Is The London Club Scene Officially On Its Way Out?


With Fabric closing, is this the end of an era?

The property crisis in London is one that is constantly shifting in favour of the high-end residential housing developers and one aspect that has been suffering as a result of this, among other reasons, is the London clubbing scene.

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While many DJs, music artists and eager London clubbers have tried to stay positive in the hope that iconic venues will remain a part of the city’s culture, with the recent indefinite closure of Fabric, we are beginning to lose hope.

Fabric isn’t just a nightclub – it’s an absolute institution. Most wreckhead techno/electro/dubstep/drum’n’bass lovers will have had their first pilled-up experience in this venue. Most DJs either pride themselves or long to play here. The 2,500 capacity club has been voted time and time again the best in the world. For nearly 20 years the franchise has pumped out some of the best compilation albums from critically acclaimed artists ranging from Carl Craig and Ricardo Villalobos to Rob da Bank and DJ Hype to name a few, which are sold from vending machines dotted around the club.

But despite most hopefuls vowing that there is no possible way that we would see the closure of this organisation, sadly in the last week, we have seen the doors close indefinitely following the deaths of two 18-year-old kids, suspected to be due to drug overdoses. Although there was a petition aimed at London mayor Sadiq Khan to support Fabric with its upcoming licensing review, this has already been closed. This comes seven months after the Farringdon nightclub won a legal battle with Islington Council, which had tried to impose strict licensing conditions on the venue. All-in-all, it’s not sounding too positive.

And it’s not just the closure of Fabric that is the problem – the entire scene has been suffering for years. In fact, nearly half of the UK’s clubs have called it a day in the last decade. In London alone there’s been Village Underground, Shapes, Dance Tunnel, The End and Turnmills. While many of these places will live forever in our memories as places that played host to some of the best musical and social events of our late teens/early twenties, it’s worrying to see them picked off one-by-one due to stricter council conditions and noise complaints. Is it too pessimistic to say that the London clubbing scene is officially on its way out?

London nightclub

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It would seem that way, yes. As said, so many of London’s much-loved institutions that we had faith in are saying goodbye to the crowds. Having said that, there is some light at the end of the laser-lit tunnel. While it might be a challenging time for promoters, venue owners and clubbers alike, London’s nightlife can never truly die. It is a part of the city and of its culture. How can something that is so ingrained ever truly go away? Yes, people are battling, not just with regards to clubs, but also housing. There is a war between the native Londoners and low-earners to the high-end property developers and the mega-rich as well as the councils that run the boroughs. But, as long as there are regular people with a love for music and a love for getting on it (and in the city, there always will be) then the clubbing scene will go on.

Plus we’ve got a key member on our side – Sadiq Khan. Similar to the mayor of Detroit Mike Duggan, who quite literally set aside a ‘Techno Week’ where residents were urged to party, our own capital leader has vowed to protect the London scene, at least to some extent.

In comments made to Dazed, he said:

I don’t want young and creative Londoners abandoning our city to head to Amsterdam, to Berlin, to Prague where clubs are supported and allowed to flourish.

I want them to be able to celebrate what they love in the city that they love, rather than punish them or force their activities underground or abroad.

Too many bars and clubs have been forced to close because they can’t afford to soundproof their premises once new residential developments have been built nearby.

Sadiq Khan

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Khan added that he supports the agent of change principle where the cost of soundproofing is down to the developers rather that the venues and the legislation of this came into effect several months ago. In addition, he is in favour of making London a 24-hour-city and this will be seriously boosted by the upcoming all night tubes. He finished by saying:

We can save London’s iconic club scene, which draws thousands of visitors to the capital, generates jobs and helps ensure our city remains prosperous, vibrant and dynamic.

So as said, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a key player on our side and some serious movements and new legislation to ensure that we don’t continue to see the diminishment of the much-loved London nightlife. And you never know, we might once again see Fabric on the cards in the upcoming months.

So chin up, stay positive and keep raving you little wreckheads.


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