Memories are made on this island.
Whether it’s a formative club experience or a magical time with your friends, there’s something in the water. It’s no wonder people return year on year, taken in by the warm embrace of the Balearic beat.
These magical moments don’t just apply to punters, either.
If you’ve found your way to the Skiddle Promoter Blog, or you’re a regular reader, you probably know a thing or two about events. Maybe you’re looking to host a club night in Ibiza, keen to get the buzz of delivering a spectacular event.
But we understand that it can be hard to find the knowledge. The island is a tough nut to crack, a mix of established promoters running long-standing events and hungry up-and-comers like yourself looking to make a name.
So, as part of our Destination Ibiza campaign, we decided to get in touch with a couple of those established promoters. Nick Ferguson and Gavin Stockman have amassed a wealth of experience in Ibiza, and we were lucky enough to pick their brains on the subject of promoting a club night on the island.
Nick has over twenty years of experience on the island and is the founder of The Supernova Group, a partner and promoter for some of the biggest names in electronic music. Gavin is the founder of Musicana Ibiza, a live music bottomless brunch, which has taken the island by storm and continues to go from strength to strength.
So, are you ready? Grab a drink, sit down and find out about the tools you need to launch a successful club night in Ibiza.
On getting into promotion in Ibiza…
Nick: I completed a degree in Music Industry Management whilst spending my summers working in Ibiza. My plan was to go into artist/label management in the rock/indie/pop markets originally, but I ended up sucked into the dance music world.
Over the years, I went from starting as a ticket seller at a bar to PR manager of another to promotion manager of Café Mambo to Operations and Events manager of Cream, Tiesto and Radio 1, before taking a full job role at Cream Group when I became Promoter of Cream Ibiza and worked on international Creamfields and Electric Daisy Carnival Events.
After nearly a decade at Cream, I started my own company, “The Supernova Group”. [It] acts as the island partner/promoter for various brands and artists from Defected to Paul Van Dyk, Garage Nation and even family brand Raver Tots. We now have around ten active clients.
We launched our own brands like ‘Kevin & Perry Amnesia Experience’ and ‘One More Time’, invest in businesses like Acid 87 Clothing, and even have a Wellness and Family project developing called “Stargaze”.
Gavin: I came to Ibiza for the first time on holiday in 2007 and fell in love with [the island] and the events that I went to. I instantly thought to myself: ‘I would love to do this’, and thought it was something that I would be really good at.
I’ve always had a love for bringing people together and a passion for music, so it really struck a chord with me. I met Sam Divine on that first trip to Ibiza, who was DJing in a bar in the west end of San Antonio. With her help, the very next year with I was putting on my first-ever event in Ibiza. The rest is history and I’ve been here every year since!
The importance of embedding yourself on the island as a promoter…
Nick: Ibiza is unique. You can not come here and promote the way you do in your home town or even in major international cities. It makes sense to come and live here first, get to understand the scene, the people and the island. You need to work with it and not against it!
Gavin: It’s essential to at least have somebody on your team who has extensive experience on the island and knows how everything works here. Without that local knowledge, it’s almost impossible as it’s a very unique place to put on events.
On thinking outside the box…
Nick: When starting out, you do indeed need to come up with something clever. Ibiza is a completely oversaturated market. The competition is insane. You not only have ten other events a night against you on your show day, but you need to be one of the events in your own venue that attracts the customer the most. If you can find a new, cool, interesting venue, you can create your own thing and not have to pitch up against the big boys from the start!
Gavin: In a market as competitive as Ibiza, it’s a must to think outside the box and try something different to stand out from the crowd. That was one of the main reasons I started Musicana, to bring something different to the island and a love for live music! That is also the main reason it caught on and became so successful relatively quickly. This year we are at Ibiza Rocks Bar every Monday.
What kind of people do you need on your team…
Nick: It is essential to build a team around you that understands everything from promotional techniques to the difficulties of running events in Ibiza.
I would advise [using] one of the best poster teams on the island. Try and recruit a good PR manager and small street team. I would distribute tickets myself to get to know all the outlets and keep control of the money.
You may need a couple of strong front-of-house people to manage your tills and guestlist. And it is handy to have a really motivated event runner/artist liaison/hospitality person.
You will also need someone who understands social media promotion as well as using the skills of a quality designer. Oh, and you need a good budget to cover all these costs, staff are not cheap!
Gavin: An event’s success is all down to the team behind it, so choose wisely. From the artists to the all-important back room & support staff, it will be the make or break of you, so make sure it’s people that you trust and that have the same commitment and enthusiasm as you
On sound systems, professional advice and costs…
Nick: We are in a lucky position in Ibiza that the clubs are all top class and usually update their production [regularly], and in particular sound systems. So it is never too much of a concern. There are many great companies on the island who can help bring in extra equipment if needed, but it is never cheap and will only drive up your break even!
Gavin: This is essential for a successful event in Ibiza. Ibiza has the very best events, clubs and sound systems in the world, so you must compete with a top-tier system at your show. This is one for the professionals, so get a sound engineer’s advice.
How can small or new promoters maximise their budget so they achieve success and have room to grow?
Nick: Do not overspend on artists when starting as they can bankrupt you before you begin! Try to build up networks you can reach cheaply through social media instead of costly street campaigns. Be prepared to lose some money the first summer though, it is really hard to get it right at the start, and the primary aim should be establishing yourself in the market and building a brand and event that can come back in a stronger position in year two.
On the change in promotion techniques since Nick & Gavin have been on the island…
Nick: When I started here 23 years ago, there were flyers everywhere, from in drink machines to all over the beaches, with hundreds of PR staff standing on every corner! Over time that has diminished massively, although postering is still a hugely valuable promotional method, which I invest a lot into. Obviously, social media is now the main promotional tool promoters utilise, in particular targeted sponsored posts which are incredibly effective and actually fairly cheap if you know how to utilise them best. However, I do quite miss the days of Manumission flying a plane with banners up and down the sunset strip!
Gavin: Promotion in Ibiza has completely changed since I started putting on events here, with the local governments banning ‘dynamic promotion’ which includes parades and on-street promoters, even banning outside posters in some areas. The majority of it has switched to online. It’s a shame as the parades especially were a real asset to the island and tourism as they were creative and a fun thing for tourists to see. There is still some on-island promotion but it’s harder to find and nothing like the scale it used to be.
Why do events on the island fail? How can promoters give themselves the best chance of success in Ibiza
Nick: The biggest problem is finding the right venue. It must fit like a glove. Every year I see an event launching in the wrong venue for their event, and I know it will be one of the first to fail. The venue must suit the brand, the music, the target audience and the vibe.
Location is essential. Know your audience. Do they want to spend a night there? Is it easy to get to and back? Is it too “VIP”? Is it too big? Are drink prices reasonable? Will the DJs we want to book want to play there? Are there far better events in the same venue the day before and after our show? Will the venue support you in any way? Does it have the right level of production? Can you trust them with how the finances will work? You must be able to carefully answer all these questions before throwing money and your brand at it and just hoping for the best!
Gavin: The key to success in Ibiza is island knowledge. Many successful events have come to Ibiza and failed, not because they weren’t good events but because they didn’t have the knowledge of what it takes to be successful.
In Ibiza, you need an experienced team on the island who will know how to cross every T and dot every I. It is a very unique place that requires a special set of insider knowledge and contacts that can only be gained by living and working on the island for many years. Without that to guide you through the minefield of setting up and promoting an event in Ibiza, it’s extremely difficult.
Got a question you need an answer to? Give us a call on 03333010301 or ask us a question over on the Skiddle Promoter Twitter account by clicking or tapping on the button below. Alternatively, you can also find a list of our most frequently asked questions over at https://help.promotioncentre.co.uk/