Ibiza past: bringing the golden era of the White Isle to the present
All started from a Facebook group, Ibiza Past is now an archive holding decades of Island memories
Ibiza Past has been documenting the internet's memories of the golden age for three years now — featuring everything from nineties ravers at Space Ibiza to the raucous eighties heyday of Cafe Del Mar, the group has it all. All collected through submissions from a legion of fans eager to exchange memories of the White Isle.
Behind this digital museum is Dirk Queens, who caught the Ibiza bug after visiting the island with his family in the early eighties. One night in 1985 Dirk found himself sneaking out to a club named "Idea" in San Antonio. “I was 14 and I remember thinking that I just had to come back and experience this properly when I was old enough.” Eventually, Dirk returned to the island in 1995 with friends and since then has been going back every year.
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Starting in 2019 as a Facebook page for Dirk to share some of his favourite memories of raving in Ibiza, the page soon grew to become an online community — tonnes of submissions now flood in every day to be featured on Ibiza Past's Instagram and Facebook pages.
Dirk talks to us all about the success of Ibiza Past, as well as some of his favourite snaps that have been sent in.
When did Ibiza Past begin and why?
I initially started Ibiza Past back in 2019, about six months before the pandemic hit us all. Initially, it was just myself sharing some of my old photos, but then people started asking if they could send their own photos to post. It then quickly developed into an Ibiza archive so that people could share their stories and lots of people then started saying how positive it made them feel looking back on such happy memories.
During lockdown, I started receiving a lot more photos and there was a real sense of a community starting to build. At the time I read an article on pandemic-induced nostalgia where you get nostalgia for things that you didn’t think twice about before COVID, and I believe that this community really helped a lot of people through those difficult times.
Are you a regular Ibiza raver?
Two days into that first trip with friends in 1995 we visited our first cub night at Ku – the infamous Manumission – and it just blew me away! We visited Café Del Mar for the sunset every night for two weeks and went out to a club every second night. It was a mad holiday, and it took weeks to recover.
I’ve been back every year since and seen Ibiza change (and not always for the better) I would like to say I have matured with age and things are calmer, but the last couple of years in Ibiza have been as mad as ever. They say that music is often our last link in older age to our former selves, so I would like to think that is my excuse. The allure to many is being able to leave normality at home and live that rock ‘n’ roll life for a while!
Where do you find the images?
We are lucky enough to have some fantastic content shared by our community. From professional photographers, to workers, to promoters and to bars and clubs on the island. They have all been kind enough to share their archives with me to share to our wider community. A huge thank you to everyone!
How quickly did the group grow?
It was slow for the first six months, but then during the pandemic we saw increases of 1,000 followers a month. We are close to 25,000 now.
What is the aim behind the page?
As previously mentioned, we need to create an archive of these special moments we all experienced. We aren’t getting any younger and memories are fading fast every year. If we don’t capture it now, it may be forgotten just how special those years were. It has been great to see so many old friendships reborn through people sharing photos and a number of people are religiously going through photos posted each day to see if they can spot themselves.
There is nothing wrong with people going to a past place for coping especially during the last couple of years. I am just happy that these photos and the community we have built has really helped a lot of people's well-being during these difficult times.
What year has the best pictures of Ibiza and why?
That’s a difficult one. I love seeing old photos from the sixties, seventies and eighties as Ibiza was a completely different place back then. However, I probably most enjoy seeing photos from the mid-nineties when Ibiza really was at its peak when the likes of Manumission, Space, Clockwork Orange, Bar M, Kanya and Mambo all made that period of time so special.
What is your favourite image that's been sent in?
I love a photo that was kindly shared by Danny Clockwork of their crew lazing outside Mambo one day. I loved those old blue shutters and it reminds me of lazy carefree days that I used to spend at Mambo in the Nineties.
You can check out Ibiza Past on Instagram and Facebook.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter