In the years between 2005-2016 the numbers of night clubs in the UK almost halved with London alone seeing a decrease of one-third[1], many of them closing due to issues brought around by oppressive licensing and planning policies that made it impossible for these legitimate independent businesses to thrive. In their place we have seen the rise of corporate run music festivals and 'superclubs' such as Printworks and Warehouse Project that capitalise on this culture and has in turn created a competitive and money driven industry[2] off the oppressed and marginalised communities that once sought refuge in these spaces.

 

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[1] Kries, M., Eisenbrand, J., Rossi, C. and Thietz, K. (2018). Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960 - Today. Weil am Rhein: Vitra Design Museum, p.22.

[2] Resident Advisor (2019). IMS Panel: Where is Club Culture Headed?. [podcast] RA Exchange. Available at: <https://www.residentadvisor.net/podcast-episode.aspx?exchange=466>

Part of the topic of conversation for this panel discussion was the ever-pressing issue of the rise in DJ fees. Where large venues such as Printworks may be able to afford to pay DJ’s thousands of pounds for a set, a small venue with capacity of 500 with £20 a head entrance fee for example are simply unable to match the same fee in which a superclub could. This money driven attitude from DJ’s and their agents leads to a crushing reality for small independent music venues to sustain revenue and in turn actively supresses counterculture and its ability to survive.