The number of nightclubs in the UK has halved in the past decade according to industry figures. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) revealed to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat that the number of clubs open in the UK in 2005 was 3,144, vs just 1,733 in 2015.
The exact reasons for the drop are unclear. Lohan Presencer, boss of iconic clubbing brand Ministry Of Sound (pictured), said that “later pub opening hours, the smoking ban, student tuition fees, and the squeeze that a lot people are under financially since the recession” could be to blame. The ALMR point the finger at restrictive planning laws and increased taxes on the industry, which could be having a knock-on effect despite the boom in the popularity of dance music and the nightlife sector as a whole proving itself to be strong contributor to the UK economy.
Kate Nicholls, the CEO of the AMLR told The Telegraph “our historic music venues and thriving nightclubs are increasingly finding themselves at risk of closure because of the widespread development of neighbourhoods, planning restrictions, or voracious local authorities.” Other examples of clubs feeling the pressure despite healthy attendance include Liverpool based Cream, who are set to lose their Nation home at the end of 2015 after nearly 25 years at the site, due to a redevelopment of the area–though assurances have been given that the club will be provided a custom-made venue as part of the project.
The festival scene continues to stay strong in terms of ticket sales, but the loss of leading dance festivals such as Global Gathering, left without a home when their Warwickshire site was earmarked for a housing development, shows that the problems aren’t just restricted to nightclubs.
Drum & bass act Rudimental shed some positive light on the situation, telling Newsbeat that “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.”