MusicNewsday

Does London need another giant superclub?

3 Mins read

As a huge new club opens in north London, DJs and clubbers worry that the city’s music scene is losing its diversity.

Drumsheds has opened its rusted doors at last and welcomes 15,000 ravers into a 608,000 square foot warehouse space in North London, formerly an IKEA.

Events at the club, which are run by the team behind East London’s legendary Printworks, are scheduled to be held every Saturday with international electronic DJs bringing their unique flare.

The first show was brought to life on Saturday, October 7 by ‘La Discoteque’ — and so far the space has been a success. The venue has already welcomed industry names such as Gorgon City, Hot Chip and Basement Jaxx.

Screenshot taken of a post from Drumsheds instagram account. It is a promotional poster which is promoting La Discotheque opening night. Blue/black visuals with a white text over the top.
La Discothéque opening promotional post [Instagram @Drumsheds]

For a general admission ticket, prices are hovering around the £50 mark. With a bar over 350 metres long and food stalls serving up all types of fast food, you would not be wrong in mistaking the outdoor area for a festival.

Venues like Drumsheds tap into the grassroots of electronic music and provide large platforms for established artists to showcase their talent.

Although the warehouse love reigns supreme, there is a growing feeling that rave culture we know and love is being poached and re-introduced to large, modernised venues with a stark hike in the entry fee, leaving smaller venues out in the cold.

“It’s not that we need more super clubs in London, we need to pay more attention to the independent clubs we already have,” says A1FIE, a southwest Basshouse DJ.

“For me, music means pure, unfiltered joy, connection and unity. I have felt the most connection to other people in an environment with music and I think this is near impossible in large, commercial venues.”

In the early 1990’s, the Throbbing Gristle founder and provocateur Genesis P-Orridge coined the term ‘rave parties’ within the media through a television interview.

London is now home to over 180 independent rave venues and is considered a melting pot for musical diversity, talent and culture.

But as the cost of living and energy prices rise exponentially, club owners and ravers are forced to cut back and turn down the music.

Sadiq Kahn has published research identifying heavy losses of music venues within London and has flagged these places as “culture at risk.”

“Our aim is to create experiences that stick with people on an emotional level”

Simeon Aldred, Founder of BroadwickLive

MVT CEO Mark Davyd has spoken out in a report highlighting that the nightlife sector has a scarily low profit margin of 0.2%, which is a catalyst to the closure of many clubs.

“It’s remarkable that we have to publish a report before anybody noticed that. We should have known that all along — how important these venues are to communities and to our friends in the music industry,” Davyd says.

Brick Lane’s renowned Werkhaus closed for good in September 2023. This followed a string of club closures in London as The Cause and India Club have permanently shut and Space 289 announced their closure due to a “rent increase.”

An NTIA report given exclusively to the BBC, revealed that bills of smaller venues have risen by an average of over £3,800 while medium-sized businesses face an increase of over £9,600.

It’s not just rent prices that are posing a risk to nightlife, late night venues are hit again as Rishi Sunak delivered a double blow in the form of a 3% alcohol tax hike in of August 2023.

Alfie DJing at a private venue in Camden
A1FIE DJing at a private venue in Camden [Alfie Greenham]

Emerging artists and talent are left fighting for smaller stages as casual event opportunities become less frequent and underfunded.

This is felt throughout the city as A1FIE explains: “There is no cheap, affordable space left in the city for creative people to utilise.”

Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill has also spoken out and he blames the Government for “ripping the heart out of nightlife.”

Drumsheds is an amalgamation of the smaller venues which have turned off the lights, but Broadwick Live certainly has a large task on its hands if it is to deliver what the city needs right now.


Featured image by @Tommyccfcregan on X.

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