Venue closures, gentrification and extortionate rent prices are posing a threat to clubbing. But are millennials to busy watching Netflix to care?
The number of nightclubs in the UK has halved over the last 15 years, that’s according to recent figures from The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR); there are currently 1,733 clubs in the UK compared to 3,144 in 2005.
Party-pooper Boris Johnson has been the architect of clubbing-culture’s demise; recent events show that the capital’s nightclubs are being wiped out with hiking rent prices and property development.
A stunning 56% of all nightclubs that have closed in the UK have been in London, according to ALMR, despite local action and campaigning. Legendary venues such as Madame JoJos and The Astoria – both in Soho – have shut their door to make way for property and transport development.
Stamping out clubbing venues could minimise the city’s musical variety and make it harder for revellers to find new music. DJ Shane Mitchell runs Clouded underground techno events and has DJ’d up and down London, he says, “I think that nightlife in London right now is hitting a hard spot. The supply of venues to hire has become definitely inelastic, making the prices for promoters extortionate.
“As a result, the market is definitely less competitive, meaning that it’s very hard for new artist to break through unless they have a lot of capital investment.”
That may sound like doom and gloom but apparently generation Y can’t be bothered to have face-to-face interaction, let alone busy themselves with London’s depleting night-life.
According to a recent report from online researchers Y Pulse, 52% of 20-somethings would rather ‘Netflix and Chill’ than go out partying. Could apps like Tinder and Facebook be as detrimental to nightlife as gentrification?
Manager of East London’s Schpunk club, Matt Regan says, “You don’t need to go out anymore to have a laugh with a large group of friends. These days you can literally have a good laugh with your mates on your smartphone or laptop.
“Just like socialising happens more online these days, you don’t need to go out anymore to flirt. With so many dating apps and ways of meeting from the comfort of your own home on social media, the need to go out to ‘pull’ just isn’t there anymore.”
Even if you’re not a social hermit and actually do want to go on a big night out – you may not have the money to. Clubbing is costly business and recent law changes are putting off a lot of young people. Shannon Harvey, a psychology student living in London, says “My student loan barely covers my rent so I don’t get to have many big nights out though I do occasionally. House parties are way cheaper, they go on until morning and you don’t have the issue of the smoking ban.”
Yet, anyone who’s ever walked along Shoreditch High Street on a Saturday night will know that clubbing hasn’t completely died out. Do not despair, somewhere in London there’s a group of students on their way to Your Mum’s House – off their tits on ketamine and keeping the dream alive.