Space Ibiza offers a spectacle few can rival no matter the occasion, but it's its closing party that's most explosive. The opener might be the culmination of eight months out the game, but the last day at the office is the product of six months of accumulated party joy; the last big blow-out before the autumn months settle in and the Ibiza season winds down for yet another year.
That it's the final fling is not only what elevates this event to the clubbing equivalent of a royal wedding; without fail, every time, the line-up is crammed to the brim with heavyweight talent, an absolute A-list of underground legends.
This year, a two-tiered headline spot is shared in part by techno giant Carl Cox with his after-dark Sunday night slot on the gargantuan stage — an enormous dodecahedron shell seemingly borrowed from a Nasa space station — outside in the car park. Richie Hawtin — following his enormously successful first-ever run of ENTER. as part of Nick Curly's Kehakuma series — at the Discoteca from 4am tees it up as a cyclical affair.
Two monoliths — one shortly after the sun has disappeared, the other as it's about to rear its head — make up a 20-hour marathon running the full gamut of the house and techno spectrum, in which charged-up competitors hand-slap a procession of the most distinguished in dance — Dubfire, Joris Voorn, Nic Fanciulli, Nick Curly, Nina Kraviz, Guy Gerber, Radio Slave, Magda, Edu Imbernon — along the way, as if supercharged on fizzy energy drinks, before the last hurdle; the final straight, a massive minimal showdown.
One key difference between this race and the Olympian efforts seen back at home earlier in the summer, however, is the attire on show; the low cut 'I <3 Ibiza' vests in varying neons and Rayban shades — on both ladies and gents — falling way short of Team GB standards. The alcoholic refreshments (complete with cocktail stirrer) by no means suited to a long-distance running event.
Though, judging by the prevalence of these props outside The Sunset Terrace as we make our way to catch a glimpse of Dubfire b2b with Carlo Lio in the car park, they're the most appropriate tools for today's mission, both lads and lassies flocking into the enormous space outside to ensure that any remaining energy isn't put to waste.
The sky behind the giant pod-like capsule on the horizon, with varying orange pastel hues and confetti firing from cannons timed to the tectonic shifts of Dubfire and Carlo Lio's weapons, provides an unmistakable sight, indicative of none other than this prestigious occasion on the clubbing calendar. As penetrating to the ear as it is explosive to the eye, few things in life are as consuming as sunset over Space car park at closing.
Meanwhile, we squeeze through the rabble gathered under the camouflage mesh of the Sunset Terrace where H&M-chic cherub Danny Avila is making the most of his home-grown support, knocking out the more Ibiza-friendly of his “EDM” stock, which takes the form of rolling percussive tech house reinforced by epic fighter jet builds. As (surprisingly) infectious as it is, we have other fish to fry, so we make our way over to our favourite room, The Terrace, that we are co-hosting with the eminent Kehakuma crew. Kicking off with a live set from Saytek, programmed as loops and patterns in Ableton and triggered on his 909, it takes 20 minutes or so for the room to fill, but once it does, the whistles and cheers from the floor below do enough to encourage him to rev it up with some acid.
By the time Edu Imbernon takes to the booth, the place is a heaving cauldron of kinetic energy, his pumping disco weapons, tried-and-tested on the Ibiza faithful, delivering their desired effect — and then some.
By the time Nic Fanciulli and Joris Voorn step up, the dancefloor has settled to a sexier, more brooding vibe. Originally scheduled for two hours each, their effort earlier at the car park while the sun was still fierce around 7pm has encouraged them to team up again to take it deeper — jazzy, chord-led, downright jackin' — back-to-back for two steadily paced hours.
Over at the car park now, the big man Cox is showing why he's still one of the most revered DJs on the planet, in front of a space-age heliocentric visual display fit for the IMAX, his thunderous percussion pulling along its linear thrust without desisting or tiring.
Confetti raining high over the hands of the congregation below, there is no reason to lament the end of Space for another season. This is a celebration...
PICS: Jess Summerson