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Ibiza's golden age of clubbing: this Instagram account is a White Isle time capsule

Ibiza Past is the Instagram account we all need in 2020

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s never take things for granted. While many murmurs rumbled on in recent times around how Ibiza has lost its way, VIP culture has taken over the clubs and accommodation are too expensive (all valid points), we doubt any of us would turn down an opportunity to be back on an Ibizan dancefloor as the sun comes up, like-minded ravers shoulder to shoulder, rolling through to a beach day, before watching the sunset at Mambos and doing it all over again.

The global pandemic made that impossible this year, so vicarious living is the best we can hope for, and no one does that better than Ibiza Past, an Instagram account set up by Dirk Queens in 2019. Channelling the inimitable energy of the White Isle through the decades, it features fresh-faced DJs like Carl Cox, DJ Sneak, Louis Vega, David Morales and the late José Padilla all popping up in booths and at afters across the island. 

It’s not just about DJs though, the account perfectly captures the bohemian, free-spirited nature of Ibiza, with colourful characters and clothing from the 1960s all the way up to the 2010s, showcasing the core ethos of the island since the hippies first arrived – respectful escapism for social separatists. 

We spoke to Dirk about why he started Ibiza Past, his fave snaps and their plan for the future. 

Why did you decide to start Ibiza Past?
“I first visited Ibiza two or three times with my family in the eighties and I would always look on jealously at the people recovering from nights out beside the hotel pool during the day. I promised myself that would be me one day. 

“Fast forward to 1995 and my love affair with Ibiza officially started. I caught the perfect wave at Manumission on my second night and there was just no turning back, it just blew me away! I have been going every year since, even having my honeymoon at Pikes in 2000 and I have seen Ibiza change and grow over the years. 

“There is nothing better than meeting likeminded people in Ibiza and sharing stories. I just felt that as we are all getting a bit older and our memories start to fade, it is important we are able to archive these special times in some way – that is when Ibiza Past was born.”

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A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:12am PDT

What is it about Ibiza that keeps drawing people back?
“I love the history of Ibiza – The White Island by Stephen Armstrong is highly recommended – and Ibiza has long been an island for the outcast and non-conforming. Unfortunately, as we grow older, most of us realise we need to conform a little bit more if we are going to hold down a job and have a successful life, but you can still always escape to Ibiza whenever you want to relive that rock and roll life.

“I tend to keep well away from the champagne spray parties and ‘look how wealthy I am’ hotels and venues as I don’t believe that is what Ibiza was and is all about. I remember partying in Pacha in the nineties, rubbing shoulders with all the rich yacht owners on the dancefloor and not blinking an eye when A-list celebrities would also join in. We were all as one, no one was better than anyone else. There are still some places in Ibiza you can experience that same vibe if you look hard enough.

“The scenery and beaches are also fantastic and so many people never visit Ibiza old town, which must be up there as one of the coolest places in Europe. We managed to get to Ibiza in September this year (2020) and it was great to drive around the island and rediscover some of these places we hadn’t been to in a while.”

Why do you think the photos have resonated with people?
“Ibiza is and will continue to be such a special and magical place for many people. It has been great to see so many old friendships reborn through people sharing photos and a number of people are religiously going through photos posted each day to see if they can spot themselves. It is also positive for people to look back on moments that they remember as happy. We can certainly all do with a little more happiness in 2020!”

You mentioned people find them comforting during 2020 – why do you think they’ve helped during lockdown and what kind of things have people contacted you about?
“I read an article on pandemic-induced nostalgia. A nostalgia for things that you didn’t think twice about six months ago; like visiting Ibiza, going to a nice restaurant or a club. Nostalgia also reinvigorates belief that life has meaning by reminding people of a time when it did. It can help you remember that you have felt better than you do now, and that you will be able to feel good again in the future.

“I have received so many great messages from people sharing stories of their time in Ibiza that they have only just remembered through viewing some of the photos and people have said that Ibiza Past has helped them cope through lockdown. A lot of people are really struggling mentally at the moment and it really is fantastic that this is helping them.”

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A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:09am PDT

If people have any more pics where can they send them?
"If anyone has any pictures or videos for our Instagram and new YouTube Channel ( please send them over to [email protected]. Please try and provide as much information as you can, especially the place and year taken. Also please provide your Instagram details so we can tag you.

“We also have a few ideas for a podcast where we will be sharing various Ibiza tales and interviewing some key players from over the years. We also want to interview workers and punters who have spent many years in Ibiza and have a few tales to tell.  We can use pseudonyms if anyone’s now more cleaner lifestyle wouldn’t fit with some of the things they have got up to previously in Ibiza! Please drop us an email if you would be interested in taking part.”

Enjoy our select pics below, and follow Ibiza Past on Instagram and YouTube here.

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Pikes, Ibiza. Seventies. #pikesibiza #ibiza #tonypike

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Mar 4, 2020 at 1:06pm PS

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Amnesia, Ibiza 1987. #ibiza #amnesiaibiza

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Jun 10, 2018 at 8:27am PDT

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Amnesia. Ibiza. 1988. #amnesiaibiza #amnesia #oldibiza #oldibizaphotos #ibiza #ibiza2017 #pachaibiza #spaceibiza #mamboibiza

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Mar 19, 2017 at 12:39am PDT

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Es Paradis, eighties ibiza. #esparadis #ibiza #ibiza2017 #sanantonio #purplediscomachine #queens #queensclub #edinburgh #queensclubedinburgh

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Mar 12, 2017 at 12:49pm PDT

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Pacha, Ibiza. 1973. #oldibizaphotos #oldibiza #queensclubedinburgh #ibiza #ibiza2017 #oldibizaphotos #oldibiza #pacha #pachaibiza

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:18am PDT

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Foam party at Bora Bora, nineties. @boraboraibizaofficial @bora_bora_ibiza #ibiza #borabora #playadenbossa #pdb #foamparty

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Jun 12, 2020 at 4:52am PDT

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Cafe Del Mar 1988. @cafedelmar #cafedelmar #ibiza #ibizapast

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Aug 24, 2020 at 2:18am PDT

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Hereford lads sleeping on their balcony in San Antonio in 1989. Photo courtesy of @weekend_daze #hereford #sanantonio #ibiza #1989

A post shared by Ibiza Past (@ibiza_past) on Jul 5, 2020 at 11:31pm PDT