As everyone resumes business on this Monday morning, nightclubs across England will be counting how much their tills took over the weekend. This follows the scrapping of rules there banning nightclubs from opening. They remain closed elsewhere in the UK.
My view on this subject is well known. I firmly believe that the government will use nightclubs to take the blame for another wave in infections. I wrote this at the start of the month and still believe it. Last week, I saw signs that the more mainstream press were catching up with this view. But what do people within the industry think?
Many of them refuse to discuss it at the moment. Their reluctance isn’t easily explained – although upon reaching out, one admitted his reason was “our club is closer to bankruptcy than anyone realises – I don’t have time to talk about this right now”.
And the one person who did agree to say anything would only do so on condition of anonymity. Fair enough. This person has been around since the 1980s and has worked in clubs too numerous to count up, both as a DJ and as a manager and occasional owner too. Other than that, no clues!
I asked just one question. How worried are nightclubs about the future? He said “All this stuff you write about nightclubs being lined up to take the blame… you’re probably onto something. People come to clubs to enjoy themselves. We definitely don’t want them to leave and fall sick. If cases start being traced back to clubs in big numbers, we could be in serious trouble.”.
He went on to say “A lot of clubs are closer to going bankrupt than they’d want to admit to anyone, even themselves. It’s gonna take a very long time to get those bank balances built up again – just a shame no one told some of the DJs being booked. Some have actually raised their prices – because clubs are awash with f***ing money right now, aren’t they?”.
“Nightclubs have bounced back from lots of things in the past. England’s a pretty hostile place for us, Wales and Scotland are little better. But this is on a magnitude any of us has seen before. Expect to see some clubs merging in the next few months. I reckon some will downsize to bring costs down – and yeah, I’d be surprised if at least one of the big boys doesn’t come crashing down.”.
The future could be gloomy for a little while…