London's club scene? We’re all alright, thanks.

Posted By: The Wild Times

The ever-evolving landscape of electronic music will always be a contentious subject. Generational experiences, memories and comparisons will differ from one person to another no matter what age, background or musical preference. Discussions on the controversial topic of electronic nightlife in the UK (more specifically – London), elicit a wide range of opinions from the doomed to the dazzling…

Looking around at the current wave of London promoters, international guests, local DJ's/Live acts, and the numerous venues swinging open their doors to host parties week in week out, solid club nights are in abundance. There is certainly no sign of the grim reaper clearing the floors at the venues/parties we have been dancing at. Sure, politics and policies change, challenges arise and new legislation comes into force. Venue owners are forever working their socks off to ensure that their dance-floors continue to throb.

Heading out to parties in the Capital 15-20 years ago, security could be heavy handed, where searches would amount to today’s mandate on sexual harassment. And you could spend more time outside in the queue than actually on the dance-floor – this was accepted.

Times change. When smoking was outlawed in public spaces, we remember the dynamics within clubs when this came into force (we were running events at numerous venues during this period). Venues and promoters were challenged to provide suitable areas to accommodate the new surge of smokers outside whilst working with the authorities to keep noise levels satisfactory, and to ensure that the necessary health and safety requirements were met. The usual doom and gloom was forecast but from what we can see (we continue to run events), party’s in 2015 continue to boom and the months ahead look amazing…

We are experiencing a moment when electronic / dance music has been thrust into the limelight and has become part of the fabric of popular culture, many moons away from the counter culture qualities of its earliest incarnation. The ubiquity that dance music culture now has in the fabric of society, coupled with the boom state of London, brings inevitable change to the club scene as with all evolving industries. Change is the constant and it’s great to see promoters and venues continuing to ride the wave, embracing this exciting and progressive arena. Gentrification, licensing and commercialization are consequences of such growth and club culture is adapting accordingly.

The rigorous process of ensuring venues keep / get granted a license has impacted on venues whether they are purpose built or multifunctional spaces. The same very unfortunate experience of losing a venue at the final moment has always been a risk in promoting events now as it was 15+ years ago. The primary difference today is the gargantuan costs involved (can surmount to a house deposit albeit not in London!), so when it goes wrong it can be crippling.

There are many things that are far superior in today’s venues - Sound, for one. Whether the systems are installs or permanent set ups, the companies and products that are currently available are incredible – several echelons higher than some of the systems that we used to lose our minds too 'back in the day'…

We have witnessed polar opposites of what can happen on the dance-floor; the most magical moments (in abundance) and the utterly terrible (and very rare) tragedy of death. But the safety at today’s venues is light years ahead of what used to be ‘standard protocol’. We are in much safer hands.

And as for what appears to be underground, commercial or selling out, it is simply a matter of individual perception; a debate that has always existed and will continue to be toiled over until everyone finally gets bored of it. Does it really matter? Surely it’s more about intention; for the music, love or money? Then again does this really matter either? People have the free choice to move their bodies in intimate venues or full-blown high-production raves. Simply go to what you want and don’t worry how or where others like to shake their booty…

So before veering even further off topic – London nightlife? It’s looking pretty good from where we are standing. Yes, venues close down, but new spaces open or become available. Venues and promoters continue to raise their game seeking and showcasing a plethora of homegrown and international talent, continually devising new and creative concepts to experience and represent this wonderful music. (Personally we are quite contented with a small darkened room or sprawling outside terrace with the sun shining – both of which we can always find in London).

London venues you love, others may loath and vice a versa. That’s the way things roll. So we doff our hats to your favourite places and your not so favourite spaces (that will be someone else’s favourite places): Fabric, Village Underground, Autumn Street (Bloc), Oval Space, Studio Spaces E1, Studio Spaces E2, Corsica Studios, Dance Tunnel, 512, Shapes, The Laundry, egg LDN, Basing House, XOYO, Electric, Number 90, Hoxton Gallery, Bussey Building, Canavan's Peckham Pool Club, Red Gallery, Oslo Hackney, Tobacco Dock, Plan B, Fire, Studio 338, Crucifix Lane, Airspace, The Yard, 93 Feet East, Koko, Union Chapel, Café OTO, Bar A Bar, Loose Cannon, St John at Hackney, MOS, Hoxton Basement, The Steelyard and a whole lot more – we salute you, all the promoters who take the risk, and to all the party people in the house.

Yes there will be future changes. Yes there will be many unseen obstacles - life is full of such instances. “Adapt. Adjust. Accommodate.” (S Sivananda)

Enjoy what’s presently here and Dance. Dance. Dance - London love x

words: MAUD

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