Ibiza Rocks: "The Libertines Is Going To Be One Hell Of A Moment"
As Ibiza Rocks reveals its 10th anniversary line up, we chat with Andy McKay, founder and CEO of Ibiza Rocks about the best party under the Balearic stars...
2015 sees Ibiza Rocks celebrate 10 years bringing live music and mayhem to the White Isle and their anniversary line up featuring the likes of The Libertines, Fatboy Slim, Clean Bandit, Years & Years, Jungle and more shows there's no sign of stopping for the much-beloved brand.
We had a chat with Andy McKay, founder and CEO of Ibiza Rocks to talk 'stabbing dance music in the back' and what the future holds...
MTV UK: At it's inception, what did Ibiza Rocks do for the live music scene in Ibiza that no one had done before?
"People had done live music on the island before but not for a very, very long time and I guess nobody had made it work so they’d all gone under. Previous promoters took the acts to the main rooms of the huge nightclubs and it was all about volume and scale whereas we took the decision that the gigs had to be intimate and then build organically.
"Another major point of difference is that our motivation and focus was firmly fixed on bringing youth and fresh energy back to the island and making Ibiza relevant again to a young market. Before us, it was all very mainstream and only ever about bringing out the big popstars of the time but what we did was against Ibiza’s culture at that time, it was an alien invasion of guitars so it was far more shocking than what anyone had done it in the past.
"When Bob Marley played Ibiza it was of course a great moment in history but it wasnt in any way shocking. When we brought live bands to the island of dance we were accused of ‘stabbing dance music in the back’ and endlessly told that it would never work. The first year we tried to fit in with the culture of the island and put the bands on at 4am but then we quickly went against the norm and put the bands on pre-midnight, at a time that suited live music culture, so we went against the grain of the island. That time slot just did not exist at that time in Ibiza but now it’s probably the single biggest time slot of entertainment on the island - that was a massive first and a huge change for Ibiza.
"We successfully challenged and changed a lot of peoples perceptions of Ibiza’s music scene and we’re very proud of the influence Rocks has had and continues to have."
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MTV UK: Why do you think it's lasted 10 years?
"A combination of a strong concept and an incredible passion. We knew what we were doing. We came in wanting to rejuvenate the island, we wanted to be relevant with youth, we believed in creating an atmosphere and an energy. We had our mantra of attitude, atmosphere and authenticity so we had something that we truly believed in ourselves and could sell to the team around us and I think if you truly know where you are trying to go and you have a belief then it is far easier to get there. Ultimately it was determination. If you dont truly believe in something you'll give up and there have been numerous times throughout the journey where anyone but an insane person would have given up.
"Our booking policy is also key - persuading (often several years in the making!) huge festival headliners to play our more intimate venue whilst staying true to our passion for providing a platform for new music. We’ve had The Prodigy, Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine, Nas, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran, Paulo Nutini and this year, The Libertines. We always marry that with booking the best new talent right at the start of their careers. London Grammar, Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals, Disclosure, Metronomy, Alt-J, The Vaccines and Catfish & The Bottlemen all started in support slots and many returned to headline our shows in later years."
MTV UK: How is the 10th anniversary year going to top all the other years?
"10 years is a milestone. It's a time where we get the excuse to reflect but also to focus on what the next 10 years is all about. Having the opportunity to focus that 10th birthday show around a band like The Libertines is going to be one hell of a moment. On a gig like that we can actually party with everyone who has supported us for the past ten years. It isn’t just about the generation of now, it's about the generations that have experienced Rocks for the last 10 years. Ibiza Rocks means an awful lot to an awful lot of people and this year will be a celebration of that."
MTV UK: For you, who/what's been the defining moment in Ibiza Rocks history?
"I think the ultimate defining moment of Rocks was the moment we discovered that our future lay outdoors, so it was when Pete Doherty and Babyshambles turned up at Bar M (now Ibiza Rocks Bar) and I think that first outdoor show was the moment that Ibiza Rocks suddenly made sense, it was the moment we found our time slot before midnight, it was the moment that we discovered that the energy under the stars made sense, it was the moment we managed to capture the audience that acted and dressed like a real festival audience. It all clicked. It was that realisation that changing the soundtrack changed absolutely everything.
"By doing something this radical we skewed the whole direction of the future of Ibiza. We didnt completely change it but everything changed on the island from that point. The influence that the live scene has had on Ibiza is enormous and we’ve been key to that. You can see that by how the DJs have embraced the pre-midnight time slot and the huge main stage production values of a live show."
MTV UK: Croatia Rocks is the latest addition to the brand. Where will the Rocks brand be at the 20th anniversary do you think?
"Croatia Rocks is the first part of the next 10 years - it's our very first festival, we’ve found a beatuitful beach location, the line up is really strong and we’re very excited about its potential. I hope that in 10 years time we will be operating in quite a few different territories and still feel as passionate as we did 10 years ago and still do today. Our home will always be Ibiza but our aim is to keep expanding and to internationalise the brand."
Watch highlights from this year's amazing Ibiza Rocks season this summer on MTV Music.