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Pacha: An Oral History

Pacha: An Oral History

When Pacha first opened its doors for business, England were holders of the World Cup, man had yet to walk on the moon, Harold Wilson was Prime Minister of Great Britain, Spain was ruled by a dictator with a weakness for moustaches and terrible berets and the term discotheque was still regarded as something of a passing novelty. Forty years down the line, the discotheque novelty has long since turned into a multimillion pound industry and Pacha’s reign has long since outstripped General Franco’s iniquitous lengthy tenure; for theirs is a club brand as durable as any City bank or Savile Row outfitters.

 

When brothers Ricardo and Piti Urgell thought it would be a great idea to start a club in Sitges their aim wasn’t to start a worldwide club phenomenon but to simply have some fun and maybe increase their chances of hanging out with pretty girls. Along the way they had to contend with meddling local authorities (who once tried to shut down Pacha because it wasn’t light enough to read a book) or even having their records confiscated (reasons unexplained), but all the Urgells wanted to do – still want to do – is throw the best parties. And if you want to know the secret of the Pacha success story it is that they understand it is the participants – the dancers – that are the key. “A great party is one where everybody participates,” asserts Piti, smiling.

 

By the time Pacha had opened its doors in Ibiza in 1973, it had already begun spreading its wings by opening in Lloret Del Mar and, over the course of the next ten years, filled Spain’s resorts and major cities with more glamour than Grace Jones’ vanity case; opening in Madrid in 1980 and Valencia three years’ later (the same year they also opened Ibiza’s main room, doubling its capacity to 1,500). And perhaps even back then Pacha understood something of its cultural and historic importance because rarely has an institution been so lovingly and thoroughly documented as has Pacha, thanks to the photographer Tony Riera, who has worked with the Urgells for decades.

 

Imagine a Studio 54 that didn’t fall apart after a few years, but kept going, kept progressing, kept changing and adapting. Imagine a Studio 54 that was freer, more liberated, less in thrall to celebrity culture (although this is not to say that Pacha has not seen its fair share of kings, queens, racing drivers and pop stars over the years). This is Pacha. The pictures are touchingly innocent but also look like the subjects are having the most fun you could possibly have without actually having sex. There are even some pictures of women with their clothes on.

 

Naturally, as the family Urgell reaches middle age it has grown up and Pacha has diversified into hotels (there’s the cute minimalist bolt-hole, El Hotel, a mere shimmy from Pacha Ibiza) with plans to open others around Spain. And the club brand which now stretches to 34 has long since left its Hispanic roots and spread to Britain, Germany, Morocco and the United States with plans for a new Pacha presently on the way in Las Vegas.

 

Despite this, there is still something quaint about the Pacha set-up that is now based in Ibiza. Most of its core employees have been with them for decades rather than months; and many of them started out as dancers on Pacha’s fun-packed floors. Which, if you think about it, is the perfect training for Pacha.

 

PACHA HISTORY 1967 - 2007

J.R. MARI, FRIEND OF PACHA

Something important was brewing in town; I had been noticing the signs for weeks. I had overheard a conversation between this guy, who previously had owned a water ski school and who later opened Tito’s Bar in Dos Mayo Street, and his girlfriend Marisa Cobos. They were talking about an amazing place (Tiffany’s) in Costa Brava. A Few days after I saw the guy, I found out his name was Ricardo Urgell and he was the grandson and great-grandson of the famous painters Ricardo and Modesto (years later I also realised he was the grand-nephew of the pioneer in erotic photography, Antonio Esplugas), and he was talking to the Clarasó brothers, Felipe and Jacinto, the lawyer Malagelada and the architect Jordi Goula, who I had always seen with Ricardo and I guessed they were old schoolmates. They were talking about the restorations they were doing at Mas d’en Liri, a villa placed in the urban area of Vallpineda, on the way to Sant Pere de Ribes. Despite the fact they were talking cryptically, I understood they didn’t want steps at the entrance, even if they had to blow up a rock to achieve this. Ricardo knew what he wanted: neither a basement nor an open-air venue, but a venue like the ones abroad, a ‘temple of noise’ as my father called them. That was sounded interesting and I decided to spy on them.

 

Ricardo had been working in Germany in a factory, and was both a mechanic and handyman. I understood he was very able to constructing his dream with his own hands. A few days later I overheard another conversation. The project needed a name. Marisa Cobos told Ricardo that with the money he was going to earn he would like a Pacha (an Arabian prince).

 

RICARDO URGELL, OWNER
My initial vision was to eat and earn a living. I liked to party and I liked tourism. I was brought up in Costa Brava, so I lived through the beginnings of mass tourism and the changes the country went through.

 

J. R. MARI, FRIEND OF PACHA
On a hot summer day the streets of this little white town were filled with young people handling publicity, giving out flyers and putting up posters. The publicity images featured a striking monochrome eye – absolutely Pop. A half-closed eyelid with long curled eyelashes, a highly stylised look as the fashion at the time dictated. The young and handsome graphic artist, Jordi Vila, has designed it by re-touching a photo of Carmen Sevilla taken from Semana magazine.

 

A convoy of cars drove the streets cheerfully announcing the forthcoming event. That same the people were introduced to a couple of black beauties (from Martinique!) who were to be go-go girls for the club. The dancers were girls who, according to a No-Do presenter (a propagandist programme for the governing regime) would be dancing erotically to the rhythm of the pounding music, inside cages or podiums in a decadent and degenerated call to the underworld. The suppressed and castigated youth were eager to respond to this call and I was the most eager of them all.

 

The venue was completely different to the other places I had been. It was big; huge compared to the dens I frequented in Barcelona. There was a smell of varnish, perfume and aftersun. The sound was low, but good, though it wasn’t the music I was expecting. I was into the Mersey sound and the Stones. It was soft jazz playing in the background and above the music you could hear the low hum of conversation and the tinkling of glasses as people waited at the bar for a free drink. Deceived by the volume and the quiet music, it surprised me to see that the DJ was Jean-Claude, who I knew was into Atlantic soul, Stax, Tamla Motown and loved the new pop bands. Jazz was playing quietly and more and more people were coming in and chatting. I returned to the bar, fighting my way through the crowds of thirsty people. Suddenly, through the throng, when it had become hotter than a sauna, a cock crowed. The jazz faded and we heard a loud and sustained clucking. The crowd became silent and next to me an anxious lady giggled nervously, inaudible to the rest of the crowd. Like a string of firecrackers or a bomb going off, just like Thor banging the sky with his hammer, quieting the jabbering of domestic animals, Ringo Starr’s drums started to sound at full blast followed by the voices on the Beatles. It was the B-side of Sergeant Pepper’s… The astonishment developed into euphoria in a unique and unrepeatable moment. Pacha has just been inaugurated.

 

PITI URGELL, DJ/OWNER
The interior in Sitges was similar to a beach-style club. Dark, very beautiful, but quite simple for the time; but the most important thing was the sound. It’s changed a bit now, but it’s still there. Lots of people would come and see what it was like, because they’d heard about it. It was people summering who came there, there were lots of French and Swedish and Dutch, but the first year it was mainly Spanish. I’d been spending summer in Sitges since I was little and many of the people who came were typical looking tourists. Good people, generally, not particularly posh but we’d occasionally get rich people from France. Once the police came and and looked around and they said that that the club wasn’t up to scratch because it was too dark to read. My brother told them, ‘well, that’s not a problem because nobody comes here to read!’. But they didn’t close the place. We never had problems connected with Franco but sometimes we’d get hassle from the tax office and once a tax inspector came and confiscated our records

 

RICARDO URGELL, OWNER
I opened the first Pacha in Sitges in 1967. Then we didn’t even have the word club, it was called a ‘boîte’. I am from before the word nightclub was invented. But certainly Pacha worked very well since the first day, as Pacha Ibiza did, which we opened in 1973. I remember the people from the old town, Dalt Vila, saying it looks like a ‘Corte Inglés’ which is a big Spanish department store, because they thought it was a huge place. And it only had 450m2! Many people thought it was too far from the city – back then it was surrounded by fields – but it was opened and worked well since the first day.

 

PITI URGELL, DJ/OWNER
In 1976, three years after Pacha Ibiza opened, we threw a White Party, so everybody had to wear white. To make the party special we put two UV lights so you could really see the white. Everybody made a really big effort. When we put the lights on, the clothes glowed; so everyone took them off and danced in the nude. The atmosphere was quite something. The challenge was to make a better party than that because it was just so amazing. But we never managed it. People have tried to make fantastic parties and make it amazing inside with the decorations and so on, but it’s not a party if not everybody participates in it.

 

PEP TUR, FORMER PACHA EMPLOYEE
If anyone asked you for directions to Pacha from Ibiza Town you simply pointed to the lights on the other side of the harbour; they were the only lights.

 

PITI URGELL, DJ/OWNER
One time I came back from Paris by plane with a load of new records and they said to me, “Records? No, I’m sorry you can’t bring them in.” So I got straight back on the plane and went back to Paris. The records were like treasure to me; they were like gold. But I got them through the second time. I went back to Paris and drove all the way down. During that period, I used to buy records and bring them in on the same day and people would freak out and come early if they knew it was a new set of records from France. People wouldn’t even know how to dance to this new music.

 

ROSETTA MONTENEGRO, PACHA
I first came to Ibiza in 1972 for my holiday and fell in love with the island. I soon became friends with Ricardo Urgell and his crowd. When he opened Pacha in June 1973 of course I was there for the opening night. After that we went every night. The nights started and ended earlier then, people would go home around 4am. Pacha was a lot smaller, more like the size it is in winter. There was one dancefloor with cushions round the edge. You could go and talk to the DJ, ask for a song. It was a wild time, wilder than now, everyone would dress up, all in white, in African costume whatever the theme of the party was, or sometimes they would be completely naked, and people would buy champagne just to throw around. It was very extravagant. And people took lots of drugs; marijuana and LSD. I remember one night Ricardo put a swimming pool in the middle of the dancefloor and we all jumped in and swam around like children.

 

PITI URGELL, DJ/OWNER
Spain was a bit held back from starting its clubbing life. It was younger than other countries. And the Spanish man was a little held back. The foreigners and girls in the clubs opened them up and then they learnt how to flirt with them. The Spanish boys would watch them dancing with their hands in the air; it was a big shock for them but also a revelation; almost a compulsion. In most of the bars there wasn’t any music so when people walked past our club they would come in and immediately start to dance. It wasn’t like today where they look to see if there are many people or not. They would just go straight through the door and start dancing, just like in a swimming pool where you dive straight into the water. It was much more simple in those days; people were just hungry for the music.

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ
After playing at Malesh in Germany, I started meeting new people and one day a friend of mine, “Hey, with your music and vibe, you really should go to Ibiza”. So one day I decided to go which was in 1979. I went to Pacha and I was really freaked out, about the atmosphere and about the place. It was very very familiar. It was little, only the finca that you see at the front today. There was nothing behind that then. The main room today did not exist then. It was spontaneous. The people were very select. There were a few Italian, a few English, a few Spanish, but from each country it was the cream of the cream; the ones who really knew about Ibiza. The DJ was Cesar, who later died. Musically, for me, it was bad but they played some good tracks in between; I remember that he played a lot of King Crimson, very heavy stuff, Bob Marley, because that year was the year of Bob Marley, he did a concert for Babylon By Bus in Ibiza. And I came away really hoping that one day I would get to play in there.

 

TREVOR FUNG, DJ
Even though I’d be going to Ibiza since 1981, I hadn’t been to Pacha until my third or fourth year in. I’d never even touched that because I thought why do I need to go all that way when I’m having such fun at Es Paradis! I was quite young as well then and it was a lot older at Pacha, so I think the music, because they were working with different nationalities, they did it in a way where they pleased everybody. But I liked that, I really did enjoy that.

 

Pacha was unbelievable. It was richer, much older people. Really glamorous, all models, mainly. You could tell that people were just flying in for the weekend and then flying out again on Monday. In those old days, the girls that used to dance with the guys, there’d be about seven of them and they’d all be dressed up to the nines. I’d be hanging there with my eyes hanging out! Drinks were really expensive, so I was just dancing, hanging round the DJ booth. It was pure dance music. Quite forward. What I’ll always remember about Pacha before it started to change, a lot of it was quite tribally, a lot of drum music. A lot of tribal music.

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ
I started to come over to Ibiza for holidays, just back and forth. I loved it. I worked three or four days in Germany then I’d come here for three or four days. At the time it was so cheap to come here. I went to all the clubs, Pacha, San Rafael, Lola’s and Glories. Lola’s was a little gay place in downtown here. It was actually a bar full of crazy people, very good; it was like a cave in the rock, very small. I came here with tapes, to give bars, because there were a lot of bars, and I gave them to people here. After three years I knew everybody here. Finally, in March 1984, in Germany I was in the club and I saw Piti and his wife. “Pippi, we need you,” he said. Two days later I moved. I had my whole existence in Germany, but for me, Pacha was the ultimate priority. I started a new era when I arrived here to play.

 

JOSÉ PADILLA
At the beginning of the ’80s it was all about Pacha, Ku and Glories. There were two Cesars. There was a Cesar, who was in Pacha, who was the only guy in Spain who could fly to New York because they had the money and power to do it. Then there was another Cesar, a black guy from New York was playing in Ku and in Glories there was Jean-Claude from Belgium. Pacha was really trendy: the hippie jet set. (Later on I did a party at Pacha called Moondance with guys like Sasha and John Digweed.)

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ
I arrived in Pacha in time to play at Easter. At that time Easter and Christmas were the major celebrations on Ibiza. During Easter, all the greatest people would come here from outside. It was one week of partying with people from all over the world. It was amazing. I used to wait all the year just for this party. During the day you’d meet these people in the afternoon. So many auteurs and actors and music people came over. When you were at Pacha they would say, “Ok, tomorrow 4 o’clock it’s paella at Roman Polanski’s house” or “We’re meeting at Simon Le Bon’s”. We were all involved in this, but it felt very natural. It doesn’t exist now in the same way. Now you organise a party in a villa and it’s BE-BOOM-BE-BOOM. But at that time it was a meeting, you had brunch and a get together and drinks. But this was special, because people from outside, these people, they got involved together and this created a really nice vibe. There would be Julio Iglesias and Simon Le Bon with a junky next to them and another hippie next to them. Everyone was together. There was no VIP. It was one big VIP.

 

RICARDO URGELL, OWNER
When I finally went to Studio 54 I already had 20 clubs. For me Studio 54 is the typical American product, which the Americans think is the best because their own products are always thought to be the best. I think Spain is a country of peasants who only value things that come from abroad. In all sincerity, I think the clubs in Spain are much better than Studio 54, because New York doesn’t have a clue about that business. The biggest clubbers in the world are the Spanish, there’s no doubt about that. Spain has always been seen as the country of the tambourine – and the tambourine is now the club.

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ
I remember my first summer, 1984, at Pacha very well. It was the year of Sade’s first album. It was a phenomenon. At that time I was so young and had so much energy so I would play two copies of the same record to create phasing; it just came naturally to me, or two copies of Sade to create an echo effect. We didn’t have effects machines for this then. And the people were like ‘wow’ and they would go crazy. Grace Jones’ Slave to The Rhythm was also a big record that season. But Sade… I’d never forget that. Smooth Operator!

 

NINO, PACHA DANCER
I was a political refugee from Argentina who moved to Sweden to continue my career as an actor. I came to Ibiza one summer and saw what was going on and I quickly forgot about the acting. When I first went to Pacha I felt threatened as was so much luxury going on around for me. It was very glamorous and full of people wanting to be watched. I’d never seen transvestites before and there were so many famous and immensely rich people that I felt diminished. But later on I discovered they were just like me. The island treated me well although so many strange things happened to me and I soon realised that you have to be abnormal to be normal in Ibiza! Pacha has been very important in my life. It has allowed me to express my real self and helped me discover that dancing was my passion.

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ
People were so passionate about the music we played. I used to sell tapes. They say ‘I like your music, do you have a tape?’ We recorded every night. Some people went crazy for the tapes. One guy once paid $500 for one tape! He told me, ‘I need this tape, this set you just play I need it now, exactly this one. I’ll give you $500!’ it happened! They pay a lot for one hour’s music. And actually I was so busy selling tapes I had to bring someone else with me to sell them. A lot of money! I would come home with my pockets bulging with money.

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ
When house music arrived it was a very important time in the clubs, this change. We accepted it right away. We were also the first to play this kind of music, it was already a sensation here. Whether the reaction was good or bad from the people, there was a reaction: ‘what is this?’ One year later everyone was jumping on it. The move from soul and funk to house was a big and important change for us. We had a new style of music and it was a new era of music.

 

PITI URGELL, DJ/OWNER
A lot of the punters were from Barcelona or Valencia either holidaying or who spent their summer there. But the people from Barça were the ones who sold hash. The Catalans and French were the ones who owned the restaurants. But there were also a lot of people who had killed someone or who had fled their place of origin because they had robbed something; here they were like saints! From Easter week onwards, every night, open and rammed. The only way you’d know it was Sunday was because another place nearby, Hotel Montesol, was closed.

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ
All the time I was at Pacha, every night was something special. Pacha has the power of movement and people and party. Especially 80s and 90s, there was no sense of Monday or Sunday because every day was special. Top. At the time you had no idea whether it was Saturday or Wednesday.

 

PITI URGELL, DJ/OWNER
We used to do these parties in Formentera we did every year until about five or six years ago. We put on free food. But the people on Formentera used to sell tickets to the local tourists to try and make a profit from them. So there’d be tons of tourists turning up simply to try and get loads of food. Anyway, one year we did a party there that was completely nuts. Some people went over there in advance to prepare all of the food and get everything ready. Myself and my brother stayed here in Ibiza to round people up and send them to Formentera to the party. We had to empty the club to get enough people to go over there. We went at four in the morning by boat to the set up on the beach. When we arrived there with all the people, all the food had been eaten. There wasn’t even any water to drink. And the people who we had left to set up the party over there had all fallen asleep. After the parties we’d always leave the beach totally clean, although we got 1m. peseta fine from the authorities once. Personally, I think they were trying make an example of us.

 

IBIZA MAGIC

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ

The reason why it’s different is because it’s a holiday island, because, for some reason, Ibiza is special to people even when they don’t even know about it, but they come here and go crazy as though they’ve already been coming 20 years. Always it’s special because people are on holiday and they are happy. They want to have fun in any way they can. Some of the people they come now because they’ve read about Ibiza they come because it’s Ibiza, it’s a party, there is drugs. Today it’s like this, unfortunately. It has changed over the years. The difference is, like everything, it’s become commercial; Greece, Mykonos all the other special places in the world are the same, though. Now there’s construction all over the island, in the next 6 months we have a highway. So this is a big difference from 25 years ago. So everything has changed, in a good and a bad way. But it’s still the place to be during the summer! There’s no other place similar to this in the world. You come here for a week and you can see all the main DJs in the world, so it’s still a unique place to be.

RICARDO URGELL, OWNER

Now Ibiza is a warmed firecracker if you compare it to what it was before. Ibiza is a dream taken by the wind, which was destroyed by many people. The nice thing back then is that it was full of hippies, people who came from everywhere. In the ’70s, Ibiza was cheap and you could live with little money, completely the opposite to now. Because there was little money, the people were more particular, more authentic. Nothing to do with some of the rich people that come now, they are like plastic. In the’ 70s, we had the spoilt boys who used to run away from home, bank robbers who would come to Ibiza to hide or OAS from Algeria who also looked for refuge.

 

PHIL MISON, DJ

It’s the atmosphere of Ibiza that keeps me coming back; the feeling of the place is like nowhere else in the world. It’s a cliché but it’s true – I’ve had so many good times in Ibiza that I always look forward to coming back.

 

SANDER KLEINENBERG, DJ

Ibiza is an island of freedom and multicultural gatherings. It’s somewhere I go year after year. The fact that the island has a free spirit – and that’s what attracts me the most. In fact, you see a lot of free-spirited people who live there all year round. The island brings out the best in a lot of people and I love the holiday vibe here. You enjoy life the way it’s meant to be. Call me a hippy if you like but it’s something I adore. Plus the island treasures itself: the islanders and local businesses know what it takes to turn it around.

 

DJ PIPPI, FORMER PACHA RESIDENT DJ

Because of the atmosphere and the vibe, the visual aspect. It was unique. It’s hard to explain. It’s still special, but it’s ten times bigger now. It was natural and full of love and peace. The people that came there were liberated and they only came there to dance and enjoy themselves and go crazy about the music.

 

PACHA TODAY

FRANCISCO FERRER, PACHA

The defining moment for me has to be the millennium party when we had 300 people in the main room. We turned the entire club into a restaurant from 9pm and there was a great feeling of the turning of the century. The happiness and energy was incredible. We had clients and VIPs from all over the world and we were fully booked months before. It was an amazing evening.

 

SARAH MAIN, PACHA DJ

When I first walked into Pacha in 2000 I said to myself, ‘I am going to play there’. It was one of those goals that I had set for myself that was really a dream. When I asked to try the residency for the winter in 2002 I was not expecting it so it came as quite a shock. However the feeling was amazing. It was an achievement that seemed unreachable in the beginning so that when it actually came to fruition I felt like I had reached the pinnacle of life. Little did I know, this was only the beginning.

 

WILLIE GRAF, PACHA DJ

I was born on the island of Ibiza 22 years ago. My parents were native New Yorkers who immigrated to Ibiza during the 1970s. I’ve been the resident of Pacha’s Funky Room during the summer season for the past six years, and the resident at Cielo in New York for the last three years. My father has always been a music aficionado. Growing up in the epicentre of dance music in the ’80s, it was inevitable that I was going to get into the infectious sounds that I was hearing all around me. My biggest break, my residency at Pacha, came thanks to an Ibicencan DJ called David Moreno, who let me play on his radio show, Cadena 100, many years ago. David’s initial reaction to my set was, “man, your sound is perfect for Pacha”. He was the person responsible for opening the doors of Europe’s most worshipped nightclub for me. After two nights playing in the Funky Room with Joan Ribas and Vaughan, they asked me to be the resident, making me Pacha’s youngest resident to date.

 

WALLY LOPEZ, DJ

My first nice experience was with my girlfriend in Pacha, hearing Paul Oakenfold play. She asked me if I really thought I’d ever play Pacha and I said, “If I work as hard I do now, maybe in seven or eight years’ time”. I’m pleased to say that I was playing at Pacha that winter and was managed by them after that gig.

 

CHRIS LOWE, PET SHOP BOYS

I’m always on Ibiza. I visit it as much as I possibly can. There is nowhere in the world quite like it. Pacha is definitely my favourite club. I love the buildings, the terraces, the atmosphere, everything really. I was there for the Millennium New Year. We arrived at the club before the sunrise and watched it coming up in a new era. It was amazing and so different to my first experience of clubbing in Ibiza… Being a good Blackpool lad I arrived with loads of mates way back in the day are around 11pm and by midnight we thought no one was coming, that it was a bit shit. And so we left – we had no idea that people were probably still having their dinner.

 

FRED, PACHA

Who is Fred? Fred is the person people call if they need something sorting. If Jamiroquai needs a boat, he’ll call me and know it will get sorted. If a model or an actress friend of mine is stood outside a club in Paris or waiting in a hotel lobby in Rome, they know my personal number and they won’t have to wait for long. With Pacha is just the same. I look after VIPs but there is so much more to it. It’s too hard to describe. Too difficult to capture well what I do on the island. I started throwing parties with Jean-Paul Gaultier to raise money for AIDS. They were an incredible success. It caused a media frenzy on the island. I went on to organise events at Ku and then at Pacha where I’ve been just about forever now. People like Bono, Mick Jagger, Jim Carrey are absolute joys to look after, lovely people. There are too many nice people to mention, in fact. When Jim arrived on the island he was supposed to stay for a couple of days but he ended up staying two weeks. He was gentle and funny and threw the best after-parties on his boat. Bruce Willis was very cool, too. And all the supermodels – Linda, Kate and Elle – are all divine.

 

JADE JAGGER

Pacha is one of the few clubs that dares to play anything beyond the mainstream – their Flower Power nights and the Funky Room are great. I wasn’t brought up on the Balearic beat. My dad used to play John Lee Hooker. I’ve always been into hip hop and soul music, stuff that has more rhythm than a ‘ch – ch’ house beat.

 

RICARDO URGELL

The fun is in the diversity of the club. I don’t do anything to attract the celebrities. If they come it is because they like it. We don’t go out searching for them; they come by their own foot. And because they like the party, they come here. Here we invite a lot, but they also have to pay.

 

FRANKIE KNUCKLES, DJ AND LEGEND

I always get real excited in the months leading up to the season in Ibiza. It’s like coming back to summer camp when you were a kid. You never know who you’re going to meet or what’s going to happen. There are no preconceptions of what Pacha is going to hold. It is full of surprises. In fact, Pacha is only as good as it is because behind that element of surprise there is also a certainty – the people behind it know what they’re doing. It’s as simple as that. They have been in the business too long to take their eye off the ball. They know that they are selling a dancefloor. When you go to Pacha there is no second guessing. They deliver the goods. So when I look out onto the dancefloor I just see everyone with massive smiles on their faces regardless of race, sexuality or creed. Everyone is getting down to the same rhythm and there are no inhibitions. It’s the perfect world to live and play in.

 

FELIX DA HOUSECAT, DJ

I’d never heard of hierbas, it’s the Ibiza drink I guess. Well, I was drinking tequila at Pacha and Erick Morillo made drink two shots of hierbas – and I still think his friend spiked it, because it made throw up and I've never thrown up in my life! I blacked out and all I remember is throwing up like a madman in front of everybody at a bar. I told Erick I’ll never drink that shit again.

 

ROGER SANCHEZ, RESIDENT AT RELEASE YOURSELF, PACHA

The first time I went to Ibiza, it reminded me of the Dominican Republic where my family is from. It was just one of the most amazing places just because of the nightlife it had and of course the Mediterranean beaches. I hadn’t heard a lot about the specific clubs so much as I had about the island but when I went to Pacha, I thought that it was the perfect fit for me. It was a very sexy club; the vibe was brilliant. This year, the most amazing party was the closing party we had a batucada band and we had my live band and the energy in the room was just incredible. We had a bass player, guitarist, two vocalists and me on the decks and on the mic as well and the batucada band was a seven piece with four batucada dancers. They would come in at four in the morning and do a special march through the dancefloor, very much like Carnaval in Brazil.

 

DANNY RAMPLING, DJ

Although I’m retiring from DJing, I love dancing and music, it’s there in my soul. At 50 I would love to say ‘Yes I’m going to Pacha to have a dance’. I hope David Morales and Louie Vega are still around. That’s the beauty of Ibiza, there’s no ageism, I’m definitely not ending my long-time romance with Ibiza.

 

SIMON DUNMORE, DEFECTED RECORDS

Pacha is a place I never get tired of going to.

 

RICARDO URGELL, OWNER

Pacha is the most important club brand in the world, by far. People come because it is Pacha, but logically also because of the DJs. The whole is the success is the success for Pacha. We have opened in New York, London and Buenos Aires. And now it’s Las Vegas’ turn and later Dubai and Moscow, which will be run by the same people who have opened St Petersburg. They have the Finland Sea and they’ve opened a club on the beach. We are also opening a Pacha in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. We are everywhere.

 

NINO, PACHA DANCER

Pacha is an institution, like the Moulin Rouge, and its significance can never be erased. It’s part of Spain’s history. From the end of Franco’s reign, people had freedom and Pacha provided a platform for their euphoria. When you walk through the door at Pacha you catch the feeling. You can see it in people’s eyes. People start to dance and the feeling grows from the floor into the roof, and when the club gets busier and busier, it feels like the whole club is floating on air. It takes you to another dimension, another reality, and for that special moment we live. Pacha is the closest I have been to heaven.

 

© Bill Brewster, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

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