Rhian King

Ibiza Rocks has brought some of the best live talent to the island for 12 years, but comments from owner Andy McKay will leave live lovers fearing the curtain has fallen forever.

The closing party for 2017 saw the Kooks perform what could be the last ever live performance to be held at the venue. Speaking to the Diario de Ibiza, McKay said he has ‘had enough of risking his business’ by attempting to stay within Ibiza’s noise regulations. According to the businessman who made his name with Manumission before bringing the live music culture to Ibiza, even if the events held at Ibiza Rocks stay within the 60 decibel allowed limit, the whole business is in jeopardy. “If they give me an inspection, they could shut me down. It’s crazy” he said.

“It’s not that some politician makes it difficult, it is that the law is not intended for live music,” he explains. In fact, it is not a problem with San Antoni’s ordinances; it is the same throughout the island “I do not see how anyone can legally schedule concerts in Ibiza.” Because the rules have been made thinking “of a small disco bar of the West end, not in a place that hosts international performances and not even the great discos,” he says.

Decibel Limiters

McKay laments the need to install limiters on sound equipment, which is something that “no international band is ready to use”. The idea of a machine regulating these bands and musicians is inconceivable, particularly when they travel with their own engineers to ensure the sound is unbeatable.

In addition to the need to install limiters, the regulations force McKay to detail the position, power and models of each speaker, including the amplifiers the each band brings for their instruments. In order to comply, on the day of the concert McKay should perform an acoustic study that would cost 4,000€ and be “impossible” to present to the regulators on time.

The Kooks, closing the 2017 season,, we hope. Photo Elliot Young Photography for Ibiza Rocks

McKay has been trying to work “without a limiter” during concerts. He assures that the sound leaving the hotel does not exceed the permissible levels and is “controlled by engineers”; the same as in any international open air concert. “But that doesn’t seem acceptable.”


He does not ask that he be exempt from complying with the law, but that they are allowed to control the levels another way, without the ‘hateful apparatus’. “No one has been able to assure me that I won’t have problems as long as I am below 60 decibels and I am not prepared to risk the license for hiring a band when I have never earned money with it,” he insists.

They have in fact lost 100,000€ “in a single event” and each summer season see’s numbers in the red “between 200,000 and 300,000€” in the cash balance of the concerts.

The alternative would be to arrange an extraordinary event license, but following the “surprise” of being denied permission in August, a week before the Primal Scream concert and despite having requested it months in advance, he can’t take the chance.

“I need security” he says, because he hires musicians 6 months in advance, “if there are doubts, I cannot hire them”.

If you have no problem using the limiter then there is no risk. McKay says it with sadness, because many of the concerts that the island has hosted in the last 12 years have been promoted by him. “I want to continue doing it but it is very difficult, because without anyone adapting the law for us we are in danger, and I will not risk our entire business for technical details. I need to know that we operate within the law. “