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'We Gotta Fight for Our Right to Party': London Club Fabric to Oppose Shutdown

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Nightclub - Sputnik International
The fight is on for London's Fabric nightclub which will appeal a recent decision made by the authorities to close it down.

Famous DJs, music producers and London's Mayor have all come out in support of the nightclub, exalting it as a "musical institution," following Islington Council's decision to revoke its license after concluding there was a "culture of drug use" at the venue.

​​A spokesperson for the club has confirmed that it had decided to appeal against the decision, which has caused ripples through London's night scene, which has already lost 50 percent of its nightclubs and almost half of all its live music venues in the last eight years.

A statement from Fabric read:

​"Closing Fabric is not the answer to the drug-related problems. Clubs like ours are working to prevent, and sets a troubling precedent for the future of London’s night time economy."

​Many other nightclubs and music promoters are continually facing the prospect of closure;, be it from potential noise abatement orders with hotels and luxury flats popping up all over Shoreditch or sky-rocketing rents in Mayfair and Soho pressurizing licenses.

​One club promoter who has been working in the industry for over a decade in London, agreed to speak anonymously to Sputnik about London's night scene. 

"Closing down venues started more than five years ago. From what I've experienced and seen, local authorities have been extremely aggressive, revoking club licenses with little explanation," the club promoter told Sputnik.

"A clampdown was needed on a lot of venues taking liberties with their licenses, but the situation is concerning."

"On one hand you have London Mayor Sadiq Khan extending the hours on the tube through the night — but after 3am there are very few places to go out in London's West End. You can see the places that are closing down are being replaced by hotels, flats and restaurants. It seems bigger money is muscling in on central London and taking out all the clubs."

Messages of solidarity from punters, promoters and nightclub owners filled social media with the unifying rhetoric suggesting that closing nightclubs doesn't make clubbing any safer. For many, the closure highlights the need for authorities and club owners to work together in conjunction with the police to make the experience safer.

​London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan said he was disappointed an agreement had not been reached between Fabric, the Metropolitan Police and Islington Council.

​Meanwhile, an investigation carried out by London newspaper the Independent, following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to Islington Council, suggested that Fabric's closure:

"…was a long pre-planned event, orchestrated by a cash-strapped council, using the police as pawns."

Islington Council's official statement listed eleven bullet points justifying its decision to close Fabric. Two relate to the deaths of two individuals and the rest relate to an undercover police operation, aptly named "Operation Lenor" that was carried out in July 2016 inside the venue.

​Police found no hard evidence of drug taking inside the venue, but observations that individuals were "manifesting symptoms showing that they were [on drugs.]"

"This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space."

​The undercover police report also stated that:

"The general atmosphere of the club was friendly and non-threatening," and that "there was a diverse demographic in regards to race."

These findings, or the Independent report, did not make it into Islington Council's statement. It appears that the police were not targeting drug dealers — but the club itself.

Fabric had been forced to use sniffer dogs under a condition of its license issued by Islington Council, a condition that was later successfully overturned after concerns were raised that the sniffer dogs made drug taking more dangerous.

In an interview with DJ Gilles Peterson on his Worldwide FM show, following the council's decision to shut Fabric, Keith Reilly, co-founder of Fabric reiterated the concerns over the role the sniffer dogs played.

"Not only are the drugs stronger — ten times stronger, what happened when young people come round the corner, they see the dogs and panic. They take everything in their pocket, that's what killed them."

​"The judge highlighted that, what they tried to make us do was counterproductive, to the licensing initiative and endangering young lives," Reilly said.

'Arcane Laws'

However, it seems Fabric isn't going to take a soft approach to the authorities' decision to close it down and will appeal. On Worldwide FM, Reilly also announced that they will fight for Fabric and other clubs facing threat of closure due to "arcane laws." 

Meanwhile London's Mayor Sadiq Khan is on the hunt for a new night time czar, in an attempt to preserve London's diminishing night scene, while questions are being asked why one of London's iconic clubs has been shut down.

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