Over 80% of nightclub businesses will not survive past February

Without urgent action 2021 will see the ‘extinction’ of nightclubs, warn the Night Time Industries Association. The failure so far of the UK Government to recognise the devastating impact of their actions on this sector is a tragedy for UK Culture.

Nightclubs and late night venues have been closed since March, with many suggesting they will not survive past the end of February.  The facts stand that Nightclubs/Late Night Venues have been given limited, and in many cases hugely disproportionate support outside of Furlough for the year they have been closed and suffered extreme financial hardship for over 11 months, with many seeing the end of February as the last stand for their future.As nightclubs and late night venues remain shut due to Government restrictions, Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), points to several factors that will cause many nightclubs and late night venues to go out of business in 2021, in the absence of Government support:

-A lack of appropriate financial support for the sector from the Government
-Proposed changes to planning laws that would allow landlords to convert venues into housing
-Inability for venues to access finance from financial institutions
-Lack of transparent exit strategy for re opening of the sector in line with the Government vaccination rollout

Recent survey of over 100 Nightclubs has shown some catastrophic results:-

88% of Nightclubs within the UK in Over 2 Months Rent Arrears with

50% Over 3 Months Rent Arrears moving into another Quarter at the start of January. 

81% of Nightclubs within the UK will not survive past February without further support from the Government.

86% of Nightclubs have made redundancies with over

65% making over

60% of the workforce redundant before the end of 2020.

43% of Nightclubs surveyed had not received any Grant support from Government 

Average Rateable Value for a Nightclubs & Late Venues £105,986
Says Michael Kill, CEO NTIA:
“We are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution, the Government has ignored the sector and failed to recognise its economic and cultural value.”“We are a world leader in electronic music and clubs – and have been a breeding ground for contemporary music talent, events and DJs for decades. Nightclubs have made a huge contribution to our culture sector and are renowned globally”

“Throughout this Pandemic and the restrictive measures levied against the sector, it is clear that these businesses are being systematically eradicated from society. As they continue to be excluded from the narrative of press announcements and planning, and through misconceptions and misguided understanding of the sector, from age old stereotyping the sector has been given little or no opportunity to re engage even with very clear ability to open spaces safely.”

“The current proposed changes in planning reform under permitted development rights is a huge threat to the sector as this has the potential to allow for the demolition and rebuilding of ‘vacant and redundant’ light industrial buildings as homes, given that over 88% of Nightclub businesses are over two quarters of rent in arrears, we are poised for a windfall of landlords at the end of March when the Forfeiture Moratoria comes to end, reclaiming their property and utilising this mechanism to convert many of our much loved cultural spaces and social environments into housing.”

“Banks and Financial services whether it be insurance or lending within the sector has been near on impossible, with confidence in the sector at a new low, coupled with ineligibility for much of the financial provision outside of furlough, the extensive period of closure without recognition of the proportionate financial support needed for these businesses is being perceived by the sector as negligence.”

“Consider this as an Industry, we have faced extreme adversity during this pandemic battling against financial hardship, increased regulatory constraints, business critical planning changes, financial services turning their backs on us and the continued refusal for the leaders of this country to mention Nightclubs or Late Night venues within the narrative – This is not negligence, this an intention to cull the sector advertently”

“These amazing creative spaces are the breeding grounds for nurturing talent, bringing communities together, building resilience and expanding the global phenomenon around UK club culture and electronic and live music”“ The Government needs to support Nightclubs and Late Night Venues with a robust financial package and which is tailored to support businesses that have been closed since March and a roadmap giving a clear indication of the timelines for re opening against the backdrop of the vaccination rollout, to give hope to many who are overburdened with debt”

Graeme Park, DJ/Musician, Manchester:
“It is highly frustrating and disappointing that the Government continue to ignore and dismiss the valuable contribution that nightclubs have on society and the economy. The cultural significance of this vibrant and varied sector has given employment to many for decades and now faces an uncertain future. We need the government to enter into meaningful discussion to help support a sector that is recognised around the world for its creativity before it’s too late.”

DJ Paulette, DJ / Musician, Manchester:
“Since March 2020, the arts and events sector (that contributes billions each year to the UK economy and has immeasurable value in terms of its societal / social and mental health benefits) has been unable to operate to any effective level and unable to offer anyone the right to stay, the right to play, the right to work or somewhere to go placing brutal pressure on the commercial landscape. Whilst rents and taxes continue to cripple businesses, this situation is reaching critical mass. A watertight rescue package is needed in order to support and restore the sector and to help it to return to world-beating form.”

Yousef, DJ. Circus events, Circus Recordings, Liverpool
“Circus has been the heartbeat for quality house & techno and broader electronic music in Liverpool and beyond for 18 years. I’s impact culturally can’t be under estimated. Consistently pushing the boundaries of how a line up and club experience should be, booking every major artist in electronic music, and developing many artists from their first gigs to a global presence, all with completely welcoming ethos.”“Circus’ impact to the local economy is significant.  Circus’ last event employs over 150 + people with over 3000 people attending. Locally with taxis, bars, hotels, clothes shops, restaurants all hugely benefitting from the surrounding eco system.”

“Furthermore much of the student population cites Circus as an additional reason to study in Liverpool. This has all completely stopped. The audience is ready to go, the artists are ready to go, and Circus is ready to open and welcome. For now after a generation of efforts we are living in a very precarious state of limbo.”

Damien Fell, The Arch, Brighton
“It’s been disappointing to see the lack of support for nightclubs in Brighton. We have a thriving city and scene with a large percentage of our customers traveling from surrounding areas, including London.  The city is a melting pot of culture and diversity, and we pride ourselves on communicating the values and ethos of the city through our promotion of the best new and upcoming talent, in addition to welcoming big international names.  Very soon we might not be able to do that anymore if support is not extended, while we are unable to reopen. We want to continue adding value to the city’s nightlife and community but time is running out.”

Laila Mckenzie, Freelance Promoter – Founder of Parallel Dimensions
“I have organised & promoted nightclub events for 18 years, not only is it my livelihood but it is my life. Venues are so important to our culture in the UK, nearly every festival organiser starts as a nightclub promoter. Nearly every big stage artist begins as a club artist.  Without venues so many other businesses will be lost, it’s just the night time economy that will suffer losing venues will have a domino effect. How will it be for the future generations without nightclubs to visit – life will be very bleak without them. We need to act now to save our venues.”

Hans Hess, Egg, London:
“The importance of Nightlife is a pivotal part for all generations and the culture of the UK but the government is not giving enough to support our venues, brands and promoters. People want to see the big DJs, Acts , the next to non lighting, sound systems, people go out to socialise with their friends and families, to dance, let off steam, celebrations that all leads to helping our society cope with everyday struggles, mental health +more.” “The nightlife industry isn’t just about booking the biggest artists though, it’s about putting on shows to bring joy and happiness to all countless generations.”

“That’s why we feel we need to pressure the government, because when things go back to normal there won’t be any brands, venues or promoters left to help us through the times to lift the spirits of our nation without support from the government . Because  one thing  for sure when we do open people won’t be able to wait to go and dance and socialise with friends and family.”“So Boris Johnson come on do the right thing and show your commitment to help the nightlife industry”

Drew Burke – Director Hangar, Birmingham
“Being the 4th biggest employer in the UK, the hospitality industry accounts for over 3 millions jobs, generating over £70billion of gross added directly to the UK economy with the umbrella effect providing trade for local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, salons, taxi services which many now sit redundant. This has effected not only business owners but staff who depend on their wages, breweries who provide beverages to venues, the customer who craves for social interaction and a release of work and home life duties, and so forth creating a huge domino effect what isn’t being fixed. Without venues and nightclubs, a huge social void looms causing mass redundancies, and a huge influx on mental health.”

Mike Grieve MD SubClub, Glasgow:
“The club and electronic music scene in Glasgow is amongst the most developed anywhere in Europe with a very well established network of promoters and clubs and a solid heritage going right back to the mid 80s. In the case of the Sub Club we have been consistently on the cutting edge since 1987. The cultural importance of that heritage to the city, and to Scotland more broadly, can hardly be overstated as all forms of arts and culture have been influenced over the decades, leading to a steady influx of young people from all round the world to study, work, live life and very often set up home in Glasgow. “

Ricky Magowan, Colours, Scotland:
“Nightclubs & Venues are the life source and breeding ground for talent and social engagement within Scotland, and have an important part to play in the cultural ecosystem across the UK”

Carl Bathgate, Ghostwriter Consultancy & Events:
“These venues are essential to the ecosystem that promotes access to arts and culture in their regions. In terms of live music these institutions enable artists to hone their craft by performing live, raising their profiles and engaging with their fan base. These venues continue to support artist development throughout their careers.”

“Many of these venues are under imminent threat of closure although they are under normal circumstances sustainable businesses that are culturally and economically significant to their region. The effect of these closures would be devastating on the community and will have wide ranging cultural and financial implications especially when considering the resulting effects on many other businesses reliant on a vibrant night time economy.”

Ty Temel, Owner Halo Nightclub, Bournemouth:
“Nightclubs have been largely sidelined in terms of support but without them, there will be huge economic, safety and social consequences.”

“Economy: Our sector is a huge contributor to the local economy. The Bournemouth hospitality sector produces an estimated 134 million pounds annual revenue to the local economy. That doesn’t include supply chain businesses such as transport, cleaning etc.” “Safety: The wider implications of a well-managed local night-time industry should not be underplayed. There are hundreds of security staff, CCTV operators, first responders etc that remain fairly invisible to you, but who work closely with the local emergency services to make sure we create controlled and safe environment for people to enjoy themselves..”

“Social: Humans need interaction. Meeting people, socialising, making friends. Being included and feeling a part of something prevents feelings of isolation and loneliness. It’s so important. Many people meet their significant other or best friends on a night out. Those connections need to be facilitated and fostered.”“Nightclubs have been partially if not fully closed since March 2020 with no real light at the end of the tunnel. Yet have not received any of the benefits other hospitality sectors have received such as ‘eat out to help out’ for restaurants.”

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About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.