Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Meet Carine de Mesmaeker, the woman behind Velvet Ibiza

Carine de Mesmaeker is the founder and producer of Velvet Ibiza, the legendary five-day, five-night party extravaganza for queer women usually scheduled in May and this year is no different.

It’s set to run from May 2-7, 2023. Celebrating its seventh year, Velvet Ibiza is bigger and better than ever, attracting an international crowd of LGBTQ+ women from all over the globe. And all of this is thanks to the tireless efforts and dedication of de Mesmaeker.

Crowd at Velvet Ibiza
(Photo Credit: Velvet Ibiza)

A former DJ and a party producer since the 1980s, de Mesmaeker has been throwing some of the best parties for queer women in all of Belgium. Since 2010 she has organized the highly successful Velvet Sixty Nine parties in Brussels and she previously owned her own club called Gate from 1999 through 2004.

We sat down with this titan of lesbian nightlife to find out a bit more about Velvet Ibiza and what attendees can expect from this year’s festivities.

Carine de Mesmaeker (Photo Credit: Velvet Ibiza)

Hello Carine! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. We are huge fans of Velvet Ibiza. What led you to expand the “Velvet” brand from your parties in Brussels to Ibiza?

Carine de Mesmaeker:
Unlike in America, here in Europe we have very few festivals for queer women. I wanted to offer the European girls a festival and place where they can gather once a year, have a good time, and be able to meet girls from other countries and cultures.

And why was Ibiza chosen for its location?

Well, Ibiza is known as “the” hot spot for music and nightlife, so that’s one reason.

But also, Ibiza reflects the true spirit of being able to be yourself – presumably on account of the hippies who discovered the island in the late ’60s with their “Make Love, Not War” philosophy. As such, I chose The Club Punta Arabi, the location of the oldest hippie market, as the home base of Velvet Ibiza. Nowhere else on the island is the spirit and essence of Ibiza more alive than at Punta Arabi, the site of our host hotel, the Cala Martina.

Sounds like paradise to me! How is Velvet Ibiza different from other festival events like The Dinah?

Velvet Ibiza all takes place in one location. Our event hotel has it all: a large pool, a club right next to that pool, and 5 days in a row to enjoy it with girls from all over the world –  AND the event is completely all-inclusive! This means for your 5-night stay you get 3 meals a day, free drinks till 11 pm each night, and access to all the parties and other activities we host. This makes it very, very unique.  No need to worry about expenses or traveling – just lay back and enjoy!

Literally, nothing beats an all-inclusive package! So I know that you have been producing parties and DJing since the 80s. What drew you to nightlife? And what keeps you involved with it?

Since a young age, I was very interested in clubbing. You could always find me near the DJ booth. I really like the atmosphere of nightlife – the excitement of entering a club, wondering who I will meet, and discovering new music.  As an organizer, it is also very important to stay in touch with the (young) crowds and therefore I try to attend other parties as much as possible.

How do you choose the talent to perform at Velvet Ibiza?

Being an ex-DJ myself, the choice of good DJs is one of my top priorities. I also only select DJs I’ve heard playing live. My criteria is to present a whole range of music styles from lounge music to hip hop, house, etc, and to have DJs from all over Europe and the US.

Variety is the spice of life! What can attendees expect from this year’s event?

This year we focused on themed parties and paid extra attention to the solo travelers with events like speed dating and the message party! Our aim really is to give every attendee the time of their life.

There will be an even wider range of music this year going from house and hip hop to 60s and we’re planning to throw a Disco Fever party with sets from the ’70s and ’80s.

(Photo Credit: Velvet Ibiza)

You can’t go wrong with Disco at a queer event, but besides that, what musical artists are you currently listening to? And which ones have inspired your love for dance music?

I am a big fan of Glitterbox Radioshow Podcast on Defected House, it keeps me up to date with the latest records. I’m also listening to some tunes from the ’80s: Chic’s “I Want Your Love” and Womack & Womack’s “Teardrops”, timeless sounds!!!

Classics for sure! Switching gears a bit, how would you say life for queer women has evolved in Belgium since the 80s?

A  lot has changed since then.  Like everywhere in the world, lesbian bars have gradually disappeared and been replaced by monthly events, but on the other hand, Belgium was the second country to allow gay marriage – already 20 years ago! Not so bad!

(Photo Credit: Velvet Ibiza)

Yes, the disappearance of spaces for queer women is something we are unfortunately seeing a lot of, which is why we are so grateful for events like Velvet Ibiza. Do you have any plans for further expansion? Perhaps more parties?

In the near future, I want to throw a high-level event for ladies on a smaller scale – a high-end event at a top location, very unique & very exclusive, in Ibiza. That’s all I can say for now, just follow our social media!

We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us! Thanks again for speaking with us Carine and have a blast at Velvet Ibiza!!

For more information and to book your tickets go to www.velvetibiza.es
Stay up to date with all the latest happenings at Velvet Ibiza on FacebookInstagram, and  YouTube.

John Hernandez

John A. Hernandez is a staff writer for Queer Forty with a focus on entertainment. He is also a writer for Vacationer Magazine and a contributor to Bear World Magazine and Gayming Magazine. He has a special love for all things horror and Halloween. He currently resides with his husband in New York City.

John Hernandez has 135 posts and counting. See all posts by John Hernandez

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