“Half of all London nightclubs, and 40 per cent of grassroots music venues, have shut in the past eight years.”
Financial Times, 18 November 2016
“From 2005-2015 over half of clubs shut nationwide, a reduction from 3,144 to 1,732”
Independent, 25 August 2016
The closure and reopening of London nightclub Fabric recently kicked off another spate of articles about club closures in general.
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The claim that 40% of grassroots music venues in London have closed originally comes from a ‘rescue plan’ prepared for the city’s Mayor. The Music Venues Taskforce that drew up the plan found there were 35% fewer grassroots venues in 2015 than in 2007.
The taskforce took a list of venues from 2007 and put them into categories. It asked around to find out about places which opened or closed between then and 2015, and counted how many were still open in April 2015. There were 136 grassroots venues in 2007 and 88 in 2015, so 35% fewer.
The Mayor’s office told us that City Hall’s culture team have kept the list up to date, and now 40% have closed.
The report defined ‘grassroots venues’ against a range of criteria, but in short they’re focused on music events and thought of as part of the local community.
The claims about nightclubs nationwide come from a report commissioned by the business organisation Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and shown to BBC Radio 1 last summer.
The report itself isn’t publically available. But the authors, CGA Strategy, told us that it’s kept a database of pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and so on for 25 years. The report said that there were 3,144 clubs in 2005 and 1,733 in 2015, so just over half as many.
This is across Great Britain, though. There’s no specific figure for London so we don’t know whether the city fared better or worse than Britain in general. We’ve confirmed that the claim that half of nightclubs in London specifically have closed is actually based on this nationwide figure.
Whatever the exact figures, the big picture seems clear. Industry consultants say the nightclub industry has been shrinking.