Clubbers march to save Hackney’s nightlife


Hundreds of people calling on the government to protect UK nightlife culture descended on Hackney’s streets on Saturday afternoon. The Hackney Post spoke to demonstrators at the rally.

Paul Nichols, a 50-year-old music magazine editor, feared that the closure of nightclubs would be a loss of a safe space for people to enjoy music in London.

“These places aren’t there to go pick people up, they’re not there to go and get hideously drunk and start fights,” he said. “The main reason that people go to these places is for the music and the sense of community that that music gives you.”

Nichols also slammed local councils for revoking nightclub licences, seeing those decisions as invitations for developers to move into the area. “Maybe we’ll [protesters] get people to think, ‘if places like Fabric are being shut down… are we just going to end up with a really sterile landscape in central London and nowhere for people to safely go and enjoy themselves?”

Some protesters also saw the closure of nightclubs around London as a threat to the young community –  Ryan Maynes, representing GMB Young London, the national trade union’s youth wing, said the closing down of over 1,400 nightclubs over the past ten years meant tens of thousands of people were losing their jobs. He added that many of those who lost their jobs had “come straight from school” or were supporting young families.

Michelle Bates, 32, even took her two-year-old daughter, Olivia, to stand for future generations of clubbers. They were holding a sign reading, “My mummy and daddy met at Turnmills”, a Clerkenwell nightclub that closed in 2008.

“I want my daughter, when she’s old enough, to enjoy the culture that I enjoyed growing up,” lamented Bates, who travelled from Hertfordshire for the protest. “That seems to be taken away from her at the moment.”