'Clubbing just isn't cool': UK New Year's revelers turn to warehouse or house parties | Clubbing

WElsh dance duo Overmono have had as good a year as an underground rave act could hope for. There were sold-out headline shows, a chart-topping debut album, playing peak slots during busy festival seasons, and to top it all off, three shows over the New Year period. Where can you get one of the hottest tickets in the UK dance-music market right now? Australia.

It's not just overmono. Many big artists are rumored to be overseas this New Year. Every UK club has an end of year party. DJs play two or three shows a night.

„They might do an early set in Glasgow and then go to Edinburgh or Manchester,” says Scottish promoter Nick Sekets, 27. But this year, many smaller promoters are trying to avoid New Year's Eve, and some have closed clubs altogether. „If I believe we can draw a crowd and stay busy, I will 100% do it, but it's very difficult.”

Steven Prins, co-founder of Club Night He. she They., sit this out too. “People's habits of going out on New Year's Day have really changed. House parties are back, or people are looking for that big moment and want to be part of a wider experience. Clubs are affected. „

Honey Dijon plays a set from a bus inside Black9 as part of Glastonbury Festival's Live at Worthy Farm livestream in May 2021. Photo: David Levin/The Guardian

In fact, one of the most important end-of-year parties was a 24-hour livestream of pre-recorded rave-star DJs Becky Gou, Kaytranada and Honey Dijon — released in a packed Brooklyn warehouse. Apple Music. The live events sold out in advance were huge: 12,500 tickets at Wembley Arena for Defective Records, 10,000 tickets at the Warehouse Project in Manchester. The mid-level club night is dying out, and industry insiders say club culture is over.

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“Ticket prices have gone up and young people tend to save their money and invest in those big moments. It really eats away at the core audience of smaller capacity clubs,” says Finlay Johnson of the Electronic Music Association. He says many big UK acts have left the country for Australia, Dubai or Europe in search of year-end gigs. Others don't tease.

Sacha Lord, with short hair and T-shirt under a blazer, looks serious against a wall
'Your typical high street nightclub is dying': Sacha Lord, Manchester's nightlife economy consultant. Photo: Dave Bennett/Getty Images for British Pop Archive

This, says Sacha Lord, overnight economic consultant for Greater Manchester and co-founder of the Warehousing Project, is a sign of what's to come next year. „Your typical high-street nightclub, old carpets, are dying fast,” he says. “We will see several large chain closures over the next 12 months. I know there are problems. „

In the past year, 125 venues have been forced to close due to the cost of living crisis, and Kelly Wood, the Musicians' Union's national organizer for live performance, says the Malls, a well-loved venue in Bath, recently closed. A severe warning”.

Social media is an important factor. According to the night index report from By England, released this month, nearly a quarter of participants watch TikTok to help choose the night. “Big events are beautiful and a lot of fun on social media. Does this translate well as a moment when you see a room full of people in a warehouse setting and a clip of 50 people with a big production hanging out in a small club? People want to be a part of it with their friends. They want to experience the moment they saw online,” says William Aspton, head of A&R at XL Recordings and manager of Overmono.

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Festivals take tickets off the market for smaller clubs. Michael Gill, chief executive of the Nighttime Industries Association, says this year's festival season has been „fantastic”, and he sees these big events – which see crowds of artists overnight – as an extension of that. „They create a festival atmosphere in a place regardless of the weather,” he says.

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The option for big nights doesn't come cheap. At Wembley, first-release tickets started at £52; It was £104 for VIP packages. In the warehouse scheme, tickets were £45 or more. Transportation costs are also increasing Charge VAT On top of the fee. „If a £10 journey becomes £12, through taxation we are creating an environment that is financially inaccessible to people who are already under pressure,” says Gill.

What's more, nightclubs are struggling to attract a younger crowd, especially as a fifth of under-25s choose not to drink.

The pandemic also changed habits, and now young people prefer to stay in groups. „Instead of having club experiences, it was online, and people were used to livestreaming at home,” says DJ and host Paul Rose. Not a diving podcast. Even top up and coming artists like Yune Bingu say they don't enjoy the club atmosphere – Hunger magazine Labeling them as „rave haters”.

So is this the beginning of the end for nightclubs? Maybe so. „Clubbing isn't cool anymore,” Rose says. “These things don't last forever. Small clubs with good music are not the place to be.

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