Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, nightlife has been in rapid decline. With coronavirus deeming clubs unsafe and the implementation of social-distancing rules closing down bars — the industry has been in serious trouble. In December, the NTIA issued a warning that the pandemic had meant that over 75% of British nighttime businesses were facing permanent closure.
However, the plummeting of the nightlife ecosystem has been in occurrence long before the pandemic — with many clubbers seeking more intimate scenes as opposed to packed, traditional nightclubs. As for smaller venues, the upkeep, even prior to COVID, had been difficult — with rising rents and seeing their premises sold.
Still, the government stepped in with a £2.25m emergency fund for up to 150 small venues that had to close during lockdowns, while clubs themselves have been keeping afloat, even if difficultly, via crowdfunders and online events.
With the adaptations of online streaming and new collectives such as the Queer House Party, however, clubbing is becoming more accessible and inclusive — especially with the use of BSL interpreters and audio description in many online parties.
When clubs return, there will be a whole new realm of possibility not online for how to implement various technologies to stay connected or how to aid those who have struggled to access clubs before — but importantly, how nightlife can move past what we know it to be. This points to creating a whole new nightlife scene, which is far more interesting and grand — especially after a year of missing out.
Venues and events now have the ability to create brand new and opulent experiences — which vastly combat the relaxed, home lifestyle. In capitalising off the buzz, there is a distinct ability to profit — especially when treating every night as an unmissable event with a fair admission fee.
Additionally, with the new inquiry from Westminister’s All-Party Parliamentary Group, there is an opportunity to be vocal about the industry — particularly the problems in the sector and the requirement for financial support.
Importantly, the implementation of same-day testing, such as in Barcelona’s pilot experiment, shows that there may be a viable route back into nightlife and venues at capacity — if carried out correctly.
Words: Seeham Rahman