See Tickets is supporting a campaign that's working to raise awareness of the issues affecting the UK's nightlife sector, which is facing numerous challenges at the moment including venue closures. We talk to Thomas van Berckel from the Night Time Industries Association to find out more.
Can you give us a quick overview of NTIA and the Nightlife Matters campaign?
Nightlifematters is a nationwide movement designed to raise awareness on many of the key issues that are impacting UK night culture. Over the last few years many well known and loved nightclubs and live music venues have closed due to the changing industry landscape.
Nightlife is so important to the lives we live, its where we fall in love, where we have those memorable magic moments, it’s where we make the best of friends and most importantly where we can have fun. These things are important to us as a society and its important that we stand up and protect, support and celebrate this key part of UK culture.
The campaign has been set up by the Night Time Industries Association, created by a group of key stakeholders all of whom wanted to stop the unfair treatment of venues while promoting the significant benefits of a booming night time economy.
What can people to do support the campaign?
For the movement to be a success we need the support of the people, the fans that go out week in week out are the people who really matter. All of us are shared stakeholders of the night.
We’re encouraging the silent majority to make their voice heard by signing up to the #nightlifematters manifesto at http://www.nightlifematters.com/
Supporters can email local councillors and MPs directly through an email form embedded onto the website and will be notified about upcoming events taking place as part of the #nightlifematters series. Also please tweet #nightlifematters and let us know why nightlife matters to you.
What do you think the immediate future holds for the UK’s nightlife? Do you think younger people are moving away from visiting ‘traditional’ clubs and is this having an effect on nightclub numbers and closures too?
It’s a big question. There are many variables that have created the current environment, it is true that younger peoples behaviour is changing although this is a minor aspect in comparison to the other changing forces.
If you look at the main venues that have closed over the last five years they haven’t shut because young people weren’t going there, most of them were booming. Naturally with fewer quality venues to choose from young people are going to find new places to hang out. House & techno, and dance music in general are as popular as they’ve ever been and there appears no change in young people wanting to go out dance and listen to great music.
The night time industry is run better now then its ever been before. Since the licensing Act 2003 where many said 24hr licensing would cause all sorts of mayhem, what has actually happened is crime is down, alcohol consumption is down with the biggest drop being between 16-24 yr olds, and A&E visits are stablised.
So as a whole there is huge improvement, yet still venues are being treated more harshly than ever before with more license requirements and being held to a higher level of account than ever before. The authorities have experienced huge budget cuts, yet with a remit to increase their stats, all of this has put an immense pressure on venues across the country.
The huge growth of residential property in inner city areas coupled with the dramatic increase in property prices have all contributed to what could be considered the perfect storm.
How much of a contribution do you think clubs have played in popular culture and do you fear that might be lost in the future?
Night life is the cauldron that facilitates so many sectors. Its an ecosystem that allows other industries like fashion, music and the creative industries to happen, all of them are interdependent and connected. Where would fashion be with out a thriving night time economy.
What is it that attracts millions of tourists to London and other cities across the UK every year. A cool, diverse and eclectic night time economy is an integral part to the culture that we live in. Some cities around the world have realized this like Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Manchester have understood the important and valuable role that nightlife has in making our cities interesting, exciting and enjoyable places to live.
Consider what it would be like to live in a city that doesn’t have an exciting night time experience, most definitely the night has a major role in our culture and its future. So, join us and support this movement. It’s only together speaking up for what we care about that real change will happen. www.nightlifematters.com
Some of the campaign's supporters:
Tom Findlay of Groove Armada, said: "Nightlife Matters across Britain because it nurtures and sustains all our creative industries. It’s part of what makes Britain great, our club culture is admired across the world. Nightlife matters because it employs loads of brilliant people, bringing different ages, colours, genders and ethnicities together for a common goal. I can’t imagine our country without it and it’s time we showed one of our great national pastimes a lot more love and respect.”
Pete Jordan, Director at MADE Festival and the Rainbow Venues, said: “The UK has a nightlife and festival industry that is revered the world over. We are currently seeing more threats to venues and their licenses for a variety of reasons, that could in time, destroy the industry. Supporting the Nightlife Matters initiative from the NTIA is essential, and will help the industry safeguard itself from the real issues that exist and could change the cultural landscape of cities and towns forever.”