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#savenightclubs urges UK PM to prevent “tsunami” of losses

New nationwide coalition #savenightclubs has published an open letter to UK prime minister Boris Johnson urging him to act now or “permanently lose the country’s nightclub industry and the enormous economic contribution it makes to the UK”.

The letter emphasises that nightclubs in the UK have been shuttered for eight months now and 70% of people working in nightclubs are self employed and therefore were not eligible for the furlough scheme.

The call for support follows the coalition’s recent survey of 101 nightclub owners and managers which revealed that 58% of nightclubs across the nation will go out of business within a month, four in five (81%) nightclubs will be shut by Christmas, and 10% expect their business to survive longer than four months.

Now, the initiative is calling on the government to provide a financial survival package beyond the Culture Recovery Fund, introduce protection from eviction for nightclubs during and immediately after the crisis, and extend business rate relief to April 2022.

The letter, which you can read in full below, has been backed by the Night Time Industries Association and myriad clubs across the UK including Infernos in Clapham, The Box in Soho, Cirque Manchester and Bamboo Glasgow.

 


Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you as a group of over one hundred nightclub owners, managers and workers whose businesses have now been closed for exactly eight months this Friday. We urge the government to act now or permanently lose the country’s nightclub industry and the enormous economic contribution it makes to the UK.

We are writing this letter on behalf of the nightclub industry, a sector who employs circa 45,000 people – 72% of whom are under 25 years old. We are a proud part of British culture and crucial to the UK economy, generating £3bn a year in income. The nightclub industry proudly employs a huge spectrum of job roles including bartenders, DJs, performers, security, cleaners and more. Behind these stats are thousands of individual stories of hardship from people who feel like they have been forgotten.

“We urge the gov to prevent a devastating tsunami of job losses and a wipeout of future economic contributions”

Over the last 8 months, the industry has faced Lockdown 1, household and tiered restrictions and an impossible curfew of 10 pm. Now, in the midst of a second national lockdown and the announcement of the furlough scheme extension until March 2021, this is likely to result in our venues closing for an entire year. Unlike hospitality and gyms who were able to trade over the summer months, we have not been able to open at all resulting in zero revenue since March.

Venues are facing mounting rent bills, ongoing running costs and the prospect of business rates in April 2021. We urge the government to prevent a devastating tsunami of job losses, a wipeout of future economic contributions and further ruin to towns and cities across the UK which are already on their knees.

So far:

Despite the government’s on-going support to sectors such as hospitality and gyms – nightclubs are the forgotten industry. Over 70% of people working in nightclubs are self employed and therefore were not eligible for the furlough scheme. No alternative financial support package has been proposed for the nightclub industry.

Stats:

Last month, #SaveNightclubs carried out a survey revealing that four in five nightclubs (81%) will be shut by Christmas unless the government urgently intervenes.

The #SaveNightclubs campaign calls on the government to:

Provide a financial survival package beyond the Recovery Fund, helping the sector weather Covid’s impact and assist in future reopening.
Introduce protection from eviction for nightclubs during and immediately after the crisis.
Extend business rate relief to April 2022, enabling nightclubs to get back on their feet in 2021.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this letter.

Respectfully yours,
Vincenzo Sibilia and Asher Grant of #SaveNightclubs campaign group


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In France, nightclubs have been left for dead

Dear Minister of Culture,

It’s strange, but at the end of your speech on France 2 on 22 October, I had the unfortunate impression that I had not been concerned by your announcements.

Not being a great expert in political language, either, after your speech I naively asked my wife if she thought that “the world of the night” could be included in what you called “the performing arts sector”. After all, when I’m on stage, behind turntables, like an actor, musician or dancer, I feel as if I, too, am delivering live performances. But the dubious grin I got as an answer hasn’t really alleviated my fears. So, in order to get to the bottom of it, I immediately called a friend (from the profession) to ask him this simple question: “Reassure me, V, when our minister talks about the performing arts sector, she is talking about us too, all the same…?”

At first my question made him laugh (which didn’t bode well), before giving me his answer: “Ah, no, Laurent, from now on we are part of the dead performing arts sector… As Roselyne has said many times, ‘the world of the night’ doesn’t depend on her, but on the Ministry of the Interior.”

At the beginning I thought it was a little joke, but I quickly understood that behind his cynically funny answer, V wasn’t telling me lies.

It’s strange because as an Officer of L’Ordre Arts et Lettres, Knight of the Legion of Honour (awarded by a former minister of culture [Jack Lang], who has long since occupied the eminent place of the night in the vast space of culture and creation) and globetrotting DJ (like other artists in our country, I’ve been indirectly promoting France abroad for more than 30 years), I stupidly thought that things had changed, and that with my little turntable comrades we had won our status and our ticket to the “world of culture” with dignity. But I have to admit that apparently this is still not the case.

During your speech you spoke of the great suffering of the cinema and the world of the performing arts. Indeed, these sectors have been suffering terribly (like many others) since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. But fortunately for them, cinemas, theatres and some concert halls have nevertheless been able to reopen, despite a complicated health protocol.

When they were open, clubs were places bubbling with creation, imagination and sharing

Today we hear a lot of talk about the anger of restaurateurs and coffee shops due to the curfew. But here again, these businesses still, somehow or other, had some possibilities to reopen, even in an extremely constrained way.

On the other hand, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that, since the beginning of March, the “night and clubs” sector (of which I am an intrinsic part) has been completely at a standstill. For us the party is over, and has been for eight long months now.

As you know, like theatres, cinemas and concert halls, clubs (apart from the artists and DJs who perform there) employ the same diverse and varied staff as the rest of the cultural landscape, whether in the bar, the auditorium, the cashier, the cloakroom and the cleaning staff… Or the stage managers, security, intermittent workers, technical staff, sound engineers, lighting engineers, VJs, promoters, bookers, labels, graphic designers, printers, and not forgetting the indirect economic impact (suppliers, restaurants, hotels, transport, etc.). The list is long, but above all very similar to that of the performing arts.

On France 2, you announced figures relating to aid to the various sectors of film and performing arts – and once again, and for too many months now, the cultural space of the night has been totally ignored.

The flagrant lack of consideration, the ignorance emanating from your ministry towards the nightlife and club sector, is clearly interpreted by many of us as an incomprehensible form of contempt. For whether you like it or not, the clubs and places of this ‘night culture’ were (when they were open) places bubbling with creation, imagination and sharing.

I was, Madam Minister, sincerely attentive and benevolent when you took office, impatient but certain to see you represent us in the same way as other artists, and affirm the minimum consideration due to our sector. But I must admit that today, I am not sure if we can do so. But I confess that today – not knowing very well if I am a “dead performing artist”, an “Interior Ministry artist”, or “not an artist at all”, I am beginning to have serious doubts.

Kind regards,
Laurent Garnier

 


Laurent Garnier is a DJ, composer and producer, and founder of electronic music label F Communications. In 2016 he became a Knight (Chevalier) of the Légion d’honneur.

UK club owner to legally challenge gov’s 10pm curfew

Jeremy Joseph, the owner of London nightclub G-A-Y, has hired leading barristers from Kings Chambers and Simpson Miller Solicitors to challenge the government’s decision to implement a national curfew of 10 pm on hospitality premises.

The 10 pm curfew came into effect on 24 September and has reportedly caused a “catastrophic” drop in trade for businesses, believed to be solely due to the implementation of the new restrictions, according to a recent survey.

The pre-action protocol for judicial review saw the legal team, which is supported by G-A-Y’s longstanding legal and business affairs advisor and Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), write to the secretary of state, Matt Hancock at the department of health and social care with a formal challenge to the health protection which was amended to include the new curfew.

“The 10 pm curfew, which has now been in place for the last two weeks and has been detrimental to the hospitality sector including G-A-Y, makes absolutely no sense,” says Joseph.

“It does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them onto the street at the same time. They are going from being safe inside venues with staggered closing times to unsafe on overcrowded streets and overloaded public transport.

“This government has failed to show why the 10 pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation.

“This gov has failed to show why the curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation”

“It seems to direct the blame for this action on the sector, consistently treating the night-time economy as a scapegoat when, in fact, we have years of operational experience of keeping customers safe, and have spent substantial time and effort making sure our venues are Covid secure.

“Enough is Enough. Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson have to be made accountable and today we have instructed our legal team with the support of the NTIA to serve the government with a pre-action protocol for judicial review to challenge the decision to implement the national curfew of 10 pm on the hospitality sector.”

Dan Rosenberg, partner at Simpson Miller, said: “Our clients are well aware of the need to prioritise the health of the public and are supportive of any measures that help control the virus. Ultimately, their businesses in the long term depend upon the virus being brought under control.”

“However, while they have been supportive of other decisions made by government, including in relation to social distancing and other measures to protect the safety of their patrons, they fail to see the logic behind the arbitrary decision for all venues to close at 10 pm.”

The new restrictions affect businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants) – along with social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls.

Concert venues and theatres are permitted to stay open past the 10 pm curfew, though only if the performance has already started.

In addition, the new £10,000 fines for those who breach social distancing legislation will be extended from individuals to businesses.

 


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Italy and Spain reclose nightlife establishments

This article was updated on 19 August, replacing the wording “music venues” with “nightlife establishments”.

Nightlife establishments in Spain and Italy were forced to close with immediate effect over the weekend due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases in both countries.

Spain’s closure of discotheques, cocktail bars and dance halls will be in place for the foreseeable future and was confirmed last Friday (14 August) by health minister Salvador Illa.

“We cannot afford not to be disciplined,” Illa said. “We cannot ignore the virus circulating among us.”

Infections in Spain have risen in recent days following the end of Spain’s tough lockdown seven weeks ago, bringing its cumulative total to 342,813 – the highest number in Western Europe.

Spanish association, the Union of Professional Musicians, has released a statement denouncing the government’s decision and calling for protection for professionals who will be affected by it.

“The forced, massive and indiscriminate closure of nightlife ends all musical and artistic programming that took place in halls and venues under strict compliance with the regulations in force in terms of protection against Covid19,” the statement reads.

“The forced, massive and indiscriminate closure of nightlife ends all musical and artistic programming that took place in halls and venues”

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza announced similar shutdown measures for the country on 16 August via a press release on the government’s website.

“The activities of the dance are suspended, outdoors or indoors that take place in discos, dance halls and similar places intended for entertainment or taking place in beaches, establishments bathing establishments, equipped beaches, free beaches, common areas of the accommodation facilities or other places open to the public.” 

“We cannot nullify the sacrifices made in past months. Our priority must be that of opening schools in September, in full safety,” health minister Roberto Speranza said on Facebook.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus, and new cases in the past week were more than double those registered three weeks ago.

Spain’s first post-lockdown live music events took place from the 25 May, with outdoor events of up to 400 people and indoor concerts with a maximum capacity of 50 people permitted to resume in Spain.

Whereas Italy made its return to live on 15 June when concert halls, theatres and cinemas were allowed to reopen in Italy, with a maximum capacity of 200 people for indoor shows and 1,000 for performances held outdoors.

 


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US has most great clubs, but soon-to-close Space Ibiza still world’s no1

Space, the Ibiza superclub which will close after 25 years at the end of this summer, has for the fourth time been voted the world’s №1 nightclub.

The venue, which last won the award in 2014, beat Green Valley in Balneário Camboriú, Brazil (last year’s winner); Ibiza’s Amnesia and Pacha; and Octagon in Seoul, South Korea, to top DJ Mag’s 2016 Top 100 Clubs poll.

Over 450,000 votes were cast worldwide.

For the first time in the poll’s history, the US has the highest number of ranked clubs (16), although its stand-out performer, Washington’s Echostage, could only manage number 13.

China proves that ‘superpower’ is an apt term for their club scene as well as their economy

Ibiza, long renowned as one of the world’s greatest party islands, remained “as strong as ever” with five clubs in the top 15 alone, but the biggest success stories came from Asia and the Middle East, with clubs in Indonesia (Coliseum in Jakarta), Thailand (Illuzion) and the UAE (Dubai’s White Club) ranking for the first time and China “proving that ‘superpower’ is an apt term for their club scene as well as their economy”, says DJ Mag.

Brazil has seven clubs in the top 50, meaning the South American country’s position as “the most powerful emerging clubbing force in the world is safe for another year”, while Chinese Laundry in Sydney makes a return to the list after a year in which no Australian venues ranked in 2015.

The top 25 clubs are listed below, or view the view the full Top 100 at the DJ Mag website.

1) Space, Ibiza
2) Green Valley, Brazil
3) Amnesia, Ibiza
4) Pacha, Ibiza
5) Octagon, South Korea
6) Zouk, Singapore
7) Hakkasan, Las Vegas
8) Ushuia, Ibiza
9) Sirena, Brazil
10) BCM, Majorca
11) Papaya, Croatia
12) DC10, Ibiza
13) Echostage, Washington
14) Paradise Club, Mykonos
15) Fabric, London
16) Berghain/Panorama Bar, Berlin
17) Bootshaus, Cologne
18) Anzu, Brazil
19) Motion, Bristol
20) Noa Beach Club, Croatia
21) Warung, Brazil
22) Cavo Paradiso, Mykonos
23) Ministry of Sound, London
24) Guaba Beach Bar, Cyprus
25) Cocorico, Italy