El West 1: Go West por Martin Makepeace

 

El municipio de Sant Antoni de Portmany tiene 129 km², una población superior a los 20.000 habitantes y se extiende desde las playas de Cala Gracio y Cala Salada hasta la preciosa campiña de San Mateu y Santa Inés; un área que solo ocupa el 0,0001% y tiene 150 metros de largo y apenas 3 calles de ancho, pero que predomina en la percepción y opinión que tiene del pueblo todo el mundo. Son solo 2 palabras y 7 letras que dividen la opinión, generan un intenso debate y representan de dónde viene San Antonio e indican hacia dónde va.

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El paso adelante del famoso “WEST END” de San Antonio

Nos guste o no, el West End está aquí para quedarse, de modo que ¿por qué esta pequeña área emborrona la opinión de tanta gente sobre el pueblo en general? Si hablas de San Antonio, mucha gente hará gestos de desaprobación (especialmente los que nunca han estado allí), y el principal foco de sus prejuicios es el West End, una fuerza polarizadora en un pueblo al que todo el mundo le encanta odiar.

El West End de 2015 tiene su propio ecosistema y microeconomía, y es un indicador de si el pueblo ‘va bien’. Antes había restaurantes buenos, pero ahora hay principalmente bares y establecimientos de comida rápida, un subidón de azúcar para los yonquis de la adrenalina y las bebidas energéticas que pasan noches enteras de fiesta por relativamente poco dinero; si tu presupuesto es ajustado, este es el lugar para ti, de ahí que San Antonio sea el primer destino de vacaciones en el extranjero para muchos jóvenes. ‘Entrada gratuita’, rezan los carteles de los bares y pubs, que además anuncian ofertas de bebida barata, como ‘3 cervezas y 3 chupitos por 10 €’. El problema es que si adaptas tu negocio para captar este tipo de mercado, es difícil que puedas reinventarte más tarde. Este mercado centrado en el precio hace que en los momentos duros algunos bares reduzcan el precio o den la bebida gratis. Algunos lo llamarán efecto reclamo; otros, suicidio comercial.

Prepara un cóctel con vendedores ambulantes, mujeres de dudosa reputación, el típico mangante y ‘bodegas’ 24 horas que venden alcohol aún más barato; todo ello conforma una mezcla muy interesante con la que nunca te aburrirás. Normalmente es bastante seguro y un lugar excelente para ir a observar. Mantente alerta y disfruta, pero si eres poco aventurero y no te va mucho salirte de lo habitual puede ser un sitio peligroso también, pero se podría decir lo mismo de cualquier lugar del mundo occidental si estás demasiado borracho para hablar y ni siquiera recuerdas tu nombre. 

He pasado muchas noches en el West End cuando era joven, así que jugó un papel muy importante en mi educación ibicenca; por eso, siempre lo defiendo y me enfado cuando los periodistas estivales cargan las tintas contra él. Sin embargo, también debemos reconocer que la mayoría de lugares en Ibiza han avanzado y mejorado, mientras que el West parece estar anclado, pues cada año abren más bares que ofrecen bebidas más baratas para cada vez menos gente, debido a la creciente competencia de Ushuaia, Ocean Beach, Hard Rock, Sankeys y Space, por mencionar algunos. 

Para callar a los críticos, normalmente basta con un simple ‘pues no vayas’; no obstante, es una parte integral del turismo de San Antonio, pero ¿cuánto tiempo puede sobrevivir con su formato actual? Pep Cires, el nuevo alcalde, ha prometido cambiar el ‘modelo de turismo’ de San Antonio, y la verdad es que no hay que adivinar en qué estaba pensando cuando dijo eso. Reinvención es una palabra muy gastada, pero procede en este caso. ¿Cómo es posible que la misma gente que bebe champán en el Ocean Beach y presume de fotos en Facebook luego pasee por el West End buscando las ofertas más baratas? Una vez más, todo se reduce al ambientecreado.

Algunos propietarios y encargados tratan de cambiar las cosas, pero otros parecen estar atrapados en un túnel del tiempo con muy poca inversión y el ansia de llenar sus bares solo para fastidiar a su competencia, sin importar el coste. El West End no es distinto de ningún otro mercado, y la selección natural garantiza que los mejores bares siempre estén llenos y aquellos que no ofrezcan nada distinto se marchiten y mueran hasta que los vuelva a abrir otro ilusionado arrendatario con un alquiler muy caro. 

La mayoría de las ciudades tienen su propia versión(el Bigg Market de Newcastle o el Temple Bar de Dublín), pero estos sitios están bien vigilados y los clientes disfrutan mucho. Sería estupendo que pudiéramos crear este tipo de entorno en San Antonio, pero la escasa presencia policial le da otro ambiente al lugar. En 2015 se ha contratado una empresa de seguridad privada para aumentar la visibilidad, algo que solo puede ser positivo, pero parece una solución a corto plazo muy cara para un problema a largo plazo. 

Nos guste o no, el West End es San Antonio y San Antonio es el West End, así que todos debemos tomar partido por el bien de nuestro municipio. En mi opinión, el ingrediente clave es priorizar la calidad sobre la cantidad, y contar con una gran variedad de productos para atraer a un público más amplio. Todo producto debe evolucionar, aprender de sus errores y mejorar en su ámbito. San Antonio cuenta con la mejor oferta de actividades nocturnas en la isla, pero también necesita quererse un poco más y enorgullecerse de lo que ofrece. Como ya hemos visto con el auge de las discotecas de playa y la cultura VIP, el dinero ya no es el factor determinante; en la isla blanca, todo gira en torno a la oferta. 

Por supuesto, para mí es muy fácil decirlo y este blog plantea más preguntas que respuestas, pero si nunca nos ponemos en marcha nunca llegaremos. Ya no basta con un lavado de cara rápido. Como ya se ha demostrado con otros locales y resorts: invierte, construye y vendrán.

SH*T ! The Not So Secret Workers Party

Tomorrow is the 13th annual SH*T PARTY – the infamous fiesta that was started by the workers for the workers and has caused many a sacking over the years as it became more and more unmissable. Here’s a brief timeline plus we talk to the founder and a prominent British worker. 

2002 – Popular San Antonio worker John ‘Loco’ Moore decides to throw a one-off party in front of the WIPS supermarket near to the fountains, he aptly names it the ‘non-party’ due to the strange location. Well attended

2003 – Loco decides to expand the idea to a party in Gorms Garage (now Temptation) charging an entrance fee of 2 euros. When trying to think of a name he decides to call it after the word most frequently used by workers to describe their job, hours, boss, treatment (and most other things) so the Sh*t Party is born. It’s billed as a workers blow out , sells out and goes on until midday the next day (ahhh the good old days).

2004 – Workers want a bigger and better party so Julian Cobby from Simple (now Soul City) suggests to Loco to use ‘Fantasyland’ (now home of Zoo Project). Bartolo Escandell agrees to let Loco use his venue. Police OK the event and 800 people turn up and party from midday to 6pm.
2005 – With confidence now high a bigger and better event is organized running from 5pm-12am. More than 1000 people attend.

2007 – Fancy dress is introduced to to make the event more colorful and give it a true festival flavour.

2009 – The Party is now firmly established with over 2000 people attending, mainly in fancy dress. That year alone almost 40000 euros is raised for charity.

2015 – Party confirmed for 17 July – over 1000 expected to party from 6pm-12am

Party Founder John Loco tells me: “The aim of the Sh*t Party is to give the San Antonio workers, who are mainly British, a bank holiday type day off so they can dress up have fun. All money raised goes to Ibiza based charities which has enhanced our standing within the local community. I am proud to say that through the party we have not just had some amazing times but raised over 200 000 euros for Caritas – the homeless society plus we’ve also been able to help local people with life changing and life threatening illnesses”
San An Worker Beccy Oxley added: “I came to Ibiza in 2005 on a one way ticket and never looked back! That year was my first Loco Sh*t Party and I have been every year since. It is such a great day which brings all of San An workers together like no other party does, be they old or new. Everybody gets dressed up and lets loose. For some its a day to let off steam half way through the season, for others its their leaving party. For me its a great way to catch up with friends I hardly see due to work!!”

“The fancy dress outfits are fantastic, the effort people go to and the ideas they have are incredible – I’m a cat – I always have been so now its tradition”

“San Antonio is a place very close to my heart, like so many others I call it home…..year after year I see workers come and go. Many say ‘this year isnt the same’ but everything changes so you just have to adapt. P One thing I always see is people coming here and making friends for life – that will never change and the Sh*t Party is such an important date in the workers calendar”

 SH*T PARTY 2015: 17 July 2015 from 5pm at Fantasyland, Benimussa Park
Entrance: 20 euros on the door or pre-paid wristband, all proceeds go to local charity.

EVERYBODY WELCOME

THERE’S TOO MANY TO MENTION BUT THANKS TO EVERYBODY WHO GIVE UP THEIR TIME AND EFFORT TO PUT ON THIS AMAZING EVENT – MM

The San An Worker Food Chain

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Evolution is an amazing thing. They came to the White Isle in the 60’s, mostly by mistake – some stayed and some left and it’s been happening every year ever since.  Here is a light-hearted look at the San Antonio Worker over the ages and their place in modern day Ibiza.


HIPPIES – 40 years plus on the island. Came to Ibiza to discover themselves and never left. Still wear lots of denim and speak like Keith Richards, smoke spliffs and/or ducados (local cigs).
Most likely to say: Brigitte Bardot; now there was a woman!
Least likely to say: That new road is a great addition to the islands transport infrastructure

DINOSAURS – 30 years plus on the island. Love to talk about the late 70 and 80’s with a nostalgic tear in their eye, name-dropping the Gibb brothers, Ku and Club Tropicana into every conversation, lamenting the “good old days”. Tony Pike is their hero.
Most likely to say: Forcing the clubs to cover their terraces was the beginning of the end
Least likely to say: Ibiza is so much better now than it used to be

VETERANS – 20 years plus. Usually ex-reps and bar managers. The 90s is their favourite topic and they discuss the Rave/BritPop era as if it was their own. Not quite as bitter as the Dinosaurs but on the verge of becoming one (although they would never admit it).
Most likely to say: Manumission, Carry On at Space and then Bora Bora…the party never used to end…
Least likely to say: The lack of air-con never bothered us back then…..

KNOW IT ALLS – 10 years plus. They encompass the noughties and still perceive themselves to be down with the kids. Too old to be part of the in-crowd, too young to be a veteran, they know everything that you did or didn’t want to know about the island and will lecture you at any given moment.
Most likely to say: What time’s John Digweed playing?
Least likely to say: Atlantis? I’m not sure I know how to get there by road

SERIOUS ONES – 5 years plus. They’ve seen it all and know it all but haven’t yet found their way out of San Antonio. They look at the Know it All’s with envy, the Veterans with disdain and sneer at the Dinosaurs.
Most likely to say: Let’s meet out of town for tapas at Tapas.
Least likely to say: Let’s meet out of town for tapas in San Carlos

WANNABES – 2 years plus.  Busy trying to make a name for themselves and desperate to be taken seriously by the Serious Ones. Usually found behind a bar or on the door of a club telling all the Returning Workers what it was like ‘back in the day’. They can’t even bring themselves to talk to 1st Year Workers.
Most likely to say: Marco Carola is God
Least likely to say: David Guetta is God.

RETURNING WORKER – 1 year plus. King of the world because they made every mistake in the book and not only lived to tell the tale but came back for more. They take advantage of 1st Year Workers and drop C-list names into conversation even though they don’t know or have never met them. Steer clear.
Most likely to say: I can take you to the airport for €20.
Least likely to say: No I haven’t got a taxi licence, my car isn’t insured and I’m still buzzing from Sankey’s last night

1st YEAR WORKER – 1 month plus. Achingly trendy with no apparent desire to work but usually has a first class degree in blagging. Likes to act like a Returning Worker but doesn’t have the knowledge so looks stupid especially in front of the Wannabes.
Most likely to say: …then we watched the sunrise down at Mambo.
Least likely to say: A packet of disposable razors please shopkeeper.

1st YEAR WORKER – 1 week plus. A clueless individual who arrives with a dream that turns into a nightmare within 10 days. Will be ripped off by a Returning Worker then have wallet/iPhone/passport stolen whilst dropping first ever pill.  Will call mummy in tears begging her to book a return flight asap.
Most likely to say: I’m living the dream.
Least likely to say: I’m having a nightmare.

1st YEAR WORKER – wannabe dealer. Lowest rung on the worker food chain. Talks big, promises lots but always lets everyone down. Mentions Peru with a knowing smirk, usually has scabby skin and a pocket full of 5 euro notes. Do not approach this person under any circumstances.
Most likely to say: mandy…charlie…pills…ket?
Least likely to say:…all of which I regularly take too much of

San Antonio Workers – A Short History

  

 This coming Friday 17 July is the annual ‘SH1T Party’ that takes place at Fantasyland, home of the Zoo Project and will see well over 1000 summer transients party through the day and night. This infamous island party was started by the San Antonio workers so what exactly is a “worker”…….

The term ‘worker’ usually implies that you have a job and do some work however as you may already be aware normal rules don’t apply in Ibiza and definitely not in San Antonio. Back in the 90s there were only a handful of workers mainly in the West End PRing outside bars and selling the odd substance to get by. There were no season passes to clubs but there was the numbered ‘Space tag’ – allowing free entry into the worlds best club – the holy grail for all workers! Holiday reps ruled the roost as they controlled tourists and tourists meant bar crawls and bar crawls meant money. Bar owners fussed over Holiday Reps who in turn sneered at workers. 

Ibiza in those days was (and still is) a mythical place: No internet, no mobile phones and no social media meant that the myth was based purely on word of mouth and first hand experience but by the end of 90s came the Internet revolution where tourists didn’t need holiday companies any more and the independent travelers came to the fore with Ibiza being one of the first destinations to see an influx of low cost carriers and cheap hotel beds costing a few hundred pesetas per night. 

The Internet explosion soon sent the message far & wide and the message was that Ibiza was a party paradise that you could enjoy for 3 months, would cost you very little in real terms and you could get by on doing a few odd jobs such as selling tickets or dragging people into bars. You also had the added bonus of having the chance to blag yourself into the top clubs and private parties and rub shoulders with a few A-list stars (and a few Z-listers as well). You certainly couldn’t do that at Maestros in Bradford or the MGM in Nottingham. What was not to like for a good looking 20 something with 3 months off in the summer? 

Fast forward and by the mid noughties there were 3000 (that’s THREE THOUSAND by the way) young people in San Antonio not doing much work but having a life-defining summer experience before settling down back home with a serious job. 

The term ‘worker’ was coined because these youngsters always intended to work even if the intent dwindled after a few days or weeks and it still makes me smile when someone introduces themselves as a ‘worker’ followed by ‘do you have any work’ – Don’t be too judgmental you just need to remember that it’s a collective term rather than an adjective. 

Numbers have dwindled a little over the last few years but there are still at least 1500 of them in San Antonio alone, you can usually identify them by their wristbands, tans (or lack of one) wearing of the latest fashions and taking themselves a bit too seriously. Asking for workers discount is obligatory as is the desire not to work too much but party to the max. They pack themselves into overpriced accommodation and live in tough conditions because every morning they wake up to the sunshine and the knowledge that there’s another amazing Ibiza party that day and/or night just waiting to be posted on Facebook. 

In worker terms the San Antonio worker is top of the worker food chain especially those who actually get a decent job whether it be dancing, PRing or selling tickets for one of the bars. If you don’t believe me then go to Benidorm or Magaluf and look at the workers over there. Wow! 

As much as the Ibiza snobs love to hate them for me the San An worker is a vital cog in the machine. They are their own micro economy with plenty of local business’s relying on them. They keep getting put down by exploitive employers yet the good ones bounce back and the weak ones return home to the comfort of their mums cooking. Lots of workers return to the island and knuckle down to a ‘proper’ summer job and those who don’t spread the Ibiza gospel far and wide via social media. As experiences go its right up their with the best time of your life, just ask Jamie Jones and Lily Allen.

West End: Does it have a future? – Guest Blog by Juan Pantaleoni

  WEST END WEEK – DAY 5 

Juan Pantaleoni Rosello is an ex-politician and West End entrepreneur who’s larger than life personality and outspoken views have had a polarizing effect over the last 12 years. Opponents make him out as a pit-bull but he possesses a razor sharp mind that has allowed him to stay ahead of the game – his Soul City bar continues to be a success story. Here, in my final installment on San Antonio’s West End he exclusively shares his views for the future. 

Juan: I was born in San Antonio, I have businesses in the West End and I was also involved in politics at San Antonio Town Hall for 8 years (2004-2011) so my views are clearly influenced by these 3 factors but I will try and explain in the few words available about our future.

The West End has existed for many years and to change its dynamics will also take time and time is what we need. For many years there’s been talk of the ‘problems’ of the area and the big mistake that’s been committed time and time again is to believe that these problems can be solved from one year to the next. In my opinion, this is the wrong view and we won’t be able to push forward until we all sit down and design a detailed plan with a realistic time frame adapted to the reality, complexity and scale of what we decide should be improved.

I’ve been asked to give my views on the future of the area but it’s also important to know how the West End has developed and become what it is today and to understand a little more of its history and how this negative image has formed so I read with interest the blogs of Martin, Peter, Nathan and Colin over the last few days.

It’s hard to get rid of the prejudices that have been reinforced over many years thanks to the dedicated work of several journalists and some residents who, having rarely been to the area, have dedicated themselves to drag the West End and San Antonio’s image through the mud each year. There are genuine complaints from some people with goodwill but there are also others who blame everything on the West End when really they should focus on an inability to manage their own business, it’s also evident that for certain parts of the press San Antonio is an easy target and it’s productive for them to always focus on the negatives. Such is life but unfortunately this approach contributes to generate the largely negative views that makes it so difficult to find consensual solutions that are fair and beneficial to all.

Above all, the first thing I must do is to recognize that the West End needs to change and that this change will only be possible and genuine if itinvolves all sectors, and by that I mean public institutions, private business and the local population in general. 

The West End has a big future and should remain an important part our town and tourist industry. It already is an area of huge attraction as you can witness every day and night of the summer by the visitors in their thousands. The first problem that we need to work on is the negative perception of an area that also has many residents making it tough to reach a broad consensus on how to face the future but I am convinced that this future exists and is very promising. Why? Because the West End offers a unique product designed towards the enjoyment of young people that simply cannot be found anywhere else on the island, a product especially adapted towards and especially designed to take advantage of the predominant type of accommodation and the complementary services that San Antonio and the Bay has to offer.

One thing is clear: If you think that we can survive on ‘luxury’ tourism alone then you are very wrong!

The starting point to is to address and isolate the basic problems affecting the area: An oversupply of bars which generates a price war, closing times of the bodegas (small supermarkets selling alcohol), the need to totally eliminate illegal street/ticket sellers/PR’s, increased security, greater cleanliness and a general aesthetic improvement of the area and its establishments. Is this possible? Undoubtedly YES, employers in the West End have shown that sustainable investment can improve safety and the health care of visitors. The remaining problems have solutions that are easier and cheaper but it is the institutions that must lead and provide the necessary resources. I know that West End employers are heavily involved in implementing these and other improvements so now is the time for the institutions to overcome prejudices, understand the real truth about our town and get to work to improve an area that anybody with any intelligence can see, is a massive opportunity for San Antonio. Enough of the defeatism and whining, if we all work positively together then it will benefit all of us!

The West End business community is the first to be interested in improving the area and will join forces with those who propose realistic solutions but equally we oppose and are totally against those who transmit an image of decay and decline, either through ignorance or by misconduct, which is in no way representative of the reality of the situation.

I encourage everyone to spread the word about all the good things that the West End has to offer as our future also depends on winning the communication battle and we will only achieve this by working together in a positive manner and not giving in and accepting some of the shameful media campaigns that come our way every summer.

I am proud of the West End, are you?

Panta relaxing

West End, tiene futuro? – Blog invitado por Juan Pantaleoni 

  
Soy nacido en Sant Antoni, tengo negocios en el West y además he ejercido responsabilidades políticas durante ocho años en el Ayuntamiento, es evidente que mi punto de vista estará influenciado por estas tres circunstancias.

Intentar hablar en pocas líneas del West no permite desarrollar el tema en profundidad, el West existe hace muchos años y cambiar sus dinámicas también llevará tiempo, y tiempo es lo que nos hace falta. Ya desde hace muchos años se habla de los “problemas” de la zona y el gran error que se ha venido cometiendo una y otra vez ha sido el creer que estos problemas se pueden solucionar de un año para otro y esto es una visión equivocada y no avanzaremos en tanto no diseñemos un plan con un “timing” adaptado a la realidad, complejidad y dimensión de lo que decidamos debe ser mejorado.

Hablar de la historia del West no es objeto de este articulo pues lo que me ha pedido Shaggy es mi visión sobre el futuro de la zona, de todas formas no estaría de más apuntar que sin conocer la historia de como se ha ido desarrollando el West hasta llegar a ser lo que es, para entender un poco mas la historia y el cómo se ha ido formando esta imagen negativa es muy interesante leer lo que en este mismo blog nos cuentan Martin, Peter, Nathan y Colin.

Es difícil desprenderse de los prejuicios que hemos ido interiorizando durante muchos años gracias a la abnegada labor de varios periodistas y vecinos interesados, que habiendo pisado muy pocas veces la zona se han dedicado año tras año a arrastrar por el fango la imagen de la misma, hay quejas de gentes con buena voluntad, otras de otros que descargan en el West su incapacidad para gestionar sus propios negocios, también es una evidencia que para cierta prensa es muy fácil y productivo hablar de lo malo de los sitios aunque por desgracia este enfoque contribuya en gran medida a generar opiniones negativas que ahora son las imperantes y que dificultan mucho la búsqueda de soluciones consensuadas que sean justas y beneficiosas para todos.
Pero ante todo, lo primero que debo hacer y reconocer es que el West precisa un cambio de rumbo y que este cambio solo será posible y real si se consigue la implicación de todos los sectores involucrados y con esto me refiero a las instituciones públicas, sector empresarial y pueblo en general.

El West tiene futuro, el West es y debe continuar siendoparte importante nuestro pueblo e industria turística. Ya lo es, ya es una zona con un enorme atractivo para nuestros visitantes, no hay mas que ver las miles de personas que diariamente lo visitan. El primer problema en el que se debería trabajar es en el de la negativa percepción que de la zona tienen muchos vecinos cosa que dificulta mucho el llegar a consensos amplios sobre cómo afrontar el futuro, pero yo estoy convencido de que este futuro existe y es muy prometedor pues el West ofrece un producto de ocio nocturno orientado a los jóvenes que no se puede encontrar en ningún otro sitio de la isla, un producto adaptado al tipo de alojamiento y oferta complementaria predominante en Sant Antoni y su bahía, aprovechemos esto.

Si pensamos que Ibiza puede vivir solo del turismo de “lujo” estamos muy equivocados.

El punto de partida para encarar el problema sería la detección de los problemas básicos que afectan a la zona: Exceso de oferta que genera una guerra de precios y ofertas a la baja, horario de cierre de bodegas, necesidad de eliminación total de los RRPP ilegales, incremento de la seguridad, mayor limpieza y mejora estética de la zona sus establecimientos. ¿Es posible hacer esto? Indudablemente si, los empresarios de la zona West hemos demostrado que con inversiones completamente asumibles se puede mejorar la seguridad y la atención sanitaria de los visitantes. El resto de problemas planteados también tienen soluciones sencillas y baratas pero son las instituciones las que deben liderar y poner los medios necesarios. Me consta que los empresarios están muy implicados en implementar estas y otras mejoras, ahora es el momento de que las instituciones venzan prejuicios, conozcan la zona de verdad y se pongan manos a la obra para mejorar una zona que alguien inteligente veria como una oportunidad para Sant Antoni. Ya está bien de derrotismos y lloriqueos, trabajemos juntos en positivo y todo Sant Antoni saldrá beneficiado

Los empresarios somos los primeros interesados en la mejora de esta zona y estaremos al lado de todos aquellos que propongan soluciones pero de igual forma, estaremos en frente y en contra de aquellos que bien por desconocimiento, bien por mala intención se dedican a transmitir una imagen de decadencia que para nada se corresponde con la realidad del West.

Animo a todo el mundo a enseñar todo lo bueno que tenemos y que estamos ofreciendo, nuestro futuro también pasa por ganar la batalla de la comunicación y esto solo lo conseguiremos trabajando todos juntos en positivo y no escondiendo la cabeza ante campañas vergonzosas como las que cada verano algún medio de comunicación nos dedica

Yo estoy orgulloso del West. Y vosotros? 

Panta descansado

West End: The Bar Owners View – Guest Blog by Nathan Viva


WEST END WEEK – DAY 3

Nathan Seal came to the island as a club promotor but saw a gap in the market for a bar that reached out to San Antonio’s summer migrant population. His Viva Bar is a daily sanctuary and party HQ for hundreds of workers and his Viva Voyages are infamous summer ice breakers. Here, exclusively for my blog, he writes about the challenges of staying ahead in an already saturated market.

Nathan: Ibiza: the white isle, the Mecca for clubbers. Famous for its beautiful beaches, VIP areas full of the rich and famous, world class nightclubs (and day clubs for that matter) and unparalleled hedonistic reputation. But in amongst all this is nestled the holiday resort of San Antonio, and right at its heart is the area known as the West End. What part does it have to play in the new glitzy and modern Ibiza of the 21st Century?Its easy to criticise, and my word do people not hesitant to do that, but the West End offers what no other resort in Ibiza does, or even can. You can have your Playa d’en Bossa with its beach bars and drinking bars, but they don’t have a street entirely dedicated to offering up what amounts to FREE nightclubs. Every bar has a DJ, every bar has music to dance to. Some are bigger than others, but the jist is the same, come in, have fun, leave your worries and your pretentions at the door. The West End at its best is plain, simple FUN.

So why does the West End get such a bad reputation? I believe its more out of habit than anything, its easy to knock what you don’t know or what you once had a bad experience from but what is not really indicative of the actual day to day state of affairs. I’ve been an integral part of the West End for 11 years now and currently own (or part own) 3 bars here so I feel I have a good idea of what is going on and the image that is shoved down people’s throats is not that of reality. Yes we have problems, but where are there not? Which Utopian society do these people who criticise us hail from I’d like to know?

That said, a few analogies spring to mind. From the inside looking out I feel like a father would about their sickly, but favourite, child. I so desperately want it to get better, to get back to the good old days when business was booming and customers were not so hard to come by. We are constantly fighting amongst ourselves to do whatever we can to attract a lesser number of customers into an ever-increasing number of bars.

From the outside looking in, I feel people react to the West End like that crazy ex girlfriend that you broke up with, but can’t remember why; but that doesn’t matter because you just know you won’t go back there anymore… But maybe she’s changed, and I mean really changed, but you will never know as you only know you don’t want to try again

There has been investment in a number of bars, not least of all my own, and the strip does look better and the bars are better equipped than ever. Some even have VIP areas (but more for Hens and their bridesmaids than Henriettas and the social elite). But for all the good will that the bars have, and for all the good promotion that they do for their town, our town, it feels like we are hitting our heads against a brick wall when it comes to the simplest of things when dealing with the town hall and our laughably nonexistent policing.

Many of the bar owners baulk at the thought of further improving their establishments when faced with the fact that they are being hamstrung by the very government we are paying (and voting) to govern us. There seems to be total bewilderment amongst your average non West End working resident, or tourist, as to why there are quite so many Looky Looky’s, prostitutes, pick pockets, dealers and illegal un-contracted ticket sellers and PR’s. Why do WE allow this to go on? Why aren’t WE doing something about it. But this is what a police service is for, is it not? I have personally called them on a number of occasions to report one thing or another and they have come and dealt with it precisely 0% of the time. If the police have no interest in doing their jobs, then its no surprise that this month a number of the bars have gotten together to pay, on top of their already high taxes, for a private security firm to patrol the streets.

Is this the answer? No, I don’t think so. Just about every negative that you can think of could be taken care of with more policing or indeed ANY policing! The only time we saw them last year was to enforce the pointless new 5am (from 6am) opening hours as a way to further tax local businesses in the form of fines.

If we had a streets that were clean of all the unsavoury elements then we could get back to attracting the better clientele, get back to providing the best possible service but until that happens we will always struggle to shake of the negative image that has been forced upon us and therefore will always struggle to attract new customers to the resort at all. Lets push to get the basic’s right, starting with policing, and then we can make the West End a destination that we can all be proud of.

 

Nathan relaxing in Ibiza

 

Is Ibiza the new Benidorm?

  A quick sketch by my good friend Tom Knopek who worked on the White Isle in the 80’s and has been coming back several times a year ever since.

TOM: It’s 5am on a Friday morning and EasyJet, the kings of the unfriendly flight times, have a 05.35 from Gatwick to IBZ – its hardly worth going to bed but hey ho a weekend in the world’s top Island awaits

Why does it not feel like 5am? Gatwick is rammed – chaos – people “on it” and spirits are high.  I count 7 (yes SEVEN) stag/hen parties – the “victim” (groom or bride) it seems must be dressed as someone they are not – a sheik/ballet dancer/jockey (he is small)/nurse and various others. Good luck to them is my view – not my thing but live and let live – they are happy!

But I’m glad I’m going to Ibiza – the sexiest island on earth – mention Ibiza in LA or Vegas at Tomorrowland or even Glastonbury, New York or London and all humans nod in appreciation of a Worldwide Icon – a distant place from the Stag/Hen groups going to whatever downmarket cheap and cheerful corner of the Med that they are off to

Well f**k me – not 1 but all 7 stag/hen parties are on the same flight as me – to Ibiza and I’m sitting next to the jockey who is being force fed Vodka and red bull.

One guy really stands out as a bit of a weird dude – black jeans, T shirt, beats headphones, a tattoo, earring and short hair – I think he is a DJ – He must be thinking he’s on the wrong flight?????

For anyone who has a connection with Ibiza from the 80s of Wham to Calvin Harris today there is a sense of being part of something special – unique – precious.

So am I too protective of my memories, have I become an Ibiza snob? It’s mine and I want it to stay special!

Or – Is Ibiza wandering towards Benidorm??

p.s. the jockey is now asleep on my shoulder 😦

TK chilling at Vedra