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IMS conference 2024 | Day two | The old and the new

The second day of the conference examined Ibiza's ever changing landscape and leading figureheads.

Ibiza - as much as it changes, it also stays the same.

Each year, there's always something new to digest, yet we always find a way of honouring the old, too. The theme flowing through the second day of the International Music Summit 2024 seemed to pit the new and the old across from one another.

Not necessarily in confrontation, and often working in respect, if not synergy, it was interesting to see how different eras and different generations tackle all too familiar obstacles.

Ibiza Class of 2024

The day opened in typically fiery fashion with the Ask Me Anything: Ibiza Class of 2024 panel (the repackaged Great Annual Ibiza Debate), and, yes, yours truly was among the speakers. However, I was happy to take a cameo role and leave any controversies to my fellow panellists.

International Music Summit | Hyde & Mondrian by Tasya Menaker

Ibiza Rocks founder Andy McKay (pictured centre, above) was not shy in coming forward. Having last appeared at the very first IMS 15 years ago, the entertainment mogul clearly felt he had lost time to make up for.

Andy provided some of the panel's juicier soundbites, simultaneously heaping praise and directing criticism at competitor The Night League with his "Yin and Yann" analogy.

An ardent supporter of the youth market and the value and "energy" it brings, Andy sought to defend his customer-base. He voiced concerns about restrictive ticket pricing, monopolising the island and political leverage.

International Music Summit | Hyde & Mondrian by Tasya Menaker

Despite airing these grievances, Andy was also quick to leap to his counterpart's defence. He felt prompted when the arrival of Ushuaïa (and by proxy, party hotels in general) was cited as a point of island upheaval where the game changed.

Also discussed, was the impact of phones on the dancefloor and changing attitudes towards them.

Moderator Grego O'Hallohan was right to point out that Michael Bibi's return from a life-threatening illness at DC10 last summer (pictured below) was one instance where the majority of the club had their phone out, yet the atmosphere remained electric.

Solid Grooves | DC10 by Louis Nesbitt

Exceptions aside, it seems the consensus is swinging back to at least a partial ban. How that would work in the era of the smartphone remains to be seen.

On Monday night, we might get to see how Andy himself plans to combat it at the launch party of Andy Manumission & Pikes Ibiza present Mondays.

Life after acquisition

Defected is another company going through some changes and trying to find a path between the old way of doing things and the new.

Perhaps in part to stem industry rumours of a fallout, founder Simon Dunmore and his successor Wez Saunders sat opposite one another to discuss the change of regime. For better or for worse, gossiping is part of human nature (just check out our forum gossip thread!)

Speculation was likely fuelled by Simon leaving his advisory role prematurely. He likened his departure to that of ex-football manager Alex Ferguson, saying that he never wanted to become the guy sat stony-faced in the crowd whenever he was welcomed back.

International Music Summit | Hyde & Mondrian

Wez talked about Defected going from 50 members of staff to 80. He acknowledged that Defected and Glitterbox had been created and then managed in Simon's vision, but explained that heads of department had now been given greater responsibility.

In an increasingly polarised world, it was very healthy and refreshing to see two headstrong people hold such respect and admiration for one another, despite their different approaches. Hope for humanity.

2024 really is a new dawn for Defected. It embarks on a brand new residency at Ushuaïa, having left Eden after five seasons in San Antonio. Arguably, this is the biggest public-facing decision of Wez Saunders' stewardship. All eyes on Tuesday daytimes then.

Defected gets underway in its new slot from 7 May with a back-to-back frenzy.

Dennis Ferrer b2b Eats Everything, Carl Craig b2b The Blessed Madonna, Sam Divine b2b Low Steppa and a four-way between Prunk, Rio Tashan, Olive F and FKA Mash are all booked.

From a party in transition to an entire club. Pacha was next to fall under the microscope.

International Music Summit | Hyde & Mondrian by Tasya Menaker


New Pacha Group CEO Aloki Batra was interviewed by Katie Bain and gave insights into his background in hospitality, as well as his experience since coming onboard with the brand.

Perhaps more pertinently to the forthcoming season (and those that follow), Aloki offered up some news. There were suggestions of a big pop star being part of the new Pacha Presents series and Playa Pacha Beach Club, recently launched in Dubai, will be arriving here in 2025.

Both of those played second fiddle to that of Flower Power's news, however. Only hours earlier, the line-up for the revamped party had dropped.

At 43 years, Flower Power is Ibiza's oldest party by a substantial margin. Some might say it was due for an update. How many of its older fans will agree on the drastic nature of that update might become one of Ibiza 2024's big talking points. "Brand new" Flower Power is certainly that.

Noting the continuity of the same personnel from before to after the takeover, Aloki pressed the point that he had not come in to tell existing staff how to do their job. If anything, he just wanted to be "the cherry on top of a great cake."

Stressing the importance of "dialogue, deliberation and debate" when it came to decision-making, he implied everybody on the team had input. That's definitely something that resonated with us at Ibiza Spotlight. Our monthly team meetings can sometimes also be passionately divisive. It's good to talk and difference of opinion is healthy.

"The most important thing to me is the culture integration. As a leader, it's important to respect the culture we have acquired. To be a good teacher, you need to be a good student first."

International Music Summit | Hyde & Mondrian by Tasya Menaker

In saying so, he echoed what colleague Jessica Capaz McCarthy had said earlier in the day, during the opening panel.

"If anything, they (the new owners) are learning about the business from us."

As well as the serious tone of the day, there were also laughs.

International Music Summit | Hyde & Mondrian by Tatiana Chausovsky

500 Up

On his Southern Fried Records panel, Norman Cook (AKA Fatboy Slim) repeated a quote from Hunter S. Thompson about the music industry:

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

Good ol' Norm always manages to raise a smile. They say the secret to a long life is being able to laugh at yourself. In his case, it might also be the secret to a long career. The sixty-year-old went on to play Las Dalias and Akasha later that night alongside an otherwise fledgling line-up.

LaLa, Hayley Zalassi, Meg Ward and Sam Girling were the youthful cast of support. There was just one DJ ballsy enough to climb onto the decks to rally the crowd, though. That reminds us of another quip: you can't be a DJ when you grow up. You can only be one or the other. Not both.

SFR500: Southern Fried Records | Las Dalias & Akasha

Perhaps we'd all enjoy this circus called the music biz a bit more, if we all started taking ourselves a little less seriously?

PHOTOGRAPHY | by Tasya Menaker, Juan Afanador, Facundo Badini and Louis Nesbitt

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