20 years on…

Garlands at the Bahia 11/09/2001

Monday 10 September 2001 in Ibiza was like any other late summer night. August was over but September was firing on all cylinders, San Antonio was awash with young Brits as was the norm for that time of the year. The West End was rocking in the prime of its life.

20 years ago Ibiza was a very different animal to what it is today. There were no beach clubs or daytime distractions, some still call it the glory years with world class, era-defining promotions every single night of the week in the planets best clubs. We never had it so good although we didn’t know it at the time, you never do.

Mondays in Ibiza was all about Manumission at Privilege, the worlds biggest promotion at the worlds biggest club. This particular night was ridiculously busy as was usual for the 2nd week of September, the crowd being whipped into it’s usual frenzy by their resident DJ’s and as the sun appeared through the iconic dome the party moved on to Carry on at Space and then Bora Bora for the hard core.

11 September 2001: I remember it as a normal morning. Crisp blue skies, I was tired from August and looking forward to the end of the summer, very similar to today. Then around lunchtime everything changed.

Sky News is always on in my house, it’s background noise. Feet up on the sofa thinking about a siesta when Kay Burley announced that an aeroplane had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York.

We all know what happened next so no need to go through the painful details here but as the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground I knew that life had changed forever. There was no WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter or smartphones so it was all about 24 hour news. CNN gave us the heartbreaking US perspective, a nation and the world in a state of shock.

I went back to my office late afternoon and tried to carry on regardless but the mood on the streets of San Antonio was like I had never seen before. The first call I made, Maxine, the young lady on the other end of the phone, was trying to work but openly weeping. As she talked to me I could hear the tears falling.

That night was the Garlands party at the Bahia Hotel (now Ocean Beach Hotel) but there was some confusion about whether it would go ahead but word soon got out that it was happening.

So on the evening of 11 September 2001 after watching in disbelief at so much pain unfolding on our TV’s, myself and several hundred others gathered under the stars and partied like we’d never partied before.

The late great Dave Booth and Huey Garry were on the decks with Grandma Funk doing guest vocals ‘shaking that ass’. Judge Jules and others were at the bar, Ibiza’s response was to go harder than ever before. It was a surreal atmosphere but the mood was upbeat, glad to be alive, this might be the last party for a while so let’s make the most of it.

Recent events have taken over our lives and sometimes it’s easy to forget but every anniversary I always remember those poor innocent lost souls and the time we partied under the stars in Ibiza like there was no tomorrow, because we weren’t sure there would be. It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since that fateful day, a lot has changed in 2 decades but lest we forget.

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.

6 thoughts on “20 years on…”

  1. An unbelievable/surreal day – almost movie like. Everyone will remember where they were on such a dreadful day and it should make everyone be grateful for every day they walk on this planet. Make the most of life I always say (I’m trying) and I think you’ve got it about spot on Martin. As you say lest we forget

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Poignant read, brings back memories as I too was in Ibiza that very day & had to fly home the very next, the most nervous I’ve ever been on a plane, I should have come to that party!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very poignant read for a number of reasons. I remember there were 2 tvs on at the bar and is we watched the 2nd tower attacked it dawned on us we were entering a new dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was living and studying in Havana, Cuba at that time. In those years, internet was prohibited in communist Cuba , only available in 5 star hotels and for a cost. I went in to ‘El Hotel Nacional’ a famous hotel hosting many famous U.S actors since the 1950’s pre communist era. I saw it unfold on the TV guest lounge and some of the cuban’s cheered. Many Cubans were brainwashed in Castro’s Cuba to believe America was the enemy. I never felt so alone at that time, stuck there and not being able to express freely and comprehend what was happening. It was quite surreal.

    Liked by 1 person

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