Hippy Market, Concert Venue, Restaurant, Art Fair, Mystic Fair and Party Location… Rolling on into its 54th year of existence, Las Dalias has become the colourful emblem of Ibiza’s eclectic spirit.
Juan Mari Juan, known by the island as “Juanito”, is the man in charge, and has been since he was given this responsibility by his father at the age of 23. Las Dalias was opened on November the 4th, 1954 by farmer cum carpenter, Joan Mari, Juanito’s father. It was originally opened as a roadside bar with a dancehall attached. The dancehall catered to the special events of the peasant population of northern Ibiza. Weddings, communions, baptisms, New Year’s, Christmas, etc. were held as the locals flocked in through the 50s & 60s.
In the late 60s, seeing the surge in the newly founded tourist industry, Joan built a cellar restaurant onto the complex and started the barbecue trade on the island for package tourists. The gardens of Las Dalias would fill with the well-attired tourists of the day, long skirts and suits and ties being the basic uniform. The offer consisted of all the chicken you could eat and all the Sangria you could drink for 125 pesetas (some 0,75€ of today’s currency). Flamenco show and dance band were included in the evening’s programme… But as mass tourism prospered, other venues in the south of the island started competing for the barbecue trade. Being closer to the hotel sprawl in Ibiza & San Antonio, Las Dalias was fazed out and ground to a temporary halt…
In the late 70s, with the growth of the Es Caná Hippy Market, Las Dalias became a spontaneous phenomenon as informal parties erupted on Wednesday nights after the market. Musicians would come from all around and jam sessions accompanied the dinner of stall-keepers, chilling after the long day…
In 1978, Bob Marley played the bullring in Ibiza. Lodged in a farmhouse in San Carlos, his entourage had dinner one night in Las Dalias restaurant. While there are no photos to document the occasion, the story mentions billowing clouds of ganga smoke filling the air…
In 1984, Joan passed command on to Juanito, who at the time was well-known for his talent as a runner in top island competitions. Juanito, age 23, threw himself into the business with the flame of youth… and in the winter of 1984, the Theatre Trust, a charity organization comprising of British ex-pats, resident on the island, put on “Oliver Twist” after altering the stage area of the dancehall to conform with theatrical needs. The cast included Nina Van Pallandt residing on the island at the time. The show ran 2 daily sessions for two weeks during December and January and was sold out for its duration!
During this period, Juanito also became friendly with Studios Mediterraneo run at the time by members of Judas Priest. Many musicians recording there would come to play a “blow-out gig” at the end of their sessions before leaving the island… Aside from countless Spanish bands of the day, Judas Priest, members of UB40, Stan Webb, Sham 69, Nina Hagen and many others played the stages of Las Dalias. This band movement brought many musical VIPs to hang out on party nights in the venue. It was common at the time to encounter Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Mike Oldfield, Bob Geldof and many others amongst the crowd.
On Valentines Day in 1985, Juanito started an experimental hippy market in Las Dalias garden with 5 stalls. Little was he to know that it would grow to today’s 200 stall sprawl receiving some 20.000 visitors on summer Saturdays. Over the years, the market has expanded to its present size, occupying the garden, hall, and surrounding areas. Many food and beverage areas have been included in the montage including an Arabian Tea-tent, a fruit juice bar, a lounge on the top level known as “the Sky Lounge” and many other areas where shoppers can chill. Djs spin tunes all day and often musicians perform. The stalls sell everything from clothing to CDs, incense, crafts, toys, lamps, herbs, etc. The waiting list to obtain a stall has remained at standstill for the last 7 years.
The Christmas market was born in 1988 from the idea of the summer market to fill the winter hole. It was created following the German tradition. It begins on the holiday of the Constitution – that is the day of Saint Nicolas. The market of the Three Kings came about because of the Christmas hang-over which is when the Spanish celebrate Christmas. Actually the two markets are now practically one, focusing on both Christmas and the Three Kings.
We can find german products in the market like “Glühwein” (warm wine with cinnamon, clove, raisins…) y pastries and Christmas pastries. And of course typical food from the restaurant on the premises. Many stands with presents and Christmas decorations. All the stands are inside and are open from 7th December to 5th January with the exception of 25th and 26th December and January 1st. Hours: Monday to Friday 17-22 h, Saturdays and Sundays 11-22 h.
Other than the markets, Las Dalias is known for its parties of heavy alternative content. On Wednesday, its most popular event, the “Namasté” party offers an amazingly attractive garden with colours and sounds far beyond fantasy… Live World music, exotic Cuisine, Dancing till dawn… What began around 8 years ago as a small garden party serving vegetarian food and non-alcoholic drinks has grown into a major meeting place for locals and tourists alike and brings around 1.000 people every Wednesday to the garden.
“ Las Dalias will continue being an alternative”, says Juanito, “it’s important that places like this continue to exist on the island.”