Flower Power Beat Experience Festival

Venue: Destino, Ibiza

Date: 13th July 2017

By Mark Devlin | 20 July 2017

It was an inspired move for the Pacha group to mark the 50th anniversary of 1967’s ‘Summer of Love’, and the associated counter-culture, by staging an all-day, open-air Flower Power Festival. The original Pacha, having opened in 1973, had been a hangout spot for Ibiza’s hippie community long before the clubland ravers got there. And with its spacious terraces and leisurely poolside ambience, the group’s recently-opened Destino hotel and clubbing resort was the ideal choice for the array of visual and audio artefacts on offer.

Besides ‘peace’ signs, hearts, yellow submarines and other cut-out shapes hanging liberally overhead, one of the first sights greeting visitors was a life-size recreation of the Beatles’ iconic ’Sgt. Pepper’ album sleeve, released right at the start of ’67’s colourful proceedings. A tripped-out version of the group’s ‘Abbey Road’ was up for later viewing, providing an unmissable opportunity for visitors to interact with the four walking across the famous zebra crossing. Just around the corner was 1969’s ‘bed-in’ straight out of the Amsterdam Hilton, ‘John’ and ‘Yoko’ reclining on a bed with peace signs dotted all around … a nice touch, although I don’t remember John ever resembling a Spanish matador, or Yoko ever being that good-looking. Other artefacts included a poster rendering of Mick Jagger’s performance at the Rolling Stones’ notorious Altamont concert, and a psychedelically-decorated mini-bus of the type seen in Scooby Doo, and used by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters to distribute free (CIA-sponsored) LSD to the hippies hanging out in Haight-Ashbury and other areas of California in the late-60s.

It wouldn’t have been much of an event without music, and things seemed promising when ‘Age of Aquarius’ from the musical ‘Hair’ was heard blasting out of the vast main-stage sound system on first arrival. Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ followed, which, although from 1972, still suited the occasion. Things quickly fell down, however, with the likes of Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, The Archies ‘Sugar Sugar’, Sam & Dave’s ‘Soul Man’ and Arthur Conley’s ‘Sweet Soul Music’, none of which could be considered ‘hippie’ anthems. There was enough spaced-out psychedelic rock and pop around in ’67 to have kept an authentic soundtrack going for hours, as some deeper research on the part of the programmers would have uncovered. As the afternoon gave way to the evening, a host of DJs took to the decks, including Balearic legend Pippi, DJ Domi and Victor Nebot spinning deep and ambient house music that attempted to retain some of the spirit of what the event was commemorating.

Regrettably, the door price of 60 Euros, plus the unfathomable bar prices, (35 Euros for two mineral waters and a Red Bull,) brought a nasty shock to anyone who wasn’t part of the loaded jet-set ‘beautiful people’ crowd. Cost and music factors aside, however, this event gets top marks for creativity and imagination, and any get-together which dares to deviate from the overloaded electronic dance music format on this particular island, has already made itself stand out notably from the crowd.

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