It’s not just you, the party really is over. In 2005, the UK had 3,144 clubs where you could throw yourself around, potentially into the arms of your future ‘one’, to a soundtrack of loud music while getting wasted. But as of last year there were only 1,733.
In terms of London’s clubs, or rather lack thereof…remember Madame JoJos in Soho? Home of indie night White Heat? Gone. Turnmills, the first venue in the UK to get a 24-hour dance licence and as a result original home of the ‘straight thru cru’, closed it’s doors in 2008 after first opening them in 1990. Herbal, once host to Grooverider and Metalheadz, closed in 2009 and is now a youth hostel. The Astoria on Tottenham Court Road? Lost to Crossrail. LGBT venue The Joiner’s Arms is no more. Legendary Plastic People, also gone. This list goes on.
In two of Europe’s most famed party destinations things are also changing. Between 2001 and 2011 the number of discotheken in the Netherlands fell by 38%. And in Berlin, Europe’s clubbing capital, while the number of venues remains stable, several long-established hot spots have closed their doors. However, Berlin’s government do at least support the city’s music scene with a 1.5 million Euro annual fund ensuring that there are enough clubnachts for everyone.
In Britain not only were there fewer clubs in 2015 than in 2005, according to the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, revenues were also down to £1.2 billion from £1.5 billion.
So what’s going on? The Economist cites the rise of outdoor festivals, the fact that young people today drink less and take fewer drugs and gentrification as reasons for the closure of clubs and the decline of dancing.
Could other reasons include the fact that we now use dating apps to meet people instead of dark dance room corners? The fact that we’re all obsessed with ‘clean’ living? The fact that most of us are stuck in rented accommodation and have very little disposable income? Or could it be that we’re all too busy sitting in front of a screen satisfying our ‘Netfilx and Chill’ desires?
Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see what happens to youth culture as a result of this. Music isn’t going anywhere so if clubbing as we know really it is over, what will spring up in its place?
Change is what drives things forward. It's not all bad; mainstream commercial clubbing might be on the decline but in the last few years online innovators like BoilerRoom and NTS have paved the way for a new kind of partying: hearing DJs you want to hear from all around the world online.
However, that’s not to say we don’t need real life venues. And, particularly, ones which cater to people of all sexualities, genders and musical persuasions.
In the past, the most significant and exciting music has always come out of small scale, trail blazing venues, whether that’s a bar in a part of town people have never been to before or someone putting on a band they think other people need to hear in a disused pub that they’re living in. It's hard to believe that this really could spell the end for going out and listening to music.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.