Newly appointed Culture Secretary supports reopening UK nightclubs

today08/07/2024 1

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Following on from last week’s general election, the UK has a new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lisa Nandy, who held her seat as the Labour MP for Wigan.

It’s an appointment that has been welcomed by some members of the nightlife industry, in the wake of encouraging comments Nandy has previously made about supporting nightlife.

In a 2022 interview with Times Radio, Nandy advocated for reopening nightclubs to help level up towns and boost local economies, as well as create opportunities for young people and serve as cultural hubs.

Read this next: How The Cost Of Living Crisis Is Impacting Nightclubs And Promoters

Nandy said: “Every single town has lost a nightclub that they feel very strongly about, that was part of our history and our heritage. You know, in Wigan we had northern soul and we miss all of that greatly.

“Live music venues that used to sustain bands like the Verve who come from Wigan, who could gig and play around Wigan, not just have to travel into Manchester to do it, those things have disappeared in the last couple of decades. So there is a serious point behind this because as well as providing those opportunities for young people from every part of the country and the culture and the history and the identity that goes with it, it means that we’re reflected in the national story.”

She also joked she had been speaking with Labour colleagues about “whether we could have a referendum in each town about which nightclub would be reopened, to try and reinvigorate and kickstart regeneration across the whole of England”.

In 2023, Nandy also published a “plan to expand community ownership of important local assets”, including music venues and pubs.

As outlined in our recent open letter to the incoming government, penned by Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill, the UK nightlife industry has suffered greatly in recent years and requires urgent support.

In the past year alone, the country has lost more than 40 festivals, while five nightclubs and two grassroots music venues have shut down each week.

Read this nextL Four Ways The New UK Government Needs To Support Nightlife

In light of these conditions and Nandy’s apparent willing to help, her appointment has been a welcome spark of optimism for the industry.

The Night Time Industries Association commented: “Looking forward to working with the New Culture Secretary Lisa Nandy”, referencing her “well documented support for Nightclubs and Live Music”.

UK Music CEO Tom Kielhl congratulated Nandy on her appointment, adding: “We have first hand experience of your strong commitment to music & the importance of talent development. You are ideally placed to take forward the government’s cultural plan & we [are] excited to work with you again!”

Other were more cautiously optimistic, such as Local Action artist Finn, who tweeted: “Lisa Nandy i will hold you to this!!!”

He also referenced the need for supporting nightlife as a cultural institution with worth beyond its economic health, adding: “i would absolutely love it if something like Ireland’s Give Us The Night campaign sprang up over here that didnt feel like it presented nightclubs and live music concerns as largely/solely a Small Business Owners issue”.

Following her appointment, Lisa Nandy said in a statement: “[Culture] industries give meaning to millions of lives and bring communities in our towns, villages and cities together. I will do everything I can to … unlock opportunities for everyone and change lives for the better.”

On Friday, the day the election result was confirmed, she said: “The hard work begins today.”

[Via: The Times]

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag’s Editor & Digital Director, follow him on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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