Adiós San An Workers, it was ‘Fun’

For many years the ‘San An Worker’ was a mainstay of Ibiza’s famous west coast resort.

They were easy to spot and even easier to manipulate. They came in their thousands renting small apartments and using them as dormitories, spending all day in bed, searching for guest list freebies like a heat seeking missile and even starting their own eco-system, culture and vocabulary.

A moment in time that organically appeared, a rite of passage for thousands, an era that lasted for more than a decade. You just have to look at the Facebook groups to see the misty eyed nostalgia that this time evokes amongst middle aged men and women talking about the best time of their lives when life was simpler and when all you had to worry about was the next meal and the next party.

‘Worker’ was always a curious collective noun for a group of young Brits who did nearly everything except work. Their priority was to have fun, workers parties became part of the fabric of San Antonio – free entry, cheaper drinks, worker friendly door staff and DJ’s. A whole culture and micro economy evolved from the freedom that Ibiza gives those willing to immerse themselves. Late nights, even later mornings, a lifestyle that would give your parents nightmares.

A few stayed on the island and settled down like modern day hippes but most shuffled off back to the UK, battered and bruised to shocked parents, friends and partners who couldn’t grasp the carnage that went before.

Workers were a scourge to many and a licence to print money for others but nothing lasts forever. Brexit and Covid changed the rules of the game along with an Ibiza housing shortage that has seen the majority of summer apartments rented annually for better and more stable returns. Ket Castle isn’t a madhouse anymore, it’s now Es Pons, an oasis of calm for private residents.

Things change, evolution is unstoppable but how can we not look back with a knowing nod and a wink on an era that gave us the Sh*t Party and the Peru 2. Shipwrecked, Dirty Rotten Sluts, grimy wristbands, workers club passes, Ket Cove, Space closing and it’s fallout, the Eden back room and after hours parties at Wips….a supermarket. We can also include Star Cafe and then New Star for those of a certain vintage. Daily crises a plenty, you really had to be there to believe it!

Will those days ever return? It’s doubtful as the factors that have rendered them almost extinct won’t be changing any time soon but the Ibiza workers spirit lives on but the modern version actually work for a living yet come together in their spare time to party and chill. An older crowd, a few trustafarians, those who eek a living online while Clockwork Orange have wound back the clock with their Ibiza weekender that emotes of long gone days and pure nostalgia.

Ibiza has changed beyond recognition in a relatively short space of time. It’s still a haven for the free-spirited crowd but the days of the masses having the summer of their lives is something we can look back on with a smile (or a grimace) and for now it’s confined to the history books. As the saying goes…..don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

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.

18 thoughts on “Adiós San An Workers, it was ‘Fun’”

  1. Very well written, what is on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Some are scared to say, some are scared to believe and yet here we are. Love the way you write – x
    Clockwork lives on ya🧡

    I don’t believe anything will be the same again let’s hope the new “normal” will be something to look forward but how grateful we must feel to of been part of something wonderful – Just like the rave scene I am so glad I was a 70’s kid!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Was never a worker but was close to a few in the naughties. Shared some times and experiences with them and got a feel for the trials and tribulations of apartment arguments, excess all areas, stressful emergency trips home , and hazy nights out in a number of places from PdB to San An and the ocean waves. The overriding memory of the whole scene was the camaraderie between workers. It seems like yesterday in some ways and a distant past in others, especially post covid. It will be interesting when the island gets back to full swing , what the new scene is like. Nice post Martin, made me sit back and remember some good times (and cringe at others!).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed reading this article Martin, as I do all of your Ibiza articles.
    Yes, the demise of the British San An worker.
    However, step forward the Irish San An worker – plenty in Ibiza already and arriving daily.
    In great demand – your time has come.


  4. Mate,
    I can’t believe how 2 years of my life nearly 18 years ago is still etched on my mind like it was yesterday. How a bar like Capone became my home and family and the smell of Pepé setting his pubic hair alight in Koppas still burns my nostrils. To all my Ibiza family, past and present…. Keep living the dream ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nostalgic. Great to read. 2002 to 2007, and again in 2017. One more time. Sat here with a happy tear in my eye. Truly blessed to have experienced it in all its glory. Maybe a nice place for remote 30-40-50 something workers to enjoy the sunsets. Thanks Martin. That filled me with emotion. Sutty.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this.. you summed it up perfectly.. For me 01,02, 03 and then much later in 2012, they were all the best summers of my life.. All my bezzies now are all from my early years.. It feels so special to of had that time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great piece Martin perfectly sums up an amazing era and the best three years of my life. Sad that’s times have changed, but it happens. Just feel very grateful that I got to experience Ibiza and being a worker out there when it was in it’s prime

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice read! Loved working there in 09 & 10. I do wonder though… once the clubs re-open, and tourism gets into full swing for the first time since 2019, won’t Ibiza be facing a staffing crisis without the Brits?


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