Charismatic, flamboyant and blessed with one hell of a voice, late Queen front man Freddie Mercury continues to fascinate and inspire the world long after his passing. This year, the singer would have celebrated his 70th birthday and to mark the occasion his ‘home away from home’ on the White Isle, Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes Hotel, threw him a party of epic proportions.
Having infamously hosted his 41st birthday bash at the iconic Ibizan abode and as a close friend of the hotel’s original owner Anthony Pikes, every year the popular venue marks the occasion with a fundraiser in aid of Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity that was founded to distribute the monies raised from the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness. Since 1992, the Mercury Phoenix Trust has been responsible for donating more than $15 million in the fight against AIDS making over 750 grants to charities worldwide.
The 6th Freddie Rocks kicked off at 1pm poolside with guests having the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in the famous Club Tropicana basin or enjoy the delicious Sunday Roast the in-house eatery has become famous for. Children were entertained by Kids In Ibiza with a bouncy castle, toys and plenty of fun and games between 2pm and 7pm, allowing parents to kick back and soak up the feel-good Freddie vibes. While fancy dress is encouraged at the event, Mercury’s signature moustache is obligatory for every partygoer and those who hadn’t come prepared with their own stick-on beard were immediately set upon with a pen by the Pikes team to have a glorious handlebar drawn on them.
As the sun set behind the hills, guests started to pile into the sprawling gardens and around the pool, where the Folk Manchester crew and Brothers Grimm provided a quirky and eclectic soundtrack that spanned an amazing variety of eras and genres – we swear we heard a Chipmunk sample in there but it worked -got everyone into the mood to dance.
Many revelers had made the effort to dress up as the man of the moment, and at 10pm the crowd gathered in the Plaza Mayor courtyard to vote for the best Freddie lookalike. It was a goosebump-inducing moment when vocal powerhouse Ruby Murry opened the competition with a rousing rendition of Queen’s We Are The Champions. With the winner declared – a Mercury incarnation from the Break Free video – it was time to bring out the birthday cake, which was shared amidst the crowd.
Ibiza legend Anthony Pikes, who hosted the iconic star many times at his hotel, held a short speech in which he described the star as ‘a wonderful, wonderful person and so humble and lovely’ before opening the doors to Freddies, the rockers former suite which has long been transformed into an intimate party space. Cake in one hand and trying not to smudge our painted on mustaches, we entered the club to the dramatic tunes of Mercury and Bowie debut Under Pressure, with the dance floor filling up in record time as the Melon Bomb gang dropped one feel good ‘80s track after the next.
There were happy faces all round as people sang along and danced their hearts out to the infectious music, with Ruby Murry popping up in the DJ booth between sets to regale the audience with her larger-than-life performances of iconic Queen songs. Ben Santiago continued the night on funky house tip, building the party atmosphere and keeping the energy high. Outside, Plaza Mayor and the leafy backyard where busier than we have ever seen them, with more and more people arriving still.
Just past midnight, the much talked about surprise DJ act, which had kept people guessing for days, took over the decks to a roar of approval: Basement Jaxx’s Felix Buxton. Opening with a number of super-charged disco tracks, he kept up an energetic pace that took on a futuristic, synth-heavy edge as the night continued. Giant mustache firmly in place, he made the most of every minute in the booth, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
He was followed by another internationally renowned master mixer, Matthew Bushwacka!, which gave people the amazing opportunity to see not one but two super club veterans in the intimate setting of Pikes. Having thoroughly danced his socks off during Basement Jaxx, the tune spinner started off with a super funky vocal number before surprising us by dropping into a bass-heavy techno number that was driving and kept the energy high during the early hours. While we won’t go as far as saying that Freddie Rocks 2016 rivalled the late legend’s outrageous antics back in the day, with so much attention to detail, loving tributes to Mr Mercury and revelers giving it their all on the dance floor to the frankly outstanding music all night long, we’re pretty sure he would have approved. Many happy returns!