The summer is finally here which means two things to most of us – festival season and holidays. Music lovers and party people seem to head to one particular little island in the Balearics at this time of year. An island that needs no introduction – Ibiza.

Famous for clubs such as Pacha, Space, Amnesia, Privilege and Eden, Ibiza was the place to come predominantly for the electronic music scene. World famous DJs host their own nights in clubs around the island, playing house, trance, techno and it has been this way for decades. However in 2005 something happened in Ibiza that shook up and redefined the party landscape – Ibiza Rocks.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 6 years, you will know that artists such as Kasabian, The Prodigy, Arctic Monkeys, The Specials, The Kooks have all graced the Ibiza Rocks stage. Silencing critics and pumping a well-needed indie-rock injection into the island, Ibiza Rocks has quickly established itself as an institution within the White Isle. 

Kicking off 2011 with a bang, Ibiza Rocks have one hell of a headliner for their Opening Party – ‘man of the moment’ Plan B, with support from Wretch 32.

It’s a typical summers evening in San Antonio. After a relatively cloudy day, the evening sun has reared its head and the beers are flowing. Residents Nicola Bear and Doorly begin spinning some cracking tunes for the over excitable crowd by the poolside within the confines of the hotel. The laid back Balearic vibe is evident with each gig-goer and living is easy.

Radio 1’s Annie Mac comes onstage to announce Wretch 32. After years of working hard to carve a name for through the hip-hop/grime scene, it’s evident that being on the Ibiza Rocks stage is a proud moment for Wretch. Performing tracks such as ‘Be Cool’ and his big hit ‘Traktor’, there is also a special surprise guest in the form of Example, who joins Wretch on stage for their hit ‘Unorthadox’.

The excitement of the event so far, and the energy from Wretch’s performance seems to have taken the emphasis away from the fact that the sun has now set and night has drawn in. The iconic Ibiza Rocks plectrum logo rotates in fluorescent colours on the stage backdrop, adding to the suspense of the impending Plan B performance. Beat-boxer FaithSFX takes to the stage to warm up the crowd with his take of some club classics and a few surprises thrown in for good measure. A rendition on Tinie Tempah’s ‘Pass Out’ particularly leaves revellers awestruck.

Its clear it is now time for our headliner. The band takes their place on stage dressed in sharp, dark grey suits – very Strickland. Picking up their instruments, riotous cheers fill the air and out comes the main man himself Plan B – Ben Drew. Straight into the most recent hit ‘Writings On The Wall’ the crowd erupt. Within minutes it is clear to see that this is going to be something special.  Looking dapper and oozing sex appeal, Drew has the audience eating out of his hands. Northern Soul visuals are projected on the big screens for ‘Prayin’ and Drew projects a pitch perfect soul falsetto throughout his whole set. As a whole, Drew & the band have nailed the 60s/70s vibe to a tee. Drew has soul throughout each track and sings each lyric as if he means every single word. Strickland Banks favourites such as ‘Love Goes Down’, ‘The Recluse’ and ‘Stay Too Long’ are delivered with such energy and enthusiasm. Drew and his band are enjoying every moment on stage, as are the crowd. The whole atmosphere from ground level and all the way up to the people watching from the hotel balconies is indescribable.

‘She Said’ kicks in and bound to be the final song on Plan B’s set. There are clearly of a lot of ladies vying for some Plan B attention throughout the set. Some going as far as throwing their knickers on to the stage which Drew clearly had no qualms about.

As the band leave and the stage lights dim, the crowd are not moving. They want more and will not be leaving until they get it. After playing all the well-known tracks, surely attempting any encore would be an anti-climax.

How wrong could I have been?

Taking places on stage once again a familiar bass line kicks in and Drew goes straight into the opening lines of Motown classic, ‘My Girl’ then Faith SFX joins him back on stage with some beat-box accompaniment for a rendition of ‘Stand By Me’. Everybody clearly loves this impromptu performance and just when you think you have had the unexpected, a very unique mash-up of ‘Aint No Sunshine’ & ‘Kiss From A Rose’ is thrown into the mix . Drum and bass seems to take over the vicinity of Ibiza Rocks as ‘Pieces’, which was originally a collaboration with Chase & Status, would have literally brought the roof down if there was one.

It is clear from the reaction that Plan B raised the bar for Ibiza Rocks tonight. Being dubbed as the best Rocks opening event by a number of regulars, expectations were exceeded and there was a buzz after the event that carried on well into the early hours. The hardcore ‘Ibiza Rockers’, along with Wretch & Plan B, made their way to Es Paradis & partied at the Official Aftershow Party with a live performance by Example & DJ Wire.

Ibiza Rocks truly ROCKED this opening event. With confirmed acts such as The Vaccines, Friendly Fires, Tinie Tempah, Chase & Status, 2ManyDJs yet to play over the season, this is going to be one big summer that is going to make an even bigger mark than those that have gone before it…