News of a change to Ibiza’s laws on music venues have made waves around the world’s dance music press today.

But there are different interpretations of what the new change in law means. Thump Magazine asks the question; ‘Is this the end for outdoor clubs in parts of Ibiza?’ While Mixmag states: “A new law will give Ibiza council the power to ban open air venues,” and EDM Life boils its coverage down to one question: “is Ibiza banning beach clubs?” So what is really happening?

In effect, the crux of the new ruling is an amendment to a law that grants local councils the power to ban not just beach clubs but any venues that rely on music (live or electronic) if they deem their activities to be anti social. Beach clubs are not being banned outright as some media outlets are reporting. But local councils, such as those in San Antonio or Ibiza Town, will be able to make their own decisions on whether new music venues are allowed to open.

The amendment is not retroactive, meaning venues opened prior to the law’s passing will not be affected. This, in principle, means all currently existing beach clubs or music venues will be unaffected. So don’t worry – DC10 or Amnesia are not going anywhere any time soon.

Demands for a change to the law gathered pace, in 2016, when complaints from locals in San Antonio about sound pollution reached a crescendo.

Whether a municipality, such as San Antonio, would actively see this amendment as the opportunity to rid their town of music venues entirely is highly unlikely. Music and Ibiza go hand in hand and the disco pound is far too strong for local councils to turn their backs on one of the Ibizan tourism industry’s main cash cows.

Perhaps that may not be true of all municipalities, but certainly those that currently do very well out of the influx of dance music tourists are unlikely to risk losing the business that music venues bring.

One thing is clear: the dance music industry and the island’s local residents need to learn to co-exist even better than before. What locals don’t want are street after street of loud music blaring out, from every angle, from beach clubs, hotels, restaurants and bars.

It’s unfair to assume that clubs should be allowed to run riot with open air raves at every major hotel, tech house pumping from every restaurant and beach parties on every stretch of sand in the island. Ibiza’s beautiful environment, and the locals right to a normal life, should be protected.

The same should be said for the island’s music industry. The cultural heritage of its clubs needs to be equally protected. A case by case, municipality by municipality, approach might be the best way to determine the balance between nightlife and normality on the island.

Whether this new sense of independence will lead to a war on clubs across the island remains to be seen. It is certainly too early for alarmist headlines about club bans to travel around the world.

As in the case of Fabric in the UK, it is up to music fans and promoters alike to make make those councils realist the importance of their clubbing economy, and the important role clubs have to play in a town’s cultural heritage. Either way, let’s hope today’s media panic attack proves to be a storm in a teacup.

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