The landscape of the Night-Time Business Sector has changed over the last decade, musically we have diversified as per the consumer requirement. The infrastructure of the industry has modified its terminology, traditional night-clubs have become venues, ‘hybrid spaces’, ‘pop-ups’, ‘micro festivals’ all with multi-purpose product offerings and flexibility.
Summers are filled with weekend adventures to large scale events changing the consumer spend trends and creating genuine purpose for high street and town centre venues to try harder, think laterally and maintain an accommodation for an ever-changing customer requirement.
Technology maintains a love-hate relationship with the Industry, with consumer exploration and access to new and uncharted experience, early adopters chasing the tails of the next business trend. The immediate facilitation it represents within the marketplace to criticise the sector about the DJ’s music selection, drink temperature and the unruly door staff! But it’s a necessary evil!
Just 9% of the total 24 hours premises licenses in the UK are held by clubs, bars and pubs. The Mayor of London’s Night Time Commission pointed out, that we need more 24 hr licenses not less. Alcohol consumption down 17% overall since the Licensing Act came into effect in 2003. Legislation for 24-hour licensing has been adopted by the UK, but the actual reality of a ‘City that never sleeps’ in the UK is far from realistic under the current regime; opposed to a single closing time.
We were once happy to pay business taxes to fulfil our requirement to invest in communities but have seen in recent years the build of stealth taxes, like Late Night Levy’s, both locally & nationally bringing a level of animosity and isolation to the sector left feeling undervalued.
Potential increases to music royalty payments in coming years could tip the industry over the edge and reduce cultural spaces and eventually diminish performance spaces for our homegrown and touring artists, we can only work towards a position of balance and hope key stakeholders see sense.
It’s estimated that the average age of a councillor in England is 60; fewer than 5% are under 35; 96% are white and only 31% are female. We desperately need more balanced representation when deliberating about the future of the UK’s nightlife. Young people, those who understand the realities and value of our sector, need to have their voices heard at local and national government.
More than ever there is a need for our industry to recognise the existence of mental health, among its ranks, but start to understand the vocational pressures of our businesses, and assess needs based on our people.
As an industry, we have been slow to take hold of a sleeping giant, Equality and Diversity – and the more important subject which is ‘Inclusion’ – We need to grasp the impact of E&D to our industry, and start to work towards generating an awareness of the future impact adopting a strategy for the future of an inclusive environment for all!
It’s not easy out there, and for most the decade has ended with a level of uncertainty and frustration, but we continue the fight and work towards a stronger partnership with each other!