​Protestors hold “sit-in rave” at shuttered Dartford nightclub

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UK rave crew Starbass are hosting a “sit-in protest rave” at a shuttered nightclub in Dartford as part of the Save Our Nightlife campaign.

First reported by KentOnline on Monday, the protest rave is taking place at Dartford nightclub ATIK, which closed at the beginning of February amidst country-wide club closures by owners Rekom UK.

The Kent-based club was shuttered on February 1 along with 17 other Rekom UK-owned sites across the country, including brands such as Pryzm, in the thick of financial troubles.

KentOnline reported earlier this week that barriers have now been placed outside of ATIK’s Dartford site, along with signs reading “Starbass” and “Save Our Nightlife”.

Read this next: UK’s biggest nightclub operator calls in administrators amid financial difficulty

Inside, Starbass UK is using “squatting loopholes” to stage a “sit-in” rave in protest of the closure, as well as the recent slew of club closures around the UK. Speaking to Mixmag, an anonymous organiser said that the UK is “losing its musical heritage”.

“Here at Starbass, we’re witnessing a trend in British nightlife herding everyone into superclubs,” they explain. “We’re all about growth and opportunity for young creatives. But with clubs closing and the market for creative opportunities thinning due to high costs, we’re losing our musical heritage.”

They argued that the UK music scene is often “monopolised by industry giants”, and believe that a major culprit of club closures is the “fight against anti-social behaviour”.

“We’re passionate about providing opportunities, levelling the playing field. This is especially true for individuals from challenging backgrounds,” they explain.

“We aim to steer youngsters away from negative paths, offering them a chance to immerse themselves in music instead of resorting to harmful alternatives.”

Read this next: Defiant photos from Bologna’s defiant ‘Smash Repression’ pro-rave protest

Speaking to KentOnline, one organiser claims they did not break into the venue, but found other ways inside. They also claim to have liaised with the police to ensure no illegal activity is taking place.

“In essence, it’s about breaking down barriers and fostering a culture that empowers individuals to express themselves through music, art and creativity as a whole which has a therapeutic effect as well as having a major impact alleviating anti-social behaviour,” they tell Mixmag.

ATIK owners Rekom UK – one of the UK’s largest nightclub operators – announced last month that administrators had been called in amid financial trouble.

It’s reportedly set to undergo a restructure as part of the move — casting doubt on the future of the 43 bars and nightclubs it currently owns. 17 clubs have been shuttered so far.

The firm said the decision had come amid a “challenging time for the industry” in 2023 – referencing factors such as a drop in student clubgoers and soaring energy bills as sources for its financial woes.

[Via: KentOnline]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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