Clubs are to Ibiza what croissants are to Paris. Since the late 80s, the Spanish island has held a reputation of being a mecca for house, trance, and general nightlife hedonism—which seems appropriate, as the island is named after Bes, the Egyptian god of music and dance. From late May to the end of September, partygoers flock to massive clubs that can fit thousands to binge on all-night marathons of drugs, drinking, and dancing.
It wasn't always like this: In the 60s Ibiza was a hippie town, home to longhaired Europeans who embraced a lifestyle that would have been familiar to their American counterparts in San Francisco. Then, in 1976, the Workshop of Forgetfulness discotheque opened, and the venue (which was quickly renamed Amnesia) soon introduced new sounds and new substances that spread to the rest of Europe.
Today there are more than 30 clubs open on the island during the summer, and many of them feature DJ residencies from super producers like David Guetta, Axwell and Ingrosso, and Carl Cox. Right now, the place is a sea of lights, young flesh, and plastic cups full of booze, a rave resort where the party is going 24/7 for a good five months of the year.
But what happens during the other seven? If the bass drops and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound? We wanted to know what the clubs look like as they prep for the blitz of wasted tourists and party animals hits them, so we sent photographer Alexander Coggin to four clubs—Ushuaïa, Sankeys, Summum, and Swag—to document the calm before the storm.
Year opened: 2011 (it used to be called Fiesta Club Playa d'en Bossa)
Standout headlining DJs in the club's history: David Guetta, Avicii, Armin van Buuren, Axwell and Ingrosso
Typical cover: $40 and up, depending on the event
Price of one beer at the bar: $18
Number of likes on Facebook: 523,000+
Oddest thing noticed while shooting: The unbelievable amount of workers performing various maintenance tasks and the amount of times I got stopped and asked to show a press pass
Year opened: 2011
Standout headlining DJs in the club's history: Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Solomun, Jeff Mills, Derrick Carter
Typical cover: $40 to $45
Price of one beer at the bar: $10
Number of likes on Facebook: 6,500+
Oddest thing noticed while shooting: The insanely sticky floor and the fake graffiti in the bathrooms
Note: This club is closed to the public and open for private parties and tours.
Year opened: 1979. Designed by famous Catalan artist Lluís Güell, who is known for conceptualizing many iconic venues on Ibiza.
Standout headlining DJs from the club's history: Tony Hadley (of Spandau Ballet), Jimmy Somerville, Twice as Nice, Artful Dodger
Typical cover: $15
Price of one beer at the bar: $5
Number of likes on Facebook: 335
Oddest thing noticed while shooting: Cockroaches and a horrible smell in the women's bathroom. Also, the beautiful, beautiful marble sculptures inside—there were countless sculptural pieces that were truly impressive.
Year opened: 2014
Standout headlining DJs/musicians from the club's history: DMX, DJ Irwan (Holland), DJ KC (Belgium), and VIP guest appearances by Nas and Justin Bieber
Typical cover: $35
Price of one beer at the bar: $5
Number of likes on Facebook: 8,300+
Oddest thing noticed while shooting: Chandeliers, tufted sofas, prominently displayed top-shelf vodka
For more of Alexander's work, visit his website.