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Review: The weird & wonderful at Freddie Rocks Ibiza

The annual Freddie Mercury fest at Pikes Hotel.

It was 1.30 AM and I was sat with a melted moustache on my face that made me look like a badly-attempted watercolour painting. The product that did the damage was liquid eyeliner and the irony is that underneath my fake attempt, I had my own bona fide tash already on the go - I have the Spanish blood pumping through my veins to thank for that - an advantage on this occasion only.

The occasion was, of course, Freddie Rocks Ibiza at Pikes Hotel, and as laid down as law in the previous five years it was a case of no tash, no entry. Emotional scars from unrelenting school yard pisstakes have long healed, so I was up for resembling a circus freak in the name of showing off what my daddy gave me for a good cause. Raising funds in aid of the Mercury Phoenix trust, which was founded in Freddie Mercury's honour in the global battle against HIV/AIDS, was the purpose of Sunday night's celebratory bash, however, in his name we there to have an absolute cracker of a party.

For those who don't know, the weird and wonderful Pikes Hotel was the location for the former Queen frontman's 41st birthday blow-out in 1987. It was held just five months after discovering he had AIDS, and to this day, it solidly holds the title as one of the most lavish parties Ibiza has pumped up the helium balloons for.

Mercury once famously uttered the words: “Whatever you do, don't make me boring.” So, in loving memory of a musical champion who shone bright with glittering charisma, here's how the party blazed on in true eccentric style.


The Host

Mark Jones, the founder of British record label, Wall of Sound, is the creative mind behind the bash and he was an ever-present source of supreme entertainment from the get-go. Donning Mercury's iconic yellow jacket, he stood at the front of the queue with a tash crayon, which I jumped straight in for post-melt. Enviable facial hair aside - whether it was the real deal or scrawled on - it was all about the tunes for him as he announced Basement Jaxx were thrusting out a set that would have had the cubed dance floor pouring with pleasure. A little bit crude, a big bit rude; it was daft to the bone but in adulthood we all like to be hit with the nonsense stick when it's on offer for a slapping.


The Getups

For some, moustaches hung on the top lip were the only clue to what we were paying homage to. For others, it was a mere miniscule – yet still vital – element of their crash through the fancy dress box. You had your not-so-try-hards and your diehards bouncing about together as revved up acid house obliterated the dance floor, with a simple strip of black separating the two. Hilarity could be sourced in every colourful corner – a few humans looked like they might even cease to exist in the party's aftermath. But tailored headwear and skin-tight lycra was where it was really at. My outfit was admitedly pretty crap when stood in between my two mates who were sucked and squeezed into the latter, and the only thing I had going for me was an elrow crown that looked like an upgraded Burger King head shiner. I nearly buckled 15 minutes in when an Aussie offered 30 euro to swipe it off my head, but then I thought, hang on a minute, would Freddie pass up his royal headwear to fatten his wallet? Absolutely not. So instead he wrote me a note which read: “Met an Aussie lad, he was the love of my life, said he will take me back to Aus with him to live happily ever after. The end.” The end indeed. Catch you down under.


Gender Bending

Picking back up on the easily found hilarity in the previous point, there's always a source for it when you notice a man looking like he's happy with his testosterone levels in an overtly feminine looking dress, eh? Bottle of beer in hand while comfortably stood in pink lace is good banter that says a lot about a man´s comfort in his sexuality. At some point I was also stood behind women wondering what sex organs they were rocking underneath their attire. Sometimes, even the tash didn't help. Is that a feminine looking man, or a masculine looking woman? It was a thought that hit my brain on numerous occasions, and it's a good guessing game if you can keep your questioning locked up inside with a face that isn´t riddled with confusion.


Ball Games

You know when you invent something in your mind and think that is brilliant, so you tell a few people but don't act on it and then come round to a scene that seems to prove telepathy exists? That happened. With Freddie Mercury's name up there in the form of giant silver balloons and the karaoke ball pit lying only a few feet away I thought I´m going to try and chuck the balls through the letters, and then totally forgot about it. After a garden stroll and arriving back at the same spot, that was exactly what was going on with about 20 people shooting lettered hoops. What a game. I watched it proceed then had my shot and missed. Nice one.


Momentous Musical Moments

Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx fired up their classic track, 'Do Your Thing' and the Fat Lady rose to the occasion by hitting the high notes alongside him with a rendition of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Bushwacka! laid on acid house and in the karaoke room put the mic to all sorts of hits. And between all that in the piano room where the magic happens away from all the other magic, it was like scenes from the 1940s when families were really families and united in harmonic tones for a good old sing-song. The feeling in there is contagious and if your voice is a howler, there's plenty more to drown it out. The piano player at this late point in the night was incredible. We heard Oasis, Postman Pat, Queen and Thomas the Tank Engine all within 30 minutes. If you're not there, that concoction sounds cracked out its mind, but it 100% worked. Mastery at its finest. And don't even get me started on the eargasmic remixing of Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit' heard back on the dance floor – unbelievable stuff that was almost paralysing.


And after all that, we were out on the street for a showdown with the luminous stars that decorate the Milky Way. As we waxed lyrical on the night while lying out on a dirt track down the road covered in muck, our eyes popped out our heads as one shooting star was caught exploding into the atmosphere as if it were a mark of the true star we'd left the rest to continue celebrating inside. Aye, that´s as stinkingly cheesy as a cheddar cheese string, but what a way to see the night off.

I leave you with an image of my notes taken in old school, disorganised form - the only way it should be done at a venue as mental as Pikes Hotel.


WORDS | Aimee Lawrence PHOTOGRAPHY | Aimee Lawrence & Luke Dyson

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