UK nightclubs are closing faster than ever before, despite dance music being at an all-time high in terms of popularity. We've heard—and recoiled in horror at—the news that Hackney Council was considering a curfew on nightclubs and late-night venues, but it appears the anti-club sentiment in the East End is just part of a wider malaise. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents venues and conducted the study, says there were 3,144 clubs in 2005 compared to 1,733 today.
A government spokesperson told BBC Newsbeat: "We know the important contribution the sector makes to our economy and the nation's cultural landscape. The current regulations strike a fair balance between making sure we have music entertainment for the public and preventing crime and disorder, whilst keeping the public safe." Though many are skeptical to say the least.
The trend isn't blamed solely on over-zealous local authorities; in fact, many consumers and figures in the industry attribute the decline to changing attitudes towards going out. According to an interview the BBC conducted, most people will go to a pub or bar on a Friday night, avoid the increasingly hefty entry fees and save up for a festival or two in the summer.
However, many have been quick to raise concerns over the effect the closures will have on the culture. As Steve Aoki points out, "Clubs are incredibly important. This is where the culture has thrived and grown. Without those clubs there wouldn't be those new sounds and new sub genres," though in the same piece Rudimental's Amir pointed out that club culture ultimately "goes in cycles."
But it's not all doom and gloom: Hugo Monypenny, who runs Selective Hearing (a club night in Manchester and Leeds) was quick to point out that although clubs are closing faster than ever, the fact that club culture is still enormous has meant that people are just getting more inventive with their partying. Nowadays, you're just as likely to find a rave or club night in a furniture warehouse or disused garage as you are a licensed venue: "The joy of it is going to a space that you would never expect to go and dance in. The big clubs aren't as much fun for me because they are so regimented and there are so many rules. People are being drawn away from the big events because there is no intimacy there."