Mark Broadbent: From We Love (Ibiza) to Barbarella (Croatia) (interview)
12 months after unexpectedly announcing he was leaving seminal Ibiza event We Love and nightlife promotion in general, Mark Broadbent has equally unexpectedly resurfaced in Croatia, as the chief programmer for Garden Festival’s in house venue Barbarella’s.
Looking after bookings for a new summer season of events at the alfresco 1,500 capacity seaside space, he was characteristically blunt about his motivations for his role, in a press release issued last week.
“I have wanted more involvement with the guys since first meeting them what now seems a lifetime ago although I’m sure it’s not actually that long. You know the chemistry is right when it feels like this, seems we have been friends forever. The guys asked me to bring a little of my own colour to the table and to be honest this is the one thing I wanted to hear,” he explained.
“I have just left what for some would have been the dream job of programing one of the best parties in the world due to a lack of enthusiasm in the way things are heading in Ibiza and how that party will now need to be programed to achieve the kind of numbers we had grown to expect”, said Mark.
“I wasn’t about to jump on board some other soulless ship of EDM pirates in a hurry.”
Chatting to Skrufff this week from Ibiza (he’s still based there) he’s as always outspoken; so how much does he believe EDM has ruined (or at least significantly damaged) the Ibiza party scene?
“I do not think it has done either, I think that it has changed the scene here dramatically but the island has never been busier,” he points out.
“A very different kind of clubber now comes here than did ten years ago but Ibiza needs this kind of tourist to sustain the growth made during these last ten years. People have invested a lot of money on their swanky bars and hotel complexes and they need less savvy and more monied people to fill them.
Hippies dancing on the beach, drinking beers they bought in corner shops, isn’t going to do that so these people are now less catered for and in some places / cases actively discouraged. The face of Ibiza has now changed for good – for the most part – and there are now other places to visit if you want to re-capture that hippie / free spirit we once loved here so much many moons ago.
If you look hard enough there are still a few good people on the island keeping the ‘original’ vibe alive in hidden corners and caves around the place. Just keep it to yourself should you happen upon them.”
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Where do you believe things are heading in Ibiza? (what happens if/ when the EDM bubble bursts?)
Mark Broadbent: “I think it will carry on in this manner for sometime. The artists that are making what you term EDM will change their style slightly over the years (as has happened with Avicii) and their fans will follow them for a few more years before finding other acts with a more “grown-up” approach to making music to follow in line with their now more cultivated taste, it’s youth based or entry level music at the end of the day. There is a huge and ever growing market for this with house/EDM etc being the soundtrack to the high-street and the suburbs of Europe and the U.S.”
Skrufff: I always get the sense that Ibiza people are very sensitive to criticism about the island: how much has your directness provoked anger amongst people still involved in the club scene there?
Mark Broadbent: “I don’t think I’ve provoked any anger in anybody as far as I know – not due to my comments on the changing face of Ibiza anyway! - But then the kind of people your alluding to would never directly say anything to me or anybody else that’s openly critical about anything.
I do hope that comments I’ve made over the years here in Skrufff and in other publications can be seen for what they are or were. All my comments were based on frustration, at seeing something I love changing and being taken over by people who I believed to be less than sympathetic to the lifestyle that we have grown to love here. A bit like the people who we took over from all those years ago would have been about myself. I do hope that I have not been seen as being critical of the island Ibiza, as a whole as this is not what I wanted.”
Skrufff: How much has leaving ‘We Love’ changed the way people treat you: have you lost any/ many ‘friends’?
Mark Broadbent: “I’ve lost one very close friend and it pains me a great deal. Outside of this I was never really the kind of “do you know who I am” person. I hate that behaviour in others and would have died if I thought I’d ever behaved in that way myself. I paid to go to other people’s nights and bought my own drinks for the most part.
Hopefully now I’m only working part-time people will treat me differently and buy me a drink or two when they see me! joking. If there are people who decide not to talk to me or show me less respect than they used to due to the changing roles in my carrier path then fuck them. They were not friends to begin with, right?”
Skrufff: Croatia is a VERY different place from Ibiza culturally (a lot more conservative for example, and less wealthy): what implications does that have for the Barbarella’s parties (what’s the minimum door charges?).
Mark Broadbent: “It means we get to start again with a clean slate learning from the mistakes we made here and other places that have a more developed scene. To steal from a good friend Dave Beer, we are going back to basics. Keeping a tight grip on our expenditure – i.e less international guest acts, which means we can charge a low ticket price on the door. We aim to charge between 10 and 15€ entrance and have a realistically priced bar. We are able to keep standards high whilst keeping a low break-even due to the cost of the raw materials involved in putting on a party in this part of the world.
A happy coincidence of having less money to spend on acts is that there are by turn less acts playing on the night, giving the ones who are playing far longer sets than they will have come to expect when playing for me at Space, for example. I’ve called in a few favours from friends I’ve made over the years so the guys playing for us this summer share some history with us and this always makes for a great night out.”
Skrufff: How important is it you to integrate local talent into the line-up? How many Croatian DJs will be typically playing for each party?
Mark Broadbent: “It’s very important. These shows are for the locals with anybody coming in from overseas being a bonus so first and foremost you need to have good local residents. Most of the shows I have programmed have one or – at the most – two International guest DJs who will play a three hour set (if they want to play this long) and we will then have two or three local resident artists as support.
These are all guys who have connections with radio and the media and or have been around playing on the scene for sometime. People who have a loyal local following in place already. When setting something new like this up this, it’s an integral part of the operation.”
Skrufff: I thought when you left We Love last year that you were leaving the club promotion game behind altogether: what made you change your mind?
Mark Broadbent: “My mates.”
Barbarella’s Discoteque Parties This Summer:
28th June Saturday – Derrick Carter – Big Danny Kane – Jan Kincl Zero – Borut Cvajner
4th August Monday – Ivan Smagghe – Justin Robertson – Jan Kincl Zero
8th and 9th August – guests TBA
15th August Friday – Max Cooper – Petar Dundov – Jan Kincl Zero
16th August Saturday – Stacy Pullen – Eddy Ramich – Borut Cvajner
22nd August Friday – 20 years of Wiggle with Terry Francis – Nathan Coles – Pyztek
23rd August Saturday – Darren Emmerson – Pier Bucci – Pyztek
30th August Saturday – Carl Craig – Jan Kincl Zero – Borut Cvajner
http://www.thegardenfestival.eu (• Derrick Carter, Ivan Smagghe, Stacey Pullen, Carl Craig, Eats Everything, Craig Richards, Bicep, Wolf and Lamb, Soul Clap, Francois K, Ewan Pearson, Darshan Jesrani, (Metro Area), Crazy P Soundsystem, Kink, Session Victim, Justin Martin, Prosumer, Levon Vincent, Greg Wilson, Axel Boman and more: 2nd – 9th July 2014