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Las Dalias: one of Ibiza’s living legends

This coming 4th of November, coinciding with the celebration of the Sant Carlos Patron Saint, Las Dalias will be celebrating their 65 years of existence and what started off as a bar at the side of the road with a dance floor, has become a true legend. To look back on the history of Las Dalias means looking back on the last six decades of Ibiza’s history.

On that distant day in 1954, Joan Marí (a farmer and carpenter at the time), congregated all the local “payeses” of the area at his bar to celebrate their Patron saint’s festivity. The gathering was a total success, bringing a turnover of 6,000 pesetas of that time. The branded drinks were 2 pesetas and the rest cost 1 peseta. During these first years Las Dalias became the dance floor for all the locals. It’s where they celebrated their weddings, baptisms, first communions and other important events. They say that it was such a success that the local priest in San Carlos started projecting films on these festive nights to try to get the locals back to his parish and pull them away from all the drinking, dancing and the sins of the flesh.

Then, in the 60s, came the arrival of the first mass tourism on the island that forced Joan to get in touch with tour operators to which he offered a BBQ + Show for 125 pesetas: the visitors could enjoy a delicious “pollo au go-go” and as much “champagne” or sangria as they could drink while listening to live Flamenco in the gardens of Las Dalias. It was such a success that they had to extend the culinary offer and build a restaurant/cellar in the basement of the exisiting building. Their success didn’t go unnoticed, and it didn’t take long for others to try to copy this concept. This took the BBQ business to the south of the island, closer to the hotels. This would be the first crisis that Las Dalias suffered.

But then came the 70s that brought the first hippies to the island. It was also then that the market in Es Canar started and Las Dalias was the chosen place for the “peluts” (this is how the local farmers called the hippies) to get together after work. In this way, the garden of Las Dalias started to host the first “jam sessions” that took place every Wednesday night. These were sessions of musical improvisation in which world-famous musicians that were visiting the island took part. It is said that even the great Bob Marley might have taken part in one of these unique nights. The Jamaican musician and his band stayed in a house near San Carlos when they came to Ibiza for their iconic concert in 1978. It seems that they had dinner one night in Las Dalias but the question is if there was a Jam session on that particular night… Who knows, in those days mobile phones didn’t exist and nobody bothered to put these kind of things on record.

In the meantime, Juanito, the owner’s son, is old enough and willing to take over the family business. These are the 80s: a decade that will bring a dizzying pace of changes. In 1984 Juanito will get in touch with the recently-created “Estudios Mediterráneos” that belonged (among others) to the members of Judas Priest or the legendary Vicente “Mariscal” Romero. Many of the bands that recorded an album with them would finish off their visit to the island by offering a concert in Las Dalias. Thanks to this collaboration, members of UB40, Stan Webb or Nina Hagen all set foot on the stage in Las Dalias. Spanish artists such as Banzai, Barón Rojo, Gato Pérez, Medina Azahara, La Frontera, Rebeldes, Obus or Barricada, all performed during these unforgettable nights in the garden of Las Dalias.
The fire that in 1989 burnt down the recording studio and offices of the Estudios Mediterráneos, brought this turbulent decade to a close and the musical aspect fell slightly into oblivion. But the market, that had been created in 1985, grew steadily throughout the 90s to achieve the emblematic status it boasts today.
But music lies deep in the DNA of Las Dalias so in 1997 and thanks to the incorporation of the musician Chris González to its staff, Las Dalias reopens its musical agenda. Over the course of the following years, the stage at Las Dalias will welcome artists such as Nina Hagen, Paul Collins, Lee Rocker, Javier Vargas, Loquillo, Carlos Segarra, Coque Malla, Charlie García, Javi Andreu, Nel:lo & la banda del Zoco and Nacho