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Staff picks: Jo’s top five parties of summer

Our freelance clubbing reporter from Scotland makes her picks.

Let's get straight to it. I won't bore you with the "time flies" chat, because rapid summers are just how Ibiza goes down. One day you're fresh-faced and raring to go, and the next, multivitamins are the new rave essential.

This summer, I've very much been living out the catch flights, not feelings ethos, plane-hopping between Ibiza and my Edinburgh base. However, I'd be lying if I said that looking back on the last six months of partying hasn't hit me right in the feels. We really have the best job in the world.

After scrolling through numerous dancefloor videos to refresh my memory (and passing a few questionable photo memories on the way ie. Lissy bringing her takeaway pizza into the Amnesia DJ booth), my 2023 top parties short list is now complete.

Jo selects Defected, The Signal, Calvin Harris, Sven Väth presents Catharsis and Amnesia Closing.

Defected | Eden Ibiza by Mario Pinta

Defected opening party | Eden | 28 April

If in doubt, Defected is always a shout. Applying that rule has led to many visits throughout the summer, but opening night remains etched on my mind.

Having had a lovely meal with the Defected team at La Bodega, followed by a trip up to Dalt Vila for the IMS Grand Finale party, we were in top spirits to head along to Eden for Defected's season opener.

Rio Tashan kicked-off the House antics, and I'm sure the rest of the Spotlight team will have my back in saying he has absolutely killed it this summer. Onto another showstopper and Sam Divine brought the heat. At this moment, the booth was bouncing, drinks flowing and I found myself unknowingly talking to Maverick Sabre. To this day, I could not tell you what about!

Looking back this was a night of pure unadulterated fun and a teaser of what was to come for the rest of the season.

The Signal | Hï Ibiza

The Signal | Hï Ibiza | 29 April

How this party was almost six months ago, I do not know. Yet it stands out as a winner.

Myself and clubbing editor Steve set our alarms to hit the dancefloor at 07:00 and take on Hï Ibiza's opening party The Signal. Starting the rave in the morning was a first for me, but I was sold on the experience.

Bassy vibrations lead us to The Theatre where Bronx bros The Martinez Brothers and Ibiza mainstay Loco Dice served up soul, sass and hella swagger in an audaciously groove-stricken back-to-back set. In short, it went off.

The Signal | Hï Ibiza

The chemistry between The Bros and Dice reverberated around the room, creating an almost intimate feel in the state-of-the-art superclub, and kept us sunrise ravers transfixed until midday.

Walking straight from the club to the cafe we grabbed some breakfast and carried on as usual. What better way to start the day?

Calvin Harris | Ushuaïa

Calvin Harris opening party | Ushuaïa | 26 May

All cards on the table, I went into this one with a sceptical mindset.

I've seen Calvin Harris multiple times before, from T in The Park to Ibiza, and had a sure idea of what to expect. However, at the request of my two best friends Grace and Louise who were over visiting, we hit up Calvin Harris' Ushuaïa opening party.

Jam-packed with party goers, you really couldn't argue with the vibes. In what felt like an alliance of the Scots (myself included), Ewan McVicar joined as the special guest and played a solid set. Eventually, Calvin Harris made a spectacular entrance.

It's easy to forget just how many mega hits he's produced. Tracks like Drinking From The Bottle and We Found Love soundtracked my youth.

To be in his presence with my two oldest friends, who featured in every memory that instantaneously came flooding back, was a really special experience.

Sven Väth presents Catharsis | Akasha by PHRANK

Sven Väth presents Catharsis | Las Dalias & Akasha | 1 June

Way back in January, I pinned the Catharsis opening party as one I couldn't miss.

I adore Sven Väth. His DJ sets are pure hypnosis and as our Spotlight co-founder Steffi put it, his sets are like a carpet of music. Until this date, I hadn't ventured to Las Dalias before and not even the worst hangover of the season/my life (yes, that bad) would stop me.

Starting outside in what resembled a hippy's paradise, I was in awe. A treasure trove of Shazam-worthy cuts were on offer. Even now, Raxon's Cosmic Cure instantly transports me back to the garden.

After I regained some chill having been caught off guard by the bubble machine, the party moved indoors to Akasha's 360° DJ booth. To get up close and personal with a scene hero in action, to the point where I could read his vinyl covers as he chose them, is unbeatable.

I admit, in the early hours of the morning, the hangover got the better of me. Rest assured, I'll be back.

Amnesia Closing Party by PHRANK

Amnesia's Closing Party | 10 October

Amnesia's closing night was the final get-together of the summer for Ibiza Spotlight's clubbing team. It's fair to say emotions were running high for this one. As we arrived at the ripe time of 00:30, the queue was already tailing around the club and the dancefloor equally rammed.

Amnesia's Closing Party is always a big deal, but this year, the line-up hit hard. In the Main Room, pounding Techno ruled with Charlotte de Witte, Nina Kraviz and Deborah de Luca leading the way.

Meanwhile on the Terraza, it was going off with pumped-up House and Tech energy. Danny Howard and Fleur Shore were stand-outs. Of course, Jamie Jones back-to-back Joseph Capriati was the pairing that everyone was waiting for come 08:00.

Between the green room hysterics, supreme dancefloor selections and final catch ups with friends, it was the perfect ending to the 2023 season.

Here's hoping Jo will be a regular flyer on the Edinburgh-Ibiza route next summer.

Ibiza 2023 is sadly over, but you can still find out about the cool season programme by heading to our party calendar.

PHOTOGRAPHY | by Mario Pinta and PHRANK

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