The Nightlife Industry and its Future

The Nightlife Industry and its Future

The Nightlife Industry and its Future

This month we discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on the nightlife industry in Bristol and throughout the UK. We will also be exploring the future of the nightlife industry, especially now that restrictions have been eased and nightclubs are back at full capacity.

Before the pandemic there had been a significant and continual decrease in the number of nightlife venues operating since the clubbing peak of the 90s. The increased opening hours of pubs and decreased demand for clubbing led to 44% of nightclubs shutting down from 2001-2015. The decline has continued since 2015, albeit at a slower rate, leading to 491 permanently shutting down in the past six years. Nightlife was still an important part of the UK’s GDP encompassing 6% before the start of the pandemic. Contributing £66bn and employing over 1.3 million people. In Bristol 40,000 people were employed in the nightlife industry while Motion and the O2 Academy produced £40 million a year alone.

COVID-19 Impacts

There was massive uncertainty to the future of nightlife when the Covid-19 restrictions came into effect. The changes to the easing of restrictions last minute and introduction of the tier system created uncertainty for re-opening. Nightclubs have been the hardest hit by these restrictions due to the nature of the business. Capacities at venues were limited significantly from 100s to just 10 or 20. Outdoor space was also limited and, in many cases, required significant time for councils to approve access. By which time many areas may have re-entered lock down. This had a huge impact on nightclubs, with around 98% of owners said that running their businesses with social distancing would be unviable. This caused around 150 nightclubs to shut down from 2020-2021.

Now restrictions have been almost completely lifted how are nightclubs re-opening and how might the pandemic have shaped the future of the industry?

The recent lifting of Covid-19 restrictions on the 19th of July that allowed the re-opening of nightclubs led to clubs such as Lakota and Pryzm in Bristol to sell out of tickets on a re-opening midnight event. Obviously, this will lead to a sudden bounce back as nightlife businesses will be able to run with no restrictions on capacity. This is especially important until September where there remains the potential for testing or double-vaccine requirements for entry. Lack of restrictions may lead to a notable rise in Covid-19 infections but it is too early to know for sure. Nightlife businesses will be relieved for the time being. Although, the decline of businesses that has continued since the 90s will likely carry on, but to what extent? We will be watching closely over the next 6-12 months….

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Posted on by JS Reakes

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