will all get resolved before the summer but for now Privilege is closed until further notice which isn’t ideal for all those promoters who are planning for the summer not to mention the hundreds of employees.

The crazy thing in all this is that you get the impression that this was easily avoidable with a bit of diplomacy and understanding rather than brinksmanship from both sides yet here we are on the cusp of May with no resolution in sight. The negative press has already happened and the biggest club in the world remains closed….. for now.

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.

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