On Tuesday 25th September the Diario de
Ibiza, the oldest local newspaper on the island, had front-page
banner headlines stating that MTV Europe would not be holding
any more events on the island. On many occasions during the
summer months I reported on this years MTV summer festival
and the controversy that surrounded it.
MTV arrived on the island in 1999 to hold
an open-air dance music festival at Sa Pedrera, also known
as "The Quarry", just outside San Antonio. The open-air
event was a huge success and, although they had problems with
security and site cleaning, they were able to sort these problems
out with the local council during the wintertime and were
granted permission to hold a similar event at the same venue
the following year.
The MTV Ibiza 2000 festival was extended
to two days, the first day focusing on dance music and, the
second day, on pop music, and even though the second day was
not as well attended as the first day, MTV Europe were still
eager to continue holding festivals on the island.
In January this year, the Lord Mayor of
San Antonio, Antonio Marí Tur and Richard Godfrey,
Vice-president MTV Networks Europe met to discuss this year's
event. During the meeting, the Lord Mayor expressed his concern
about complaints from residents close to "The Quarry"
and suggested that the Hippodrome at San Rafael would possibly
be a better choice of venue. After Richard Godfrey had visited
the Hippodrome, he agreed with the Lord Mayor and plans were
put into action to stage MTV Ibiza 2001 at this new location.
On his return to England, Richard Godfrey and his team started
their preparation for their third Ibiza festival, booking
live acts, Disc-Jockey's, set designers, TV crews, sound and
lighting contractors, stage constructors and the enormous
amount of transportation and back-up needed to stage a huge
He also arranged with major sponsors Pringles
and Durex and, together they put into operation a huge worldwide
advertising campaign, all indicating that San Rafael Hippodrome
was their new venue in Ibiza.
Millions of pounds were spent promoting
the MTV Ibiza 2001 festival, which was going to be part of
MTV's 20th birthday celebrations.
Everything was going according to plan when,
three weeks before the event, the Lord Mayor of San Antonio
Council refused to grant them a licence.
This time, the Lord Mayor of San Antonio
blamed the local San Rafael residents for objecting to the
MTV had numerous meetings with officials
from the San Antonio Town Hall and the Consell Insular (Island
Council) and even offered six million pesetas as a donation
to the San Rafael church in an attempt to appease the residents
of San Rafael but nothing they could say or do would change
Antoni Marí Tur's mind.
Time was running out for MTV and in a desperate
last minute decision they turned to "Privilege",
the largest discotheque on the island and after a lot of juggling
around with their regular nights, Privilege agreed to stage
the night. Although the four thousand people that attended
fell far short of the 20,000 that were expected to attend
the open-air event, the evening was nevertheless a success.
Rumour was rife that a company the size
of MTV would not return to Ibiza if they were going to be
messed around with and, although I interviewed Richard Godfrey
on the night of the festival (Wednesday 29th August), he would
not comment on the issue but promised me that when he returned
to England he would grant all the Ibicencan press an official
Now that MTV have had time to think about
their plans for the future they are ready to share their decisions
with the Ibicencan people.
The first question asked was the question
on everyone's mind, would they be returning to the island?
"After everything that we have had to suffer this summer
in Ibiza, I think that we would like to go somewhere else".
"Even though we are not ruling out
Ibiza completely, we are looking at three other places who
would be delighted to have us (Mallorca, Ayia Napa and Portugal?)
and they would be pleased to offer us all the facilities and
co-operation that was lacking in Ibiza".
When asked about Antoni Marí Tur's
decision not to grant them a licence, Richard Godfrey responded:
"The Lord Mayor and the Consell Insular both told us
that everything would be 'OK'... then, three weeks before
the event, they decided to refuse us the licence. San Antonio
Council did not have the decency to inform us about the complaints
from the residents of San Rafael" (if there were any?).
Richard Godfrey added that "MTV still
does not know for sure what happened in San Antonio Council
but the 2001 festival turned into a political football that
was passed from one political institution to the next".
MTV Networks Europe have still not worked
out exactly how much money they and their sponsors have lost
but the enforced last minute change of plans obviously came
in at a very high price, too high a price to risk the same
thing happening next year.
In response, Antoni Mari Tur said: "The
right decision was made, it is all in the past now for me
and I want to make it clear that I have absolutely nothing
against MTV Networks Europe".
The councillor for Tourism, Josep Marí
Ribas, also expressed his opinion: "I think it is a shame
that MTV has decided not to return to Ibiza because this company
always promoted the island in a positive way which was highly
beneficial to the tourist industry but I have to respect the
decision made by the Town Hall of San Antonio".
One person who does not respect the decision
of Antoni Marí Tur and San Antonio Council is Jorge
Alonso, the director responsible for the island tourist board.
"I am not surprised MTV are not coming back to Ibiza.
They were so positive for the island. For example, images
from the last festival were broadcast to 342 million people
around the world and this summer we have seen a clear increase
in North American tourism to the island", said Alonso
who gives his full support to MTV.
It is a shame that the Consell Insular could
not have offered MTV an indoor venue capable of catering for
a larger number of people than Privilege discotheque.
The Recinto Ferial (Ibiza's Conference and
Exhibition Centre) might have been a possible venue for MTV
in the future, especially now that the government owned building
is going to be extended.
A new 'Centre de les Arts' (Arts Centre)
is part of a plan to extend the exhibition and conference
centre. The construction of the new building, announced this
week, will occupy 15,000 square metres of land, cost 2,700
million pesetas and take two years to complete but the finished
results should definitely be worth the time and the money.
The architect Luis Gascon explained the
details of the new project to local politicians and the Ibiza
Cultural Department this week.
The building will contain an auditorium
with a capacity of 1,100 people, a library for 500 people,
more exhibition halls, a restaurant and many smaller anterooms
in the three-storey building.
Parking for 650 cars will also be provided
next door to the new arts centre.
Ibiza is concentrating on the cultural side
of the island this year and has planned many exhibitions,
theatrical events and musical festivals.
One of these festivals is being held this
weekend (27th, 28th and 29th September). 'Un món de
músiques' (A world of music) is taking place in different
locations around the island and, being promoted by the Consell
Insular, offering Ibiza residents a taste of different music
styles from around the world.
On Thursday 27th, a group of musicians from
Scotland called 'Shooglenifty' opened the music festival at
Sa Punta d'es Molí around the bay of San Antonio with
an inspired performance of traditional Scottish music adding
a unique personal touch.
The festival will continue until Saturday
29th with live performances by Leyond and Nayim Alal, two
women from the Sahara Desert who want to teach their culture
through dancing, poetry and percussion, the Orchestre National
from Barbés (France) who will present traditional rhythms
of Africa, amongst others.
Unfortunately MTV style dance music will
not be included.