On 6 September, London’s most iconic nightclub, Fabric, had its license revoked following the drug-deaths of two teenagers.
The Club, which was voted World Number 1 Club in DJ Magazines’ “Top 100 Clubs” poll in 2007 and 2008, was forced to close following an extensive hearing by Islington Council, during which it was decided that searches by staff at the London venue had been “inadequate and in breach of the license.”
Following the decision, Fabric’s Managing Director, Gary Kilbey, vowed to save the club from permanent closure, launching the #saveourculture campaign in an attempt to overturn the ruling at the appeal on Friday 28 November.
The campaign has received considerable support from artists across the country, with some expressing their views very publicly; Jungle and Drum & Bass pioneer, Goldie called the closure “a bureaucratic assault on creativity” and suggested he melt down his MBE in light of “killing counter-culture and culture itself.”
Alongside the campaign, a #savefabric petition was launched by resident DJ, Jacob Husley. The online petition has now reached over 160,500 of the 200,000 signatures required to lobby Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The club has been distributing ‘#savefabric’ t-shirts in exchange for a £30 direct donation to the cause, and, just recently, released a 111-track compilation album via bandcamp, featuring new, unreleased material from some of the most profound artists to have graced the Fabric decks.
Numerous events have also been organised in aid of the campaign, notably the Fabriclive x WHP show at the Warehouse Project on 11 November.
Fabric’s closure has not only affected established DJs and producers, but also artists up-and-coming in the underground scene. Matt Neal, who DJs and produces under the name Nuvaman, has recently broken onto the underground scene with his intricate UK techno and traditional jungle breakbeat blending. He said: “The outcry on social media was comparable to Brexit. A lot of DJs were gutted to have never had the chance to play the legendary club; I was simply gutted to have never even walked through the door.”
Neal, who runs the Hygrade label, went onto say: “It’s going to have a hugely negative effect on the scene in London, and the UK on the whole, with Fabric being a stomping ground for the latest breakthrough acts.”
John Randall, AKA Yak, runs the Circular Jaw label, which specialises in underground techno, bass, and jungle. “I never had the chance to go to Fabric” he said, “but, after its closure, my Twitter feed was full of hundreds of producers and DJs that I really look up to saying how influential and important it was to them, so it really hit home how instrumental the club was to shaping UK music into what it is today.
“It’s also somewhere myself and countless other DJs have dreamed of playing at and now that opportunity’s gone forever.”
On the other hand, Alex Hinkson, who initiated and maintains the “New Music” & “Identification of Music” groups on Facebook, which, combined, share a total of 38,252 members, believes that the closure will not necessarily affect the future of underground artists: “I don’t think the closure is going to have a huge effect on the prospects of artists at that level, because fabric just didn’t book people at that level.
“The scene will continue to grow and opportunities will arise elsewhere. A tree doesn’t grow to fill a gap in the canopy; it just sometimes finds its way there.”
Fabric now look to the future with the appointment of London’s first ‘Night Czar’ Amy Lamé, who has been given the job of protecting the city’s 24-hour economy. The club is currently survived by its offshoot label ‘Houndstooth’, along with its regular compilation albums; Kahn & Neek’s Fabriclive 90 is set for release on 18 November, with Nina Kraviz’ Fabric 91 scheduled for 9 December.