“If anyone asked you the directions to Pacha from Ibiza town you simply pointed to the lights on the other side of the harbour; they were the only lights.”
When Pacha opened in 1973 it was surrounded by fields and considered to be on the outskirts of town. The Urgell brothers, Ricardo and Piti, had found success in their small club in Stiges and made the move to Ibiza to try their luck on the white isle. Back then the only word people had to describe what the brothers were doing was ‘boîte’ which means box in French. The word nightclub had yet to be invented.
It was just a small farmhouse with a bar and a dancefloor surrounded by cushions. There were no multimillion euro lighting and sound gear, no superstar DJs, although the go-go dancers were a regular fixture from the start. For the locals and young Spaniards from the mainland, Pacha was an anomaly. Decades of living under the cultural void of the Franco regime had left an enormous gap in how young people had fun. Stepping into Pacha was like stepping right into freedom and the minute you crossed the threshold you started to dance.
When Franco was still alive Piti Urgell used to smuggle records in from Paris. Nowadays record companies are falling over themselves to get tracks to DJs playing in his institution. The DJ booth is kitted out in the latest technology and the little farmhouse has been transformed into a megaclub known the world over. Pacha is now a brand that covers fashion, perfumes, hotels, restaurants, resorts and 25 franchises all over the world. What started as a little local nightclub has become the unofficial global ambassador for Ibiza clubbing.
More recently the Urgell family have pared things back to return to a less complicated time when it was all about dancing. A more underground scene has replaced some of the superstar DJs, lesser known acts with a little more cred are taking over where over indulged DJ divas once reigned. Having said that, David Guetta still rules the floor every week during summer to a banging crowd of hardcore funsters. Pacha will always be the jewel in the clubbing world’s crown. If knighthoods could be given out to nightclubs it would most definitely be dubbed Sir Pacha.
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