It’s Saturday night and, for the last decade, that has meant one thing – Hed Kandi. From El Divino, to Space and now Es Paradis, Hed Kandi has delivered glamorous parties across ten summer seasons, changing themes, DJs and performers along the way and now, as we head towards Kandiland, they have an extra special summer in store as they celebrate the magic ten on a weekly basis. With an album of classics, ‘Ibiza 10 Years’, already in the shops – full of floor fillers picked by the resident Hed Kandi DJs – and a summer of extra special parties planned, this promises to be its biggest year yet!
There has been chat in recent days of recession and the island not being busy but San Antonio is bursting at the seems as we land for a few drinks before heading to Es Paradis. Café Mambo is mobbed, Pukka Up bar and Plastik couldn’t be busier and as we head around the corner to the club, we are part of an army of Hed Kandi. Inside, the club is almost full, huge chandeliers hang from the ceiling, along with massive Hed Kandi signs, the number ten and giant cupcakes, there is no doubting that this is its tenth birthday and that it is going to enjoy this summer. Es Paradis provides the perfect venue for the luxurious brand, the raised platforms and elevated walkways makes the ideal spot for the numerous performers throughout the night as acrobats, exotic dancers, hostesses draped in silk, girls in Kandi balls, the Lovely Laura on Sax and percussion on a podium creates an atmosphere of pure clubbing theatre. Hed Kandi and Ibiza are made for each other!
The crowd has made an extra special effort, as befits any birthday party, glamour is the theme and the Kandi regulars have it to spare! It’s not long before Es Paradis is full, the nasty ‘R’ word might be gripping Europe but there are no signs of it in here tonight. Every spare bit of concrete becomes a dancefloor and performers go about there business overhead as Sarah Louise and Andy Norman deliver a cool soundtrack from the elevated DJ booth. Thankfully we have found a club where the music doesn’t consist of massive electronic noises, followed by big breakdowns, followed by cheesy vocals and back to the electronic noises! This is cool, albeit accessible house music, new and classics from across the decade, as the party shows why it as become one of the biggest hitters on an island full of clubbing giants.
Just before three o’clock, ten candles are lit as we wish Hed Kandi a happy birthday, before Laura delivers a now legendary performance on the sax. I’m torn on the sax in the club, too often the saxophonist goes off on a jazz tip and on top of four four beats, it just sounds wrong. Laura, however, has been accompanying DJs for years and has an ear for house music, meaning that her performance compliments the music as well as showcases her amazing talent. The night is defined by great people, dressed up for the occasion, enjoying themselves, with wicked tunes punctuated by amazing performances. At around five, I say around because at this point the Hed Kandi hospitality is really starting to take its toll, a giant cake on wheels appears making it’s way through the crowd, before girls in Kandi balls add some colour to the occasion. Only in Ibiza!
Back in the booth and Andy Norman has taken control. This is a DJ who, more than most, is synonymous with the Hed Kandi brand. He has been a stalwart in their ever-evolving DJ roster, playing all over the world delivering the Kandi gospel. Ibiza must be like a second home to him and he looks as if he’s enjoying himself. He has a huge smile on his face as he oversees yet another successful Hed Kandi party. It’s a big year for the brand, a decade in Ibiza is an achievement worth celebrating and if tonight is anything to go by, that’s exactly what they intend to do! Happy Birthday Hed Kandi, same time next week?