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What Went Down At The Nightlife Matters Protest

Saturday saw the NTIA's first public protest in support of clubbing culture, here's what happened.
 

We spent Saturday with the people standing up for club culture


2016's been a pretty piss-poor year all round, but it's been even worse for those of us who like to spend significant proportions of our weekends on a dancefloor. Imagine having to put up with Brexit, the deaths of David Bowie, Prince and Alan Rickman, AND seeing the sustained decline of the culture you love.

It's been a toughie.

As a means to help preserve the UK's nightlife and club culture, the Night Time Industry Association have been lobbying authorities to protect music venues. The campaign seemed to be picking up steam, especially after newly-elected mayor Sadiq Khan announced he was recruiting for the position of a Night Czar. But with the loss of Fabric last month, it seemed that things needed to be kicked up a gear and so an official protest to protect the UK's club culture was organised.

I went down to Hoxton Square on Saturday afternoon to see what went down.


When I arrived a small crowd was gathered in the square, a lot of them were dressed in rave attire and brandishing home made signs. The vibe was cheerful, if a little hungover.


After an hour or two of mingling, the master of ceremonies, Normski, arrived, megaphone in hand. After a quick safety talk and running through some impromptu chants, it was time to hit the streets.


Safety was a big concern for the organisers. This was an official protest for which they'd obtained permission. The stewards we very clear that the protest must stay on the footpaths and were constantly looking out for the safety of the protestors. This even went as far as a quick catch up on how traffic lights work.


Once we were out of the main roads of Shoreditch, however, the road safety demonstrations cooled a little and the mood picked up. A guy with a 'cycle-soundsystem' turned up to blast out a range of protest-appropriate party songs from "Fight For Your Right" to "Sound Of Da Polcie". As a party vibe took over more people joined our merry parade.


When we got to London Fields, everyone was on top form, the soundsystems were turned up and a dancefloor opened up on the grass. Cans were opened, clothes were removed and it became a celebration of what we were trying to save.


After we'd danced our asses off it was time for the serious bit. Speeches were given by representatives from NTIA, Fabric, Passing Clouds, The Silver Bullet and Eastern Electrics. All talked of a need for a national campaign to protect Britain's venues. The message was clear - this was not just about the loss of Fabric, but about a sustained assault on club culture.


Hopefully the landscape will change and we won't need any more protests like Saturday, but if we do, it's good to know people are willing to come out and fight for their right to party.


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Written by Matthew Francey

12 Oct 2016