In the past several weeks, fabric London’s woes and ultimate closure at the hand of the local Islington Council received coverage far beyond music outlets and blogs, with major news sites of the world taking it upon themselves to report on what has now become the closure of one of the most respected dance music venues in the world.
Yet, as the London club prepares to fight for its life with the support of a strong and well-numbered nightlife community at its side, there’s other venues in the world facing similar problems. In Chicago, small venues are being attacked by local Cook Country officials who are attempting to levy heavy back taxes and penalties claiming that electronic music, and also rock, rap and country music, should not be considered “fine art.” Strangely, the world’s most iconic techno institution, Berghain/Panorama Bar in Berlin, received the exact opposite treatment in a court of law in just the past few days when it was labeled as “high culture” and allowed to pay a smaller tax bracket than pure entertainment venues.
In London fabric is sadly not alone. West London nightclub MODE has also announced that their license came under review by the Kensington & Chelsea Council, with pressure by the Met Police for the club to close down:
In Germany, Frankfurt nightclub U60311 is also facing hard times. A formal underground pedestrian walkway in downtown Frankfurt, the venue opened its doors in October 1998 and hosted some of the most illustrious names in underground and house techno for the better part of two decades, including some of the most famous Cocoon parties hosted by Sven Väth. Sadly, the club is now battling to re-open after it was shut down when a guest was killed during a fight with external contractors who were hired to work security at the venue. Naturally, the venue immediately terminated the contract with the security company and collaborated with authorities in ensuring that they could investigate the incident and take the necessary measures needed. Yet, officials have gone on to refuse proposals for a new manager to take over running the club and, after 26 separate raids at the venue in 2012 alone, have kept the venue closed.
The truth is that the club is surrounded by retail stores and there’s belief that its forced closure is a direct result of pressure and complaints from other business owners in the area. Last year a petition was launched to save this unique small venue, and a Facebook group created to support the re-opening of the club.
While MODE’s future seems uncertain, supporters of U60311 continue to clamor for a re-opening, insisting that the venue was unfairly targeted and closed down for political reasons rather than just ones. As fabric London embarks on the arduous road toward overturning its license revocation, we hope that other venues facing similar problems with local authorities can find the strength and support to fight for their rightful place in the local nightlife scene.