Trippin at Beat Hotel: A Conversation on Ibiza’s Cultural Identity
After staging its past chapters in Marrakech, in 2021 Beat Hotel moved to Ibiza. This year, guests were invited to stay at the Beat Hotel Residence with Patrón Tequila – an impeccably curated site located in the north of the island. Decorated with an abundance of greenery, hammocks and sun loungers by a pool, the site was peaceful and tranquil. Here, Beat Hotel welcomed festival-goers to rave in an underground venue beneath a pool, or acted as a wellness resort for yoga enthusiasts. The Beat Hotel Residence showcased the identity of the north: sprawling landscapes washed in oranges and browns, speckled with cactuses and trees.
For its second Ibiza edition, Trippin travelled to the island to host a panel talk on the area’s ever-shifting identity. Ibiza has a rich cultural history, shaped by various civilisations and cultures – from Phoenicians to Romans, Arabs and the Spanish. In the past, many of its residents were fishermen and farmers. In more contemporary culture, Ibiza is renowned for being home to the Balearic beat, for its superclubs – like Pacha and Space – its spirituality and hedonism. Mass tourism has changed the island’s identity, which continues to shift and be informed by movement.
For the Trippin talk, we invited three figures making change within Ibiza’s creative scene. We had Quentin Chambers – Managing Director of OpenLab FM – on the panel, alongside chef Boris Buono from Ibiza Food Studio. We also asked Pascal Moscheni to join us – a producer who hosts the party Hands on Sand in Ibiza and creates soundtracks for fashion brands via his agency PAMPAM Studio. Moscheni draws inspiration from the island, having produced an Ibiza-themed campaign for Loewe.
Together, we delved into Ibiza’s multifaceted identity – from its club scene to gastronomy and the movements that are happening on the island today. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the talk, we’ve highlighted some key takeaways.
“The real luxury is nature”
Many make the trip to Ibiza for its wild hedonism, its nightlife and expensive parties. Such is the club lore of Ibiza that it continues to attract tourists each summer to fill its venues. Similarly, Boris Buono was attracted to the island for its parties, but soon discovered another side to it. “This island holds a nature which is unspoiled,” he said. “Most of the land that you see around you here can be characterised as organic or untouched. And then when you grow something on an island like this, there's salt in the air all the time. It's like putting in an amplifier that nobody else has to the flavours.” The island, he said, has made him “very, very wealthy,” and Ibiza’s natural wonders make him feel as though he’s on vacation during his days off. Moscheni, who’s lived on the island for two years, came to Ibiza to escape partying. The real luxury of it, he said, is “not a private table and club,” but nature.
Ibiza’s club scene is stagnating
Though it’s known for the Balearic beat, Ibiza is, as Moscheni said, “the worst place to listen to Balearic.” He added, “You can listen to better Balearic music in Amsterdam or any radio in London. So that's faded away, and now it's become an industry.” In order to sustain itself, the industry charges exorbitant entry fees and venues such as Pacha prices cans of water at $15 each – a business move that has been protested against. This sense of elitism, which prices many out of making the journey to Ibiza, has caused creativity to stagnate within the club scene. “The clubbing scene has been professionalised a lot, and it took a big chunk of the charm,” Buono said. Something that the island lacks, Moscheni added, are small, intimate parties. But when a scene feels like it’s crumbling, sometimes that creates space for something new.
“I'm keen to reach out to the creative community on the island and build some kind of consensus and maybe even a manifesto,” Chambers said. “To bring people together and to actually cause change. It's quite hard on this island to get people together and organise in the face of fairly stiff competition. The bigger clubs serve their purpose, and some of them do it very well. Some people go left out of the island, out of the airport, some people go right. There were a lot more people going right, going to clubs over the last 20 years, but that's really changing now. You have almost more people coming in, going left and exploring the holistic side of the island.”
It’s hard to get started
Ibiza is an expensive place to be, and as a result it’s difficult to get started within the island’s creative scene. “One of the main problems is that for young talent the threshold to get started here is so high,” Buono said, “because the property cost is through the roof. That means that already, before you can start thinking about these things, we need big money – accountants and all of these things that make things boring or sometimes kill creativity before it’s started. Because when you work with a business plan, it doesn't give you much wiggle room to be creative. One of the main problems for the island is the food chain that the next generation of creatives are getting caught in right now.”
But it’s not impossible. “If I can do it, you can do it,” Buono added. “I hope more people will just jump into it, because the island will support you. She will work magic and support you, but you need to be clean otherwise she’ll spit you out again. You need to be clean in the sense that you can go out and party, take drugs, drink and you can have your problems and so on. But you need to be in the process of doing something about it, then she will champion you. Otherwise she will wash you out.”
There’s a sense of isolation on the island
The creative scene can feel disconnected. “As we all live a bit isolated, maybe in farmhouses and whatsoever, it's hard to bond and connect with other creatives,” Moscheni explained. “When you're living in London, Amsterdam or whatever, you walk down the street, you go into a cafeteria, and [there are] ornate full neighbourhoods; you just meet people more easily. Ibiza, that doesn't happen that much. You tend to meet a lot of people, foreigners coming to the island, spending two weeks, but then they go away and you're happy at your home, isolated again. It would be really good for the island, for the people living here, [to] have a place to meet or a way to connect.”
“I love the idea of setting up a kind of creative community board, to have all of the creatives on the island,” Chambers said. “Have a regular meeting and form an agenda. Maybe a manifesto.”
There’s an organic food movement on the island
During the talk, Buono spoke about an organic food movement on the island – a shift away from private yards to organic produce. “Hats off for the local organic farming community, for not just pushing the prices up like everybody else,” Buono said in praise. “We live in a world where we are so disconnected to our foods. The distance to the local producers is actually quite short, so you still have this cosmopolitan feeling of being in a place where people come from all over the world, and you have five minutes in your car to some of the best vegetables in Europe. It's nothing short of amazing.”