Irish nightlife in need of revival

Gates shut at the Tivoli Theatre
photo credit: Eibhin Kavanagh

Following the closing of one of Ireland’s biggest night clubs in Dublin,”District 8″, the nightlife scene faces a new risk.

District 8 was once Dublin’s premier venue for techno, house and various other electronica music. It was fundamental in Ireland’s rave culture and has housed some of the biggest techno acts from around the world. It has also acted as a platform for upcoming Irish acts, allowing the artists to build their support base and to refine their performing abilities.

However, it was announced that the Tivoli Theatre which once house District 8 would be closing down in January, leaving the event without a home.

Consequently, a statement was released on District 8’s official Facebook page announcing the last acts set to perform from December to January, also announcing that the last event would be held on January 26th.

Surely enough the final day arrived and once the last track ended, District 8 closed indefinitely.

The Tivoli and District 8 have added to the ever increasing list of Dublin’s perishing nightlife, joined by Hangar Nightclub of St. Andrew’s Lane and the Wright Venue in Swords. The latter of which has hosted some of the world’s biggest acts, such as Rihanna and Martin Garrix.

Thankfully Dublin still has a decent supply of venues for pop music lovers looking for a night out, however the increasing number of perishing venues could harbour negative connotations for music lovers who may not adhere to pop music.

District 8 and Hangar both catered to a niche audience. Both were well known and well regarded by techno and electronica fanatics.  Now that both venues are closed, it leaves people seeking a night out in that niche pocket with nowhere to go, except a pop club where they may recognise a small number of songs if they’re lucky.

It’s also a worry for Irish DJ’s and producers who now have lost platforms to promote their music, build their audiences and possibly launch music careers.

I spoke to Darren Kennedy, an aspiring DJ from the inner city about the possible implications of the lack of venues for specific genres.

“It’s definitely a problem for producers but I think it’s more damaging for the EDM [electronic dance music] community than anything else. Most of the venues were small and everyone became familiar with each other; especially in Hangar where it’s so small you can’t help but recognise people. I think it’s a lot better to keep clubs open where people can vibe in a controlled environment. It gives people a place to go and enjoy themselves in the city whereas they might not have anywhere to go otherwise. It also helps keep people from messing about and causing issues in my opinion.”

In regards to possible solutions to help niche clubs bounce back, Kennedy answered: “I think the main solution is for more promoters to try and purchase plots in the city and revive the respective scene. Whoever does capitalise on the lack of venues will see a lot of attention and attendees to the events, or at least that would be the idea. There might be more factors, and there are risks but I definitely think it would be worth it.”

Irish nightlife is in an interesting climate at the moment and can be expected to be subject to dramatic change over the next year.

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