As the sun sets on a sparkling 2014 Ibiza season, it’s clear that Glitterbox has started something special this summer.
This Saturday 27 September sees the season reach its dazzling climax with a Closing Party at Booom that will be the pinnacle of everything Glitterbox aspired to be.
Having delighted us all summer long, Glitterbox residents Dimitri From Paris, Joey Negro and Late Nite Tuff Guy will appear together with a cast of legendary islanders - DJ Antz playing back to back with DJ Pippi, Mr Doris and Shovell (providing live percussion) and the full complement of glamorously feathered and bejeweled Glitterbox dancers. They will all be joined by house music vocal superstar India, who will be performing her Masters At Work-produced masterpieces including ‘I Can’t Get Not Sleep’, ‘Runaway’, ‘To Be In Love’ and ‘Backfired’.
Here, with the help of some of those who have played or reviewed the party, we reflect on how the debut season evolved and ultimately triumphed as Glitterbox has become, according to Essential Ibiza “exactly what Saturday nights were made for.”
Launching in June, the weekly Saturday night residency at Booom set out to bring back the original spirit of house music to the White Isle. Starting a brand new party in Ibiza is, however, anything but easy and with a World Cup as well as the vast array of established alternatives as competition Glitterbox spent the early season carving out its reputation. Neverthless, from those early weeks the night enjoyed the goodwill of both the island and industry crowds alike. Placing a focus on quality, and having the events taking place in what is undoubtedly the perfect venue for such a party – Booom – the word of mouth gradually spread ever wider and attendances grew to the point that Glitterbox will round off its debut year having attracted capacity crowds each and every week in September.
The Glitterbox dancefloor has certainly brought together that indefinable mix of what makes all the very best club nights into absolutely great ones – as Ibiza Spotlight put it recently, “come to Glitterbox and know the meaning of a real dancefloor”. Here it’s been the music obsessives, fashion eccentrics, gays, straights, weekend clubbers, island workers and famous faces, all drawn by a ‘music first’ policy and a dose of Saturday night Ibiza glamour.
Glitterbox became the hedonistic and glamourous playground for the island crowd and those style conscious international clubbers seeking an alternative to flashy big room gimmickry, trendy underground fads or the homogenous tech-house soundtrack that’s taken hold elsewhere on the island. Resident Advisor remarked, “there’s no doubt elements of Ibiza have become increasingly pedestrian – slave to the dubby Euro-favoured strains of house and techno regularly bossing Beatport’s top spots. Parties like Glitterbox, then, with a knowing nod to Ibiza’s open-minded past are an important progression if the island is to maintain variety and, in turn, lasting appeal.”
As one of the main residents, Dimitri From Paris explains what Glitterbox has tended to do a little differently from other nights on the island, "Ibiza clubs tend to be very one-dimensional. Glitterbox chose to break the mould and it took time to establish that. Our aim was to go back to the somewhat forgotten club basics, i.e. offering people good and happy times without just relaying the top 40 charts, but offering a bespoke selection of music, accessible, yet off the Ibiza and clubland beaten path. Glitterbox's success proved there are enough people willing to participate in that.”
There’s no doubting that where Glitterbox refused to take itself too seriously it’s been all about playing some seriously good music. FCL’s Red D commented, “Glitterbox was always going to be a success because it focused on quality from day one. And when done right, quality always surfaces in the end.” Weekly line-ups have been graced by a mixture of house music royalty, a who’s who of house music DJ and producer talent, a roster of sensational residents alongside a series of superstar live performances. Glitterbox has provided an opportunity to hear true masters of their craft playing their selections of the best records ever made on one of the world’s best sound systems.
On stage or in the booth at Glitterbox, we’ve seen Hercules & Love Affair (who played two raucous live shows in July and August), Kenny Dope, David Morales, Todd Terry, Joey Negro, Dimitri From Paris, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Arthur Baker, X-press 2, Mousse T, Claudio Coccoluto, CJ Mackintosh, Horse Meat Disco, Lovebirds, FCL, Barbara Tucker, Lady Linn amongst over 30 acts to feature (and that’s not to mention the whole host of DJs and other performers you might be surprised to know headed down and made Glitterbox their regular Saturday hang out either post-gig or on their night off).
The original idea, of course, was to create a party that provided DJs with a “free reign to both educate and entertain” – an opportunity for the best DJs to do what they do best. All the DJs and performers who have played - chosen for their ability to dig a little deeper, as well as their knack of playing the big records at just the right time - have helped create a memorable and unique hemisphere of house.
The attraction of playing Glitterbox for the DJs themselves is, perhaps, best summed up by Dave Lee aka Joey Negro, “crucially [Glitterbox] would allow me to play freely – the sorts of records that really inspire me.” whereas Severino Panzetta, from Horse Meat Disco, acknowledged, “every party needs fun records, and we’ve never been afraid to play those.” Indeed as the season has grown, the party has now defined a number of its own big records; new anthems in the form of Hercules & Love Affair ‘Do You Feel The Same’, Oliver $ & Jimi Jules’ ‘Pushing On’ or Audiojack’s ‘Stay Glued (FCL Weemix)’ alongside the evergreens of Hardrive ‘Deep Inside’, Armand Van Helden’s ‘U Don’t Know Me’ (to which Duane Harden himself provided an impromptu live rendition) or Candi Staton’s ‘Hallelujah Anyway’.
Perhaps there’s no person better placed to reflect on the season than the man who originally conceived the Glitterbox idea, Defected’s founder, Simon Dunmore, “What truly defines Glitterbox is the people. The right people bring a party to life; give it a personality: a ‘realness’. We wanted to bring back that social aspect of clubbing in Ibiza, a word of mouth event that was not driven by superstar DJs or gimmicks, but a night that was about exceptional music provided by exceptional DJs, and enjoyed by exceptional people… A party that creates anticipation, that you make an effort to attend, and where you can get lost in the music. The fact that we have got close to our objective gives me a real sense of achievement.”
While Saturday 27 September represents the final act of this summer’s Ibiza adventure, this is only the beginning for Glitterbox; further details of what’s next will be announced very soon. In the meantime, to those who have played, to those who have worked and to those who have danced this summer, thank you for taking part.
Words: Dan Baxter
The last remaining advance tickets for Glitterbox’s Closing Party are available here