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The Guardian: Are Small Club Nights Dead?

Photo Credit: DJ Mag

Spotted in The Guardian this morning was a great op-ed on changes in British club party sizes by Joanna Fuertes-Knight, observing the migration from small intimate venues to huge raves – and to online webstreams. As dance music has hit a renaissance (again), the popularity of massives might be impacting the former glory of the smaller nights for c

It’s well worth a read for any DJ or promoter – and great questions emerge from the piece about where intimate music discovery takes place in the modern world. Are bedroom raves from renowned livestreams just as exciting as small club experiences?

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Small, loyally attended events look thin on the ground, appearing to have been largely replaced in clubbers’ affections by the large, must-pre-book events like Manchester’s Warehouse Project and stay-over weekends where Butlin’s is transformed into a gurn-fest like Bugged Out!.


Now, people no longer discover new music at their favourite nights, because every blog races to get tracks online the millisecond they’re uploaded. Once-underground names can now demand luxury fees, and America has even given club music its own acronym. If the lure of the sweatpant still lingers, club connoisseurs can stick on a stream of the insanely popular Boiler Room or any one of its counterparts

[via The Guardian]

Have you observed this same transformation with dance music in your own city and region? 

  • E10 mess

    The small club scene in the UK is still brilliant. This is an article from last year which completely disproves everything the writer in The Guardian says:

  • weqedw

    ” Are bedroom raves from renowned livestreams just as exciting as small club experiences?”

    Most definitely not!

  • weqedw

    I think the opposite of this article is true, yeah there’s more commercial raves but the small ones, especially in cities like bristol are far better and loyally attended.

    Check out happy daze n bambi legs for a couple of great examples which always sell out without fail!

  • Absolute bollocks. The small club scene has always been great in the uk. The guardian hasn’t got a clue about popular culture, let alone the underground dance scene. You’d be better off asking your mother.

  • This is not my experience, perhaps it’s just the style of music they represent migrating into bigger clubs. I’m finding smaller clubs becoming more popular because it has more of a custom feel you can’t get from a massive. The DJ is more at the whims of what the crowd wants at smaller places, but isn’t that supposed to be what small venues are about? Also, smaller clubs don’t make as much money is massives (take that however you want). Anyway, if you’re looking for a niche sound, the small clubs are the best way to go.

    • James Wilson

      Exactly. You might work twice as hard, but the reward is so much better. That fuzzy feeling where everything just clicks. Plus small events and parties keep me on point and show me where my weak areas are. They make me push myself to improve and be a better DJ, which what we all strive to do.

  • JP

    I’ll take a more intimate 200-300 person party over a massive any day. Both as a club goer and as a DJ. The vibe is more appealing to me. Also, I prefer the deeper side of dance music and am generally not as into over the top stadium style music, so that has a lot to do with it.

    • Anonymous

      I will take a more intimate 1 on 1 party any day… if you know what i mean

  • The thing I don’t like about large festivals and live streams is that it further perpetuates the relationship of the DJ as the entertainer and the audience as the spectators and consumers.

    In many small clubs, the audience/dancers are as important (sometimes more important) than the DJ. I find that in the small club it’s more about building an environment that everyone in the room has contributed to.

    • ras

      100% agree. yes I am the DJ, but having a good vibe and people around that create that vibe is probably more important than me being there.

    • Mau

      As owner and Dj I must totally agree. I must , sadly, admit than in a small club dancers can be even more important than the dj. Dancers with good vibe and energy can ignite an awesome party in a small club.