The premise was simple, and one David Vincent, the club’s founder, wanted to realise for many years – to transplant the spiritual ethos of Sankeys Manchester to Ibiza. Taking on such a huge challenge exemplified not just the forward-thinking nature of David and his ceaseless drive to improve the Sankeys brand globally, and in coming to the world’s most iconic party epicentre he took on and successfully pulled off a spectacular first season in 2011.
In achieving one of his longest-held ambitions, David brought the globally famed club from the United Kingdom to the White Isle to great acclaim. And as the island’s newest new club quickly became the in-vogue epicentre of the underground, winning plaudits and fans for its focus on stellar names in the intimacy of the club, it was evident that the bastion of the underground had done it again.
Bringing in a peerless sound and light system for a venue of its size, and recreating the iconic Basement, Spektrum and Boutique rooms – as well as an outdoor terrace – was a masterstroke, embodying the club’s foundations in Playa d’en Bossa.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. In April 1 millions Euros of funding was pulled in the build up to the club’s opening fiesta, so instead of originally opening at the end of June, this was brought forward to the end of May to generate much-needed cash flow. A desperate David maxed out all his credit cards and borrowed money from friends to keep the club going.
He thought it was like a “raveline,” with support coming in from all sides to keep his project going forward. On opening, the club was a dark, threadbare cave; and the lighting rig, arriving 6 weeks late, created confusion to those who first came.
The club opened on May 26th to a sold out capacity under the title A New Beginning, with guests Butch, Barem, Nima Gorji and Greg Vickers but with mixed reviews. Rather than being David’s vision of a stylish and futuristic European club, it was initially an underground minimal mecca, something which still fit the Sankeys brand, but it was not how David had planned it.
Some clubbers loved the sparse darkness the venue offered; others from the island were asking “What the fuck?!” on seeing how much work there was still to be done, and this was the club’s first real test – could it survive one week in Ibiza, let alone a whole season? These divisively split opinions set the club back, with attendances dropping.
During the first weeks, on some nights the club only had around 200 people in, and David would say, “Well, we are the most underground club on the island… not the most financially successful, but most underground by default.” It took until August for the word to get around that something special was happening at the club, and people the crowds started to swell again.
As the club continued to grow, its reputation spread across the island. Tribes started developing at weekly club nights like Monza and Carnival, as island and workers congregated at the club as they had space to dance instead of the packed more successful clubs which workers tried to avoid during tourist season. This helped to give Sankeys its cool underground credibility.
DJs were amazed by how good the sound was in the Basement. The club constantly saw DJs like Jamie Jones, Marco Carola and Dan Ghenacia turn up on their nights off and comment about how good the sound system was in the club. The sound system also passed the legendary Enzo Siragusa test, which got him to do some one off Fuse shows in September which were some of the best of the entire season.
It was the final month which really put Sankeys Ibiza on the map. Monza, Fuse, Carnival and Full On Ferry all hosted huge sessions with amazing lineups, and with the first season taking its toll on David, he planned to wrap the season up with the final Monza show which starred Ricardo Villalobos and Raresh. However, as each event eclipsed the last and being inspired by just how good the Monza party was, he managed to find the strength and energy for one more show, putting together the insanely good closing event the day after DC-10 closed in just 24 hours!
Steve Lawler was bowled over by what he saw and how good the club’s crowd was at a Fuse show. This led to David and Steve chatting about a possible residency for 2012, and Steve played the 2011 closing show as a test. At this party Steve Lawler, tINI, Siragusa and Livio and Roby rocked Sankeys Ibiza for all the island’s worker and hipsters, and even some of the DC-10 hierarchy were there including Tania Vulcano.
Steve said how he loved the raw feel of the club, including the chalk on the walls, to which David replied, “It’s only because we could not afford to do a proper bar display and ran out of money!” From this the VIVa 2012 residency was born, which takes place every Wednesday, and the Diynamic residency will be every Tuesday.
This capped Sankeys first season in fine style, leaving the island, as the sun set on Ibiza 2011, begging for more. The “what the fuck?!” people who had first seen the club on opening were left with their jaws on the floor at Sankeys Ibiza drew to a spectacular conclusion. 2011 showed how strong Sankeys’ reputation was globally; not just in winning the DJ Mag Best Club of The Year in 2010 for Manchester, but being able to unite together Ibiza’s workers, its holiday makers, its party people and its taste-makers, for what was a riotous inaugural season of the highest order.
Speaking of that first season, David says, “Our first summer was an absolute rollercoaster,” he explains. “I think that I made every mistake possible running a night club in Ibiza! If there’s a handbook on what not to do, I followed it. There’s no-one to show you what to do, you just have to try and see what happens. But luckily, despite all of the problems, we got through it. I can’t deny there were some tense moments, especially building up to the grand opening weekend when it was all hands on deck and everyone was flat out right until the first people came in.”
“No-one really realised that behind the scenes it was chaos, with the sound system literally being tuned as people were queuing up and the paint was still drying. But we quickly proved we had got what it took to make a success of a brand new Sankeys on the island, and as the season progressed our parties got bigger and better. It was an amazing and insightful summer for me, personally, because I learnt so much and for me that was vital in understanding not only what we had achieved in 2011, but how big the potential was for the following years.”
“By the time we were coming to the end, the closing parties were some of the best I have been involved in, and we knew as the season climaxed that we had created something truly special, and brought something new to Ibiza. The feedback from DJs and clubbers from all over the world was phenomenal.”
For Sankeys’ Manchester history, please click here.