Ibiza Rocks turns 10: Ten unforgettable Rocks moments

Virtual Festivals wish Ibiza Rocks a happy 10th birthday

Ibiza Rocks turns 10: Ten unforgettable Rocks moments

Photographer: Virtual FestivalsVirtual Festivals on 18 February 2015

Sitting down to speak to Ibiza Rocks’ co-founder Andy McKay, we picked through just ten of his highlights from the raucous party-island festival series.


Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs was the first. Ibiza Rocks was a triumph of selling an idea to the media that they loved. We thought the island would love it but the reality was they hated us for it. Dance music did not appreciate guitars invading the island one little bit. We had a pretty good opening [night] with Maximo Park but we went through some very painful weeks where audiences were hard to attract and then we caught the wave with the Kaiser Chiefs. They’d become big. We had them in the back room of Privilege at the time and we sold out all the tickets three days before the event. It was a quite lot of pressure, the band wasn’t get paid a lot of money and the venue was going mad saying ‘you’ve sold out, we want to move it to the main room’. Non-conventional thinking - and I think we would have died if we hadn’t done this - we refused to move the show to the big room because I thought it was more important to get the legacy than the money.

So there was this night that nobody liked, nobody wanted to go to, it was slightly insulting to the dance community and then all of a sudden we said ‘good job you don’t want to go because it’s sold out’. Then all of a sudden they wanted to go and that was the beginning of the turn and all the bands we were booking went onto the playlist of Radio One that following winter so by the year after everything had changed. That was the turning point."



“That was the magical show that year. It was in the bar for two nights running. It was the first time we’d ever done a double booking and it was utterly sold out both nights. The opening night Noel Gallagher came down as well, it was the beginnings of something. The support band was The Fratellis and the atmosphere was just magical. When you got to hearing them doing Club Foot and L.S.F. - and we got TV footage of it as well and you could feel the energy coming out the TV when it happened. I remember it was so charged, so political and the Deputy Major came down. He was instrumental in letting us do these illegal concerts and I remember the band waving at the Deputy Major and thanking him for allowing us to break the law and it was just a magical moment where we were just packing the bar and this underground minority activity was literally dominating San Antonio.


Arctic Monkeys

"We did get closed down by the authorities when The Streets were doing it and we lost them that year because it got closed. We then went on the run, did all these illegal raves but the Deputy Major basically went to the Major and said ‘I don’t care what you do but the Arctic Monkeys is happening in San Antonio’. That was an amazing moment, us returning to the bar which was packed to the rafters. There was three or four thousand people packed on the beach listening but not in the bar and it was an absolutely incredible moment. In that moment the Arctic Monkeys weren’t just the coolest band on the planet, they were the coolest THING on the planet. They’re a bigger band now but in terms of that Zeitgeist moment that was the time."


The Streets

"The year before The Streets gig was cancelled between soundcheck and them playing so at end of an amazing concert Mike Skinner gets on the microphone: 'everybody jump in the pool' he says, 'that will teach you you bastards for getting me cancelled last year'. Then literally hundreds of people dived into the pool and it was just this incredible mayhem, probably a little bit dangerous but hundreds of people were just diving into the swimming pool. It was the first time that The Streets had done a full live gig and it was just a magical crowd. Mike Skinner had the crowd in the palm of his hands."


Calvin Harris

The Calvin show was an absolute roadblock. The atmosphere was immense. It’s hard to remember that Calvin used to front a band with ‘Acceptable in the 80’s’. We were the first people to ever book Calvin and almost unfortunately he then had to distance himself from his band and become the DJ so we kind of lost the connection with him because we were rooted to his past not his future but it was a phenomenal show. It was nice to be the first people to do the Calvin thing.

The Prodigy

"It was just a band that should have never done it. It should have never happened. It was stupid and unaffordable, we had to rent massive generators just to power the show - we would have taken the town’s electricity’s off. It was just an incredible example of somehow getting something to happen and even now I don’t know how we managed that one.

"You’d see all our PA and they’d say ‘can you turn that round to face us’ and we’ll bring a bigger one. The level of noise was just insane."


Plan B

"It was that just this wow moment. Plan B opening the run and connecting at the right time. That was just phenomenal. He loved it. He was back at Pikes and I was talking to him and he was saying since he’d been on the road so much he hadn’t connected back to a UK home audience and it was one of his first realisations that it had suddenly become more attractive."


Paolo Nutini

"It was the act that I didn’t expect to get that excited about. I had no expectations and he was just an incredible live performer and I remember at the end of the concert, you know when people give that ovation of applause, and there was just so much love and appreciation. There was just a crowd there applauding, knowing he wasn’t coming back."


London Grammar

"London Grammar were the support to AlunaGeorge. It wasn’t one of our busiest shows and as the support was early in the evening there was no more than 500 in the venue and it was a big space for that many people so they were just stood there on a relatively sparse floor watching this incredible performance from London Grammar and just knowing this was the kind of show that 3,000 people would say they saw - the people who meant to go but turned up a bit later. It was just this magical moment seeing something that was going to be huge. That whole new talent thing."


Ed Sheeran

"It was an amazing show the first time but [this time] you were watching an act that you truly knew was going to be a stadium act. The power of one guy on stage creating that magic, that energy was just mind-blowing. How the hell had we done it? It was all because a couple of years earlier we had backed him as a relatively inexpensive opening act and said we’d put him as a headliner, thinking this is a good statement and we’ll believe in this. The return for that was an artist paying back the favour big style and all filmed for MTV so you can look back on it."

Ibiza Rocks returns to the Ibiza Rocks Hotel, San Antonio from 17 June - 16 September, 2015. The Libertines, Fatboy Slim, Clean Bandit, Cournteeners, Jungle, Sigma and Years & Years have all been announced to play Ibiza Rocks this summer.

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