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Nearly half of UK's nightclubs have closed in ten years

Nearly half of UK's nightclubs have closed in ten years
Adam Savage

General

10 August 2015: By Adam Savage

Alarming figures revealed by trade body ALMR show scale of decline in country's clubbing culture.

Almost half of the UK's nightclubs have had to shut their doors in the last ten years, figures from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) obtained by the BBC have revealed.

According to the ALMR, a trade body that represents venues, there were 3,144 clubs nationwide back in 2005, but the number is now just 1,733, and that this will have a negative impact on the country "culturally, socially and economically."

Responding to the news, Lohan Presencer, CEO of Ministry of Sound – which itself had to come through a period of uncertainty in 2013 when a property developer was given permission to build right on the doorstep of the iconic London club – believes people are simply starting to look for something different on their night out.

"I don't think the number of people going clubbing at the weekend is any different to where it was 20 years ago, but I do think they are going to different places," he told BBC's Newsbeat.

"With the advent of later pub opening hours, the smoking ban, student tuition fees and the squeeze that a lot people are under financially since the recession, I think people are finding different ways and different places to go out."

And although clubs are declining at an alarming rate, the festival scene has become increasingly important for DJs, but some feel it's little more than a phase and we could see a rise in club culture again further down the line.

"It kind of goes in cycles," commented Amir, producer and DJ in the London drum and bass group Rudimental. "I mean there was a hell of a lot of clubs out there and a lot of DJs – and now there are DJs on the main stage at festivals. "They're essentially still playing house music so it just shifts in cycles and it will go back into the club."

But even if this does turn out to be true, there is still concern for the effect the downturn is having on youth employment. The ALMR says that in 2014 the venues it represents generated 37,000 new jobs with over 80% of those going to 18-24-year-olds.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls is less optimistic than Amir, stating that "they are gone for good and we're never going to get them them back," and that planning and licensing rules are the reasons for many of the closures.

Picture: Glasgow's The Arches, which went into adminsitration in June after 25 years in business after losing its late license.