‘We’ve had almost no support’, says club promoter after lockdown easing delay

Without financial support, 50 per cent of clubs will be forced to close in the next two months

At this time of year, event organisers like Bristol-based Steffan Chelland would usually be winding down for the summer, after a long season of running iconic nights like BED Mondays and Clotted Cream. It’s usually round about now that students leave the city and the demand for events goes down. But this year was supposed to be different.

The final lockdown restrictions were set to be dropped on June 21st, giving clubs the green light to reopen their doors and turn up the tunes.

Steffan had a jam-packed week of events planned from July 19th-26th. “This would be a lot more shows than we would normally schedule for this time of the year, but as people are gagging to go out after over 450 days of clubs closed, they all sold out in record time, some with over a month before doors open. People just want to party!” Steffan said.


Steffan Chelland at Clotted Cream

But it wasn’t to be. With the rise of the Covid Delta variant, rumours started circulating that the lockdown lifting date was to be pushed back.

And yesterday, Boris Johnson confirmed that we’ll have to wait another four weeks until July 19th when the final coronavirus restrictions will be lifted and we can once again set foot inside a club. Although it’s disappointing news for punters, the real cost is being felt by the individuals who work within the nighttime economy.

Jacob Robertson is Managing Director at I Love Student Nights. He organises events at clubs across the UK including Tiger Tiger London and Piccadilly Institute. He hasn’t put on an event since March 13th last year, but was planning run a series of End of Year Ball nights across the coming weeks.

“The pandemic has disrupted our industry exponentially, as our industry relies on close contact. As you can imagine, social distancing procedures can’t be done at our events,” Jacob told The Tab.


Jacob Robertson

From June 21st, Jacob had a raft of sell-out events organised, many of which have now put on hold. His team has invested thousands of pounds as well as countless hours into trying to make these events happen, all with little support from the government.

Research conducted by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) found that, in preparation of the June 21st reopening, 54 per cent of businesses have spent over £15,000, while 17.8 per cent of businesses have spent over £40,000.

There was hope within the industry that yesterday’s announcement would be followed by a financial aid package to support the nighttime economy. Unfortunately, no such package was announced.

“I would have like the government to have been clearer with our industry,” Jacob told The Tab. “They should have said that our industry had to remain closed until everyone had been vaccinated.”

Steffan adds: “The government provided almost no support for the events industry and what little support they did grant went to giant event companies/theatres which would have probably weathered the financial shit storm better than most anyway.”

NTIA’s research suggests that 25 per cent of nighttime economy businesses will close in the next month, rising to 50 per cent the following month, if the government fails to offer those business financial support. The same businesses are set to make huge financial losses and face widespread redundancies.

Both Steffan and Jacob are now busy rescheduling events and sending out refunds. “Pushing back the date has affected everyone I know in the industry yet again. We can only hope July 19th is the end of it!” Steffan told The Tab.

You can show your support for business like Steffan’s and Jacob’s by purchasing a “Save the Rave” T-shirt from this link.

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