What Went Down at A Balearic Beat Hotel
We Danced, We Talked, We Listened & This is What We Learnt...
When we sat down for our conversation in partnership with Ambient Salon it was five o’clock in the afternoon, the blissful, hazy hour just before the sun started to sink into the ocean and wellness became eclipsed by hedonism. Our conversation in partnership with Ambient Salon encompassed that five o’clock feeling; nostalgia for the past, anticipation for the night ahead and the impenetrable joy of sunset sounds, great chat and Balearic scenes. This five o’clock feeling is what Beat Hotel does so well; and their Balearic edition was no exception.
Ibiza has long been regarded as a destination for cultural exchange, attracting people from drastically different walks of life, united by their search for something bigger and better. Inspired by the forever wandering but never lost Beat Generation of the 1950s, Ibiza was always going to be the next destination for the experiential group to plant their seed. Ibiza is home to the social architects of their time, a place for intellects and hedonists to meet and put big ideas into play. It was a nexus for underground thought, favoured by the original ‘nomads’ long before the term was adopted by the remote generation. Joe Muggs, the music historian mastermind behind Ambient Salon, cites this, alongside a casual reference to Ian Brown of The Stone Roses’ seminal ‘It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at’ speech as the reason behind our focus on belonging. With a hum of activity in the background, Joe tries to put the allure of the island into words, “Ibiza is hard to explain, and that’s exactly why we need multiple voices and thoughts to try and define what Ibiza actually is. It’s an eternal question that is impossible to define. It’s the intangible magic of someone playing the right record in the right spot with the right weather. Balearic is a difficult term to explain which speaks to the deep, rich history of any place that you stand in the world”.
With an inkling of sarcasm Joe exclaims that Ibiza is a ‘state of mind’, casting all jokes aside, in many ways it is; A Balearic Beat Hotel was mind-and-body-bending, taking us from sound healing and synth yoga to deep conversations and blissful sounds, offering a unique insight into the island’s ineffable magic.
Our conversation in partnership with Ambient Salon, ‘Where You’re From or Where You’re At?’, unpacks the connection between music and identity, exploring how music subcultures foster a sense of belonging, not to a place but to a movement. For Joe, music introduced him to a different concept of ‘english-ness’, he remembers listening to the transistor radio at the age of five or six, tuning into pirate radio stations who were curating the sounds of the era, from dancehall to reggae and everything in between. The development of music scenes and the micro scenes that emerge out of them become something in which people orbit around, a community formed out of sonic appreciation and cultivated by a sense of belonging to something much bigger than yourself. Joe describes belonging as ‘the understanding of the lineages of music, the personnel and their understanding of the connections between them’. Between sets, Manchester-via-Ibiza DJ Ruf Dug reminisces about the glory days of clubbing in Amnesia, ‘you had a shoplifter from Liverpool next to a minor royal from a European microstate, dancing next to an Ibicnco farmer’s kid’. In his broad Mancunian accent he praises the power of music to break down boundaries that might otherwise be completely impenetrable. The father of Balearic beats Alfredo Fiorito was at the forefront of Ibiza’s rave scene in the 80s, he describes how the dance floor mirrored socio-political developments of the time, it was a period of optimism and unity, “People came from everywhere to get together. The European Union was starting to take shape politically, but the first time I had seen that kind union was on the dance floors of Ibiza”.Listen to 'Where You're From or Where You're At?' Here.
A Balearic Beat Hotel nodded to the Ibiza of the 80s, but also inspired conversation about what lies ahead. The island has been subject to constant evolution, outgrowing the underground dance scene that it became known for in the 80s before maturing into a destination for the rich and famous which Alfredo describes as the latest invasion, ‘first came the Moors, then the Vikings and now the tourists’. Ruf Dug is hopeful that the island is carving out a new identity once more, with local Ibicencos at the helm, “A lot of people live here now. People in their late twenties that have had ties to Ibiza for a long time, creating their own culture. New breeds of creatives who aren’t interested in following the same path of becoming resident DJs in clubs for tourists for just six months of the year. They want to create their own scene, by locals for locals, they’ve had enough of the big clubs that promote a one hundred euro minimum spend. They aren’t here on holiday, they live here.” For the first time in a long time, there is a scene developing that speaks to the growing all-year-round population. Sure, the mega yachts and superclubs will still be there, but they will exist alongside an alternative scene that feels more understated in ode to the island’s countercultural past.
Over the duration of the weekend we danced, we talked and we listened, leaving A Balearic Beat Hotel with a better understanding of the relationship between music and belonging, as well as a newfound excitement for what might be next. To borrow a phrase from Joe Muggs, ‘belonging is a battleground’, listen to us tackle the complexities of identity here with music legends of past and present Ruf Dug, Colleen Cosmo Murphy and Zakia.