In what may be a sign of things to come for one of the globe’s leading dance music destinations, two of Ibiza’s marquee live music venues have announced that they will not open for the 2020 season.
In a statement posted to social media today (June 17), both Hï Ibiza and Ushuaïa announced that “following the news from the Balearic Government that no clubs will be allowed to open in Ibiza this season, it is with a heavy heart that we announce that there will be no events at both Hï Ibiza and Ushuaia this summer.” Read the complete statement below.
Although an official announcement has not been made by the Balearic government, there are indications — including a report in local Ibiza newspaper El Diario – that officials will vote to shutter indoor nightclubs for the remainder of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, or enact capacity restrictions that club owners do not consider economically feasible. An official vote is expected tomorrow (June 18) in Palma, the capital of Mallorca.
Myriad contingency plans have been proposed to make it possible for club owners to open for the season. Suggestions include dramatically decreased capacity, sanitary precautions and different layouts requiring clubbers to be seated at tables. But according to José Luis Benitez, the director of institutional relations at Palladium Hotel Group, which owns Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, “social distance cannot be assured, and it has been shown that this is a problem with the virus, and our priority is health.”
The news is the latest development in a tumultuous time for the island, with Spanish state and national governments offering conflicting COVID-19 response regulations. As Billboard reported earlier this month, Spain’s national government said on June 6 that nightclubs could reopen with up to 30% capacity in cities that meet the health cut off. A day later, the Balearic government said nightclubs would remain closed in Ibiza, a key spot for summer clubbing tourism, especially for electronic dance music.
This latest development affects only indoor clubs on the island. Day clubs in hotels and beach bars — which typically operate to midnight — were allowed to open on June 8 at 75% capacity. Ibiza Rocks, which caters primarily to U.K. clubbers, is still planning to restart its pool parties on July 1 — albeit at 40% capacity, and with only local DJs for at least the first month.
The decision by Ushuaïa and Hï was long anticipated, since the clubs are among the larger venues on the island (with 4,000 and 5,000-person capacities, respectively) and host summer residencies for top talent like Calvin Harris and David Guetta, as well as Latin stars like Bad Bunny. While the situation seemed more uncertain for Hï, a nightclub, Ushuaïa, which is open-air, could have opened at reduced capacity as Ibiza Rocks is planning. But sources tell Billboard that the owners have deep pockets and preferred to wait out the summer and regroup for 2021.
Palladium Hotel Group, controlled by Spanish billionaire Abel Matutes, owns 50 hotels in six countries and controls substantial real estate on the island, including Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza. Matutes, through other entities, also owns Hï and Privilege, the largest nightclub on Ibiza with a capacity of 10,000.