Hippy Markets in Ibiza Ibiza

The Hippy Scene in Ibiza history, hangouts and markets

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Ibiza Hippie Band

In the long and varied history of Ibiza, the hippy period, which really took off in the 1960s, was probably the most revolutionary not to mention influential time. The island had already become notorious for its free thinking, liberal attitude before the hippies invaded, since many artists and political liberals had fled to Ibiza during the fascist rule of General Franco, which began in 1936. Following its discovery by the beatnik crowd in the late 1950s, however, it was the tourist boom in the 1960s that brought the hippies in their masses. Ibiza became the European equivalent of San Francisco full of artists, writers, and what were known locally as peluts ('hairies'). All manner of international hippies joined the party, from Bob Dylan to Joni Mitchell.

The main hippy hangouts were Ibiza Town, Sant Joan, Sant Carles and La Mola, and the big clubs that sprang up in the 1970s including Pacha and Amnesia had a vibrant hippy character at first, hosting wild parties that attracted hippies from all over Europe and even the United States.

A considerable number of hippies actually moved to Ibiza in the 1960s and are still on the island today. Sant Joan in the north of the island has been a particularly popular spot since the 1960s, and, although the hippy scene as a whole is less evident these days than it used to be, there are still occasional (illegal) trance parties in the hills around the village.

There are two principal hippy markets on the island; one in the northern town of Es Cana which is held each Wednesday between 10am and 7pm – and one in San Carlos, also in the North, which trades every Saturday. Both markets are considered a must see, especially for bargain hunters looking to pick up interesting jewellery, clothing and gifts to take home with them.

Another major New Age hangout that still persists today is Benirras beach in the north west, which is largely undeveloped and hidden from view behind cliffs and pines. The best time to visit Benirras for some New Age fun is on Sunday afternoons during the summer, when people bring their bongo drums to beat as the sun goes down over the sea. Benirras is the scene of the annual Day of the Drums, which occurs at the time of the full moon in August. There was a time when bonfires dotted the beach during this event, but these have now been banned; indeed, the event itself has been threatened with an outright ban. What you can expect if you make it to Benirras for this hippy/ New Age spectacle is a totally non commercial gathering of people, with candles, veggie food and plenty of music mainly drums but also guitars and other instruments.

Whereas hippies have almost become historical legend in many parts of the world, the scene is still as vibrant in parts of Ibiza as it is in any of the few remaining hippy hangouts. It takes a bit of looking, but is totally worth the effort.