Can the Decline in Nightclubs Be Reversed?
|Published: 1st September 2021 17:45|
Source of a great deal of moaning from people who partied themselves out during the 80s and 90s, the nightclub is nevertheless an important part of Britain’s nightlife, falling somewhere between a pub carvery and a warehouse rave on the entertainment spectrum. The concept has been with us since the 1950s, albeit in the form of ‘afternoon dancing’, yet its longevity to date is embarrassed by the fact that nightclubs now seem to be dying out.
Struggling for Life
In the UK, from a peak of 13,505 clubs in 2008, the number of establishments fell to 8,703 over the ensuing decade. The research company IbisWorld claims that the value of the nightlife scene collapsed by 35.3% between 2016 and 2021, with the largest slump coming in 2021. Compared to even figures from a few years ago, the most recent drop (2020-21) in the number of UK nightclubs opening every weekend is catastrophic.
The problem is that there’s far more to nightclubs than partying and dancing. Long-form writing site Cherwell refers to nightclubs as “indispensable industries” that add £66 billion to the country’s coffers per year. The closure of such places inevitably places strain on jobs, with between 800,000 and 1.3 million positions either in danger right now or likely to be struggling for life somewhere down the line.
Of course, nightclubs support adjacent industries like food and transport. A popular London chain of chicken restaurants reported a 25% reduction in sales during the summer of 2020, as nightclubs closed en-masse. That latter point conflicts with the popular idea that certain types of shops, like betting outlets, pawnshops, and takeaways are immune to recession and actively thrive in less well-off areas.
Efforts to reinvigorate nightclubs have been successful in places like Middlesbrough, where Bada Bingo hosts a party night that combines the traditional board game with all-night partying. The company promises a festival atmosphere and professional performers, with more information on the event available on their Bingo Near Me page. Similar bingo nights have been successful up and down the country, too.
The issue facing many clubs is that partying may be a generational thing and, once again, the blame seems to fall on millennials. Various tabloid reports have intimated that young people prefer craft beer (and, therefore, pubs), gyms, fancy bars, trampolining, indoor golf, and even vegan food festivals to visiting nightclubs. This pursuit of alternative entertainment is arguably why party-bingo has taken off in the UK, as well.
Despite its association with dancing, nightclub owners have also blamed more health-conscious lifestyles and a lack of financial security for the decline in Britain’s nightlife. However, it’s worth noting that only a very small part of the population considered themselves nightclub-goers back in 2018 – 11% in the year to September, down 4% from 2016. Sadly, there are few rosy numbers associated with the venerable club.
Nightclubs still have the opportunity to evolve to include additional types of entertainment but the establishment as we know it may is definitely in decline.