Ahead of the Ibiza season's commencement in May, more and more club owners and promoters are getting the word out promoting their lineups and building the hype. We were a little surprised to get an email last week from David Vincent, owner of Sankeys nightclub in Manchester and Ibiza, who had a very different announcement. Far from getting in touch to big up a roster of DJs, Vincent has only one thing on his mind: travel insurance.
The 44 year old has maintained the sort of clubland career that legends are made of, having graduated from throwing his own parties to working with the Hacienda and Ministry of Sound, he then revived Pacha and eventually set up Tribal Sessions and Sankeys. In February this year, Vincent had an experience on the White Isle that shook him, both in a personal sense and in how he understands the Ibiza season for the thousands of Brits that make the trip every summer.
Vincent explains, "I thought I had food poisoning, but after six hours of this pain, when it was 5 in the morning, I decided to go to a hospital called the Can Misses. When I got into the hospital, I was standing there for a long time in a lot of pain. They couldn't speak much English and they moved me onto this bed. The light was really bright and shining in my face, the bed was really low and uncomfortable. I kept on asking where my results were and what was wrong with me, but I was being ignored and sniggered at."
The Can Misses is a public hospital and, as he clarified, the Sankeys owner came out the wrong side of its underfunded and overstretched resources. After feeling neglected and disoriented for too long Vincent took things into his own hands. "When my painkillers ran out and I woke up, I saw that my blood was going back up into the transfusion. I thought, 'this can't be right,' so I asked the doctor 'what's going on? Where's my results?' Again, they were ignoring me, so I just ripped the transfusion out of my arm and I left. I drove through these bollards and the police were following me. They took my details for about an hour."
Despite leaving Can Misses behind, unfortunately Vincent's condition began to worsen. "I literally collapsed in my house. When I finally found the strength to move again, I spoke to Danny Whittle (ex Pacha and Sankeys) and he said 'David you need to go private.' I thought 'Bloody hell! I don't know if I can afford to go private,' but he convinced me just to go and get the checks I needed."
From there, he headed to the Policina Clinica de Rosario, after the Can Misses once again failed to produce any test results. It turns out this was the best decision Vincent could have possibly made. "Within an hour I'd been seen. They told me my appendix was perforating and was about to burst, if it had burst I would have died," he explains. "But you know what? At no point did I think I was going to die. I felt comfortable with these people. I woke up an hour and half afterwards and I was okay. I was kissing them and I was in tears. I had been close to dying because of others people's incompetence."
"There was also no system, it was those that shouted loudest that were seen first and because I didn't speak Spanish and I couldn't shout I had no chance. People were going mad in this hospital, I've never seen anything like it. We have people criticise UK hospitals, but our NHS is so great compared to this." This lack of support and safety has inspired something of a campaign for the club owner. Vincent wants his experience to be heard so that he can inspire Brits traveling to the Isle this summer to take proper precautions. "I'm trying to say to British kids, 'I wasn't insured. You need to get insurance and then read the terms, and if something costs you that extra £20 then do it because you never know what will happen. It could be the thing that saves your life.' What concerns me is that if its like that in February then what is it going to be like in the Summer? Lets use my negative experience for there to be a positive change."
With the huge amount of travel insurance options available, all at a variety of prices, it is possible to fall into traps that can be the difference between an unpleasant and potentially harmful stint in an over-worked public hospital or a brief life-saving visit to a private clinic. We've all been there before going away, having the words 'travel insurance' at the back of our minds whilst we browse 190 different types of off-brand Ray Bans on ASOS, but as Vincent kept insisting to me, it is too important to find boring. "I'm not going to start saying 'you shouldn't stand too near a speaker' or 'you shouldn't drink too much', but that hospital scared me. Please, please, please British people, make sure you're insured. It's more important to make sure you are insured than it is to buy a new t-shirt." And as for the European Health Insurance Card? "You know what its worth? Wiping your fucking arse with!"
The incident certainly hasn't stalled Vincent's passion for the island, if anything the scare seems to have galvanised his enthusiasm for putting on the fastest growing parties of the season. He was buzzing at the chance to give THUMP some exciting announcements for this year's season. "This year is going to be Sankeys on steroids. We've got Cuff with Amine Edge and Dance on Mondays, Tribal Sessions on Tuesday, Fridays we have Ibiza Rocks doing a new party called "Shelter", Magna Carta returning on Saturdays, plus much to be announced. On top of that we've also got four really major but really forward thinking changes coming to the club with regards to sound, light. & technology. We are really going for it - especially after what happened to me."
It has even caught him in a reflective mood, as he has begun the process of writing his autobiography, tentatively titled The Eccentric. "I've always told these legendary stories and people have said I should write a book. After what happened, there was a message in my head telling me I had to. "
Vincent's recent scare seems to have given him a newfound perspective on the season and his role within it. With Sankeys expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future, Vincent seems set on making sure he, and the hordes of revelers that come through his doors, can enjoy it for as long as possible. "See you for our grand opening on May 20th!" Vincent chimes just before reminding me, "you are only as good as your last party!"
You can find out more about Sankeys in Ibiza here.
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