Summer clubbing in Ibiza has become a synonym of Space. No visits to the White Island are completed unless they include at least the experience of a party at Space. What makes this club so special – a club located in the middle of a big car park in Playa d’en Bossa? What kind of club can cause that mass pilgrimage year after year at their opening and closing parties? Space is the Mecca of dance music parties. It is a club which for many people has become one of the funniest places in the world.
Pepe Roselló, a devotee of opera and a person who speaks six European languages, has been the driving force of Space since its beginning.
He has always been a club owner – he started with Playboy in San Antonio in 1963. He explains he began in the late 50s and the early 60s, when the first hippies arrived from the USA, escaping from the Korea and Vietnam wars. His eyes light up when he remembers the incredible music freedom they brought to the island, a mixture of different styles and music cultures, and even more important, their great wish to celebrate their love for music. Suddenly, the first bars that opened on the island were packed with people to listen to this new and exciting music wave - La Tierra, Mono Desnudo and Graffiti.
At that time Spain was under Franco’s dictatorship, with strict directives about importing foreign recordings and live music made by groups who were not Spanish, threatening to take this new music revival back to the underground. But even in that repressive atmosphere, a group of businessmen on the island, “crazy about music”, quoting Pepe, rejected that isolation and in 1973 Pachá opened, soon followed by Es Paradis, Amnesia and Ku… In the mid 80s Pepe was convinced that the future was in the hands of these great clubs – they were the only ones able to make it commercial, to bring live performances of bands for an eager audience.
In 1989 Pepe took over the club Space in Playa d’en Bossa. The first big challenge was to change the perceptions that people had about Playa d’en Bossa, which was mainly a family resort, and to lead them from the route of the main clubs - San Antonio (Es Paradis), Ibiza (Pachá) and the main road between them (Amnesia and Ku- now Privilege).
A complete music devotee, Pepe knew very well what people could do to listen to the music they liked, and he saw the potential to open when the other clubs were closed. At that time, under the Spanish law, all the establishments had to close at least two hours a day, so he decided to open the club with two sessions - an evening one, closing for two hours and making people leave the club, while he took advantage of this to replace cameras and to clean the club, so that later people could come in again.
The entertainment policy was a mixture of variety shows from those early years - Mr and Miss Space, Miss Ibiza and Formentera, live bands, flamenco performances – a view which is far from the present electronic view. It was still a formula to work nowadays and the rising club popularity. In 1991 a Young English Dj called Alex P had the idea of setting up a roof behind the bar to play for the audience more peacefully so people could enjoy their drinks on a chill-out terrace. Two years later Brandon Block joined him and as a result of this union the Space Terrace was born. The rest, as they say, … is history.
Together with the growth of the club, the culture of the DJ sound appeared inevitably. He affectionately remembers one of his first parties in Ibiza, inviting international DJs, in 1994. In fact, the promotion to introduce Red Bull in Ibiza was led by Sven Vath and Marc Spoon, the indisputable kings of the techno and trance scene nowadays.
From that moment on, big parties were organized- Up Yer Jonson with Sasha, Renaissance with Dave Seaman and John Digweed, React with Carl Cox, and even live performances with Erick Morillo like Reel 2 Reel, without forgetting Space famous Opening and Closing parties, which have been and still are today the parties that mark the beginning and the end of the season in Ibiza.
We cannot forget Space residents on Sundays, Brandon Block and Alex P., who soon made their sessions the favourite ones on the whole island.
Space is everything about music. We can assure that all the most important international Djs have visited Space. But we must remember that one of the main reasons for this great success of Space has been the excellence and continuity of its own residents – versatile Djs such as Reche, José de Divina and Tania Vulcano, as good as the most recent incorporations, Jon Ulysses, and, of course, Steve Lawler. They are the only ones who really understand the crowd visiting Space, the only ones who know what to play and when to do it. Space is in very good terms with many international Djs, to the extent they have grown up at the club, bringing now the same energy and affection as ten years ago. The exclusive treatment and care for customers was also a distinguishing feature of the club. Celebrities and mortals shared the dance floor and really indulged themselves, with no rules as for clothes or condition, releasing a spirit of freedom, joy and good vibrations which is still being kept intact nowadays. The Space myth was so powerful that many DJs asked to work there without being paid, of course with the growth of clubs and the DJ culture, which is something Space understands very well, but just watch the close relation between Space and many of the most important DJs, such as Carl Cox, Sasha, John Digweed, Steve Lawler, Erick Morillo and many others, who say, after 23 years, that Space is still the club where all DJs love playing. Just when we thought Space could not be greater, Space announced 22-hour sessions of continuous party, all day and all night on Sunday, almost a day non-stop! Back in 1999, the sessions at Space on Sundays ended at 8 p.m. And where are we going now? That was the question everybody asked when they left the club. Undoubtedly, a longer party could work perfectly. The question was how to do it. With a joint collaboration of Darren Hughes, Danny Wittle and Space, those 22-hours marathon sessions were born, from Sunday at 8 a.m. to Monday at 6 a.m., with a big amount of different DJs and varied styles, offering people the chance to choose from what they liked most and the room they preferred - on Sunday morning in the main room, in the evening on the Sunset Terrace, or even combining all of them.
And the job was done – it was a party like never before, lasting 14 weeks that summer, day and night! The DJ line-up was like a festival! And the atmosphere was electrifying, both inside and outside. In fact, it was so good that first Home and We Love Sundays @Space, as it was called two years later, were awarded “Best Club Night” in 2002 in the Dancestar awards.
Following this great clubbing revolution, a complete remodelling of the DJ booths was carried out, both inside and outside in winter 1999/2000. Traditionally, the DJs on the terrace played behind the bar on the left of the terrace, invisible from the dance floor. On a hot Sunday evening in August 1999, to celebrate the Radio 1 weekend, a place for the DJ was set up at the end of the terrace. Carl Cox, Mouse T and Boris Dlugosh played for a delighted crowd. Carl’s session won the first prize for the Best Session of the Year by the English BBC Radio. And the interaction among Space, DJs and the audience began to increase. Then the present booth for the DJ was built .Inside a similar situation happened, with a big booth at the back of the club presiding over the main room. In view of all these improvements and the effort made by Space year after year to create the perfect conditions to enjoy music in its total essence, it was the best momento to be awarded Best Club in the World in the Dancestar awards in 2001.
In the decade from 2000 to 2010, with the change of laws moving the day programme to evening hours, Space has consolidated itself as a worldwide reference for dance culture, with a varied programme including all sides of electronic music, 5 different rooms with a sound system which for several years has been nominated the best in the world in the IDMA, an impeccable production at each of the different daily parties, and a special programme including concerts and live performances by the main national and international DJs, bands and producers, who regard the club as “the Mecca of electronic music”.
Reacting to the audience demand, VIP areas were opened so as to enjoy the Space experience with attention and comfort as much as possible. These areas were located in preference places so people could not miss a bit of what happened at the best club in the world every evening.
In 2010 Space expanded internationally opening the franchise Space Sharm in Egypt and in 2012 Space opened two more franchises in Menorca and Brazil (Balneário Camboriu). In 2013 new spectacular franchises which are going to open are being developed in different cities such as New York and Dubai. In Dubai, Space Ibiza is going to open Space Deluxe Dubai, the first restaurant of the gropu. Also through Space Entertainment (a Space division in Barcelona), which runs the worldwide club tour, as well as the tours of its weekly parties and festivals that Space Ibiza exports to every single spot in the world, taking everywhere the magic of Ibiza through music.
The constant dedication and improvements in these 23 years have made Space Ibiza the most awarded club in the world, as shown by the numerous awards got in the last decade. These awards vouch for the work and excitement in the project Space Ibiza and the love given by an unconditional audience year after year. They have never been looked for, but they have arrived as a reward, and, as it should be, we are immensely grateful for them, because they make the club excel itself when every new season arrives.