In major international news: one of London’s greatest and most iconic nightclubs, Fabric, just officially lost its license and will be forced to close permanently. The club was initially closed on August 12, due to pending investigation into the drug related deaths of two teenagers who overdosed in the club this summer.
Islington council’s licensing committee formally revoked Fabric’s licence after a long and arduous 6 hour meeting at 1 am last night. “There is a culture of drugs at Fabric which management cannot control,” stated Flora Williamson, sub-committee chair of Licensing. The police concluded that they didn’t have confidence that change will happen if Fabric’s license wasn’t revoked. Documents from the Metropolitan Police, released to the licensing committee, described the club as a “safe haven” for people to take drugs, and added “The failings of the management have led to an environment where illegal drug taking has become acceptable. If the premises have been permitted to remain open and operating in its current form, then there is a strong possibility that further drug related deaths will occur”.
In total, there have seen six drug related deaths at the club since it opened in 1999. More than two full Glastonbury festivals worth of people (the largest festival in the world, hosting 175,000 people per year) come to Fabric to dance each year…you do the math.
The community at large has been devastated by the Licensing committee’s controversial decision. Countless DJs spoke out about their favorite memories at the club in an attempt to change the course of events.
For 15 years i was priviliged to be part of greatest underground club in the world ,,i am lost for words right now ,,#FabricReview
— dj hype (@DJHYPE_PLAYAZ) September 7, 2016
Thoughts go out to all the family at @fabriclondon this morning..Closure of Fabric adds to 2016 being one of the worst years I can remember
— Oliver Jones (@I_Skream) September 7, 2016
— mistajam (@mistajam) September 7, 2016
Alex Proud, owner of rival nightclub Proud Camden, called the decision “dangerous and disastrous for London nightlife” and went on to say “This is a disaster for London’s clubbing scene and our nightlife. It hangs a great big closed sign to the world and makes London look horribly insular today. Fabric was a gold standard in how well-run it was.”
Producers and fans have been banning together over the last 9 weeks to vehemently protest the closing of this influential nightclub. Even the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, publicly urged enforcement to find other ways of protecting patrons and clubs rather than shutting down the venues themselves.
Khan went on to say “As a result of this decision, thousands of people who enjoyed going to Fabric as an essential part of London’s nightlife will lose out. The issues faced by Fabric point to a wider problem of how we protect London’s night-time economy, while ensuring it is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Over the past eight years, London has lost 50% of its nightclubs and 40% of its live music venues. This decline must stop if London is to retain its status as a 24-hour city with a world-class nightlife.”
The owners of Fabric, who fought tirelessly into the night to keep their club open, made a statement that they were “disappointed” (to put it gently) with this decision. “This is an especially sad day for those who have supported us, particularly the 250 staff who will now lose their jobs. Closing fabric is not the answer to the drug-related problems clubs like ours are working to prevent, and sets a troubling precedent for the future of London’s night time economy”.
There is much anxiety in London currently surrounding the gentrification the city is undergoing, and how the culture of London’s nightlife may be being forced underground. Some believe Fabric’s going under to be linked with this governmental effort to revamp certain areas of the city, though currently this theory would be considered a conspiracy. However, with the Mayor of London confirming that more than half of London’s clubs have been shut down over the last 8 years, it is certainly an extremely disturbing trend.
London's most famous club closed. Await the luxury flats. This city is being gutted for the super rich. https://t.co/dvAzv4bMYb
— Nick Dearden (@nickdearden75) September 7, 2016
To comment on this conspiracy Irvine Welsh, famed novelist of Trainspotting and Ecstacy which chronicled the drug and clubbing scenes of the UK in the 1990’s, said the closure of Fabric was the “beginning of the end of our cities as cultural centers, and indeed as entertainment centers in the traditional sense”. He states that, in his extensive experience, Fabric was the “least druggy club in London” and “It’s all about property development. In the epoch of neoliberalism and corporate elites, entertainment is being privatized, and will increasingly take place with gated communities, owned and rented out by largely foreign investors.”
The public put forth tremendous effort in offering alternatives to closing Fabric. Possible new security protocols had been suggested throughout the meeting, including ideas such as banning higher BPM nights (theorizing that faster, more aggressive music was related to more overdose deaths). Drug charities also warned that closing Fabric would actually increase risk to clubbers by moving them into unregulated environments. Despite all this, and the existence of a 150,000 signature-strong petition urging those in power to find a different solution (which was only mentioned once, about 4 seconds of a 6 hour long meeting)…the club is still being shut down, because enforcement can’t seem to figure out a better way to prevent drug related deaths than banning and shutting down venues and events.
So 150,000 voices can't even be heard. We had no chance. #fabricreview
— Friction (@friction) September 7, 2016
The club does have a chance to appeal the council’s decision, though it is not clear yet if they will choose to do so. They have 21 days to lodge an appeal at a magistrate’s court.