UK: The UK’s Office for National Statistics recently announced that it has removed nightclub entry fees from its Retail Prices Index, a litany of goods and services examined to determine inflation. Many commentators, including the BBC, have interpreted the move as microcosmic of the ostensible decline of UK nightlife.
The BBC article in question cites an approximate 50% reduction in operational nightclubs since 2005 as evidence of the industry’s rapid decline. However, new statistics from Skiddle, the UK’s number one ‘What’s On?’ guide and leading ticket agent, contradict the article’s fundamental assertion. Skiddle’s year-on-year figures demonstrate that more events are being listed and more tickets are being sold than ever before. In 2015, Skiddle saw an increase in ticket sales for club events by 48.7%, and in 2014 that figure was 62%.
What ONS is failing to consider, according to Skiddle, is that people are now partying in alternative venues, such as industrial spaces, fields and even some restaurants – not just the stereotypical high street nightclub. Skiddle’s arguments contain implicit assurances for metropolitan festivals, who utilise alternative urban venues.
The BBC’s headline ‘Whatever happened to the Great British nightclub?’ couldn’t have been more damning, according to Jimmy Coultas, head of content and communication, at Skiddle: “Whilst typical club venues are dropping in numbers, this certainly isn’t an indication anything is dying, far from it. What this does tell us is that the natural propensity for weekend hedonism is doing the same thing it always has – evolve.
“Undoubtedly, things are changing, and the lines are blurring between what is considered a club and a bar – especially when many bars are now able to open until the early hours of the morning, or later, thanks to 24-hour licensing laws.
“The ONS stats only seem to look at ticket sales for high street night clubs and completely ignore the fact that more unusual places are being used as party venues. We recognise that the scene is changing, not dying, and our own statistics fly in the face of ONS.
“There may well be less classic high street dance floors but why all this negativity? We feel more and more people in the UK are dancing to music than ever before, be it in former factories or fields. Despite all this talk, the nation is still partying, still enjoying the music, still dancing. We’ll continue to party with them.”