02/09/16 Reverse order Timestamp format
fabric’s hearing with Islington’s Licensing Sub Committee begins tonight at 6:30pm. Get all the latest news and views, as well as the final outcome, with DJ Mag here.
The venue gave a #savefabric update on Facebook earlier today:
“We want to take a moment to say thank you again for all the amazing support you’ve shown us over the last few weeks. We’ve really been touched to see that over 130,000 people believe that the club and London’s nightlife should be supported.
“The review hearing is tonight and we’ve been told that the hearing will last around 7 hours meaning the verdict is unlikely to be decided until around 1am.”
Read the full statement here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/fabriclondon/savefabric-update/10154421336678150
The #savefabric Change.org campaign is rapidly approaching 150k signatures. If you haven’t done so yet, you can sign it here: https://www.change.org/p/save-london-s-nightlife-stop-the-closure-of-fabric
Things are about to get underway at Islington Town Hall
We spoke to Adam Winstock of the Global Drug Survey earlier, who gave his insight into the potential closure of fabric.
“Closing venues won't stop use,” he told DJ Mag, “Venues can be a hub of positive intervention with a captive and engaged audience. Shutting clubs may stifle innovation and future cooperation with authorities aimed at promoting good public health messaging and health promotion.”
You can fill in the Global Drug Survey 2016 mini, to help us set the scene for GDS2017: https://www.globaldrugsurvey.com
Things are under way, with councillors, licensing officers, police and fabric representatives have introduced themselves introducing themselves from both sides.
They will be given 30 minutes to give a summary of their position, with no repetition of the 1,500 pages of paper submitted as part of the licensing review.
The representative for the Metropolitan police, “This is a final review, following a summary review submitted on the 10th of August, submitted after the tragic deaths of two teenagers in six-week period after attending fabric nightclub.
“These are individuals that were allowed to access the venue in possession of drugs, and were also able to purchase MDMA once inside the venue. They are the three aspects I would like to focus on.”
Following the Metropolitan police statement, the hearing has been adjourned to allow sensitive information to be discussed in private.
In the meantime, please do take the time to join DJ Mag’s #SaveOurClubs campaign, to stand up to the squeeze by authorities on nightclubs which has seen almost half of Britain’s venues close in the last decade:
The meeting has reconvened, with the representative of the Metropolitan Police continuing by referencing a police report in which a plain clothes officer attended fabric nightclub on 2nd July and found a lack of an effective implementation of search policy, alongside an ease of purchasing illegal substances on the premises being apparent.
He is claimed to have entered the venue with no check of pockets, with a search that took around 10 seconds. There was also reference to a member of staff being in ear shot of drugs being sold on the premises, as well as evidence of drug use on the dancefloor and in the toilets.
He continues to reference a separate police report from a later date of an intoxicated male in the chill-out area in a state of undress, whilst a member of staff wearing a fire marshal’s tabard was posing for photographs. This is claimed to, “Prove evidence of clear intoxication that isn’t acted upon by the staff. What this helps create is the perception of an environment tolerant of drugs.”
The Metropolitan Police representative continues, “There is concern as to whether fabric are doing enough to tackle the issue [of drug use on their premises].”
He claims, even if fabric can prove they have been doing enough, the licensing committee still have a responsibility to act in response to the deaths at the club, saying, “The council should seriously consider the revocation of fabric’s license.”
Last month a host of DJs — including Artwork, Sasha and Cassy — called upon London mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene to save the much-loved nightclub. Read more here:
Another officer has detailed how the Metropolitan police previously asked Fabric to produce harsher warnings on flyers about the possession of drugs.
Chief police officer now speaking about six deaths in the past five years.
The police representatives are now being challenged on whether they have looked at other way of approaching tackling these issues in venues, referencing work that has been done in Manchester with the Warehouse Project.
Metropolitan Police attended Warehouse Project last year, and witnessed officers on site with dogs.
They claim the two cannot be compared as the Manchester venue’s customers arrive all at one go, so the way they operate is different.
The meeting has adjourned, shortly after the claim that a university welfare office told police that drugs were freely available at fabric.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan responded to calls for him to save fabric, saying his hands are tied as it’s a “local authority issue,” but stated that he hopes all parties involved "find a common sense solution that ensures the club remains open while protecting the safety of those who want to enjoy London’s clubbing scene."
Warehouse Project, who were highlighted earlier, have demonstrated their support for fabric:
The licensing authority are now making their representations, reviewing conditions that were previously amended in fabric’s license.
Islington councillor has been assured that the licensing committee have evidence fabric has complied to these, whilst being told, “We are not adamant that drugs dogs are the way forward.”
Islington councillor highlights that there are areas that conditions on fabric’s license “could be improved” to tackle the issues outlined in the review.
Question raised whether the BPM of music played at the venue could be used to tackle drugs deaths.
A representative for the Department for Public Health has stated he is concerned about fabric’s approach to crime and disorder, stating they require evidence of how fabric will tackle the issue going forward.
Councillor returns to the age issue, with the deaths at fabric involving one over 25, and three 18-year-olds.
Department for Public Health’s major concern is about the zero tolerance approach to drugs, but following that a quick and rapid response to evidence of anyone suffering ill health from drug use, stating that education is the key to the latter.
Councillor asks whether fabric have a good outreach on public health and are responding appropriately when people are become distressed from drug use.
Representative of the Public Health department responds, “The concern is the open drug availability at the venue, but the club does have a facility to paramedics, and contacts health services when people are in distress.”
A clearly emotional ward councillor for Clerkenwell has spoken, stating, “I’m really sorry that we’re here today, but I’m not surprised, as in my experience I feel that the management of this club doesn’t take into account the welfare of their patrons. In that instance, I beg [the licensing committee] to consider revoking the license.”
fabric’s representation has now commenced.
fabric’s representation times have been altered owing to some confusion as to who would be speaking.
A local resident and regular attendee has started proceedings, stating that he has always been the subject of a thorough search, nor been offered illegal substances at the venue. Continuing, “I’m convinced the safety as fabric is flawless and a cut above the rest.”
A representative from the locality has spoken on behalf of his son, stating, “fabric is a venue with international reputation, and should be supported by Islington.
“Something should be done to stop to flow of drugs in our city, but putting the responsibility upon a venue doing things to tackle the issue is counterproductive and avoids dealing with the true issue itself.”
Alan Miller from the Nighttime Industries Association follows, saying, “After The Arches was closed in Glasgow, there was a proliferation of incidents in the area. Unfortunately in society people take drugs, the idea that a venue should be held responsible for that is unfair, and I feel closing it would actually exacerbate that.”
Alex Proud of The Proud Group has spoken in support of the Farringdon venue, referencing the “sheer number” of people that have been to fabric, continuing, “Those six deaths have come amongst two million people that have attended the venue during the time frame they occurred in.”
He also states that drug education is the key, and that closing fabric will only move the issue elsewhere.
Keep up to date on Twitter using #FabricReview
Another local resident has spoken, referencing research that shows the strength has gone up two or three times, which has added to the issue of drug deaths, going on to speak about her experience of stringent searches upon entry to the venue, concluding, “The closure of fabric will affect the city in a major way.”
fabric’s solicitor has addressed the council, stating that with the intervention of London Mayor to find an agreeable solution for all parties makes it clear “we have a difficult conundrum to address.”He goes on to state that fabric are offering to change the music policy on a Friday night, engage with the local police force to fund extra policing and put in place a new security company, amongst other things.
Fiona Measham co-director of The Loop and director of its drug testing, is now speaking, citing that ecstasy use has stayed roughly the same over the last 15 years, but deaths have gone up due to strength.
She also states that evidence shows the size of ecstasy tablets has got smaller, to make it easier to smuggle them across borders. This makes it harder for venues to find them on entry to a venue.
Measham continues, “In all my experience of drug testing at events in the UK, fabric are one of the best at providing security, paramedics and processes for welfare.”
She concludes, ”My professional view is that closing fabric would not reduce ecstasy use in London. The concern that closing a club creates displacement, which would potentially increase ecstasy related problems in the city.”
It’s fabric co-founder Cameron Leslie’s turn to talk, and he states that those at the venue haven’t had a chance to defend themselves, or discuss the licensing issue before the hearing.
He continues, “I cannot contest the notion that fabric is a safe haven for drugs enough,” whilst citing joint procedures with the Metropolitan Police for progressive approaches to tackling drug issues. “It’s frankly insulting to the efforts we’ve made during the years,” he says, labelling the police operation around fabric a “premeditated exercise”.
”Drug taking is endemic in British society, and there is no evidence to suggest closing a club will have an impact upon that.“
Leslie references Amsterdam and Berlin, who have turned the nighttime economy into tourism, in comparison to the “neoliberal policies” in New York have all but wiped out a once vibrant culture.
Leslie’s address is met with a huge response from the gallery.
Leslie’s address very much reflects fabric’s statement on creating an “industry gold standard for safe clubbing” last week, whilst stating that those at the club are eager to work with police.
Following fabric’s address the councillors are now is now posing questions to the fabric team, running through the license amends that fabric are offering, challenging that removing any member of staff found not to be sticking to procedures from their employment “isn’t exactly revolutionary”.
fabric’s solicitor counters that the venue are attempting to be transparent with authorities.
He continues by outlining “significant additions” to tackling drug issues in the venue, including raised podiums for security and increased staff and CCTV in areas of the club.
After focusing on fabric’s response to deaths at the venue, they’ve moved on to issues with the appeal they won to stop ID scans and drug dogs at the venue following a previous license review.
An Islington councillor is pressing Fiona Measham hard on references made to drug dogs not being the answer.
He also points to her previous work with the Liberal Democrats, pointing to their policies on legalising cannabis, and highlighting that their interest is protecting the interests of the license, despite previously stating that the hearing isn’t to discuss UK drug policy.
References made to a change in music policy on a Friday night are getting a lot of attention on Twitter:
Islington council are continuing to push hard on issues of patrons safety and welfare, but each member of the fabric team is meeting them with an informed response.
The council has referenced a drug death in January 2012, asking what happened in terms of changes that took place in terms of fabric’s approach to tackling the issue.
fabric pinpoint changes to search policies started at that time.
fabric co-founder Cameron Leslie, adds “I can’t stress the impact these [drug deaths] have on the team and the response made to them.”
The team also highlights the addition of a defibrillator, upping undercover security and improving air conditioning at the venue.
Council moves onto a later drug death, asking what measures were taken to tackle the proliferation of class A drugs in the venue.
fabric team highlights that the death was due to an individual who took a large dose of an unspecified substance in one go before entering the venue, highlighting changes in procedures and training to spot individuals under the influence of illegal substances upon entry to the venue.
The council moves onto later deaths in 2014, posing the same question on changes to policies in tackling fatalities at the venue.
Repeated reference from the fabric team to quick responses to people falling unwell at the venue and the response of their medical team.
The council has moved on to the relationship between fabric and the police. fabric’s co-founder stated earlier, “We are pro-active in our engagement with the police. We always have been.”
Committee chair Flora Williamson is continuing to drill into fabric’s response to drug use at the venue, with the fabric team highlighting a number of policies and aspects of staff training for patrons welfare.
Williamson concludes her questioning by referencing amendments to fabric’s license proposed by those at the venue. Co-founder Cameron Leslie drills deeper into certain aspects, highlighting that they would be keen to employ someone with a history in working for the police.
The council are focusing on fabric’s response to drug deaths at the venue, but many, including their team, are saying that closing the venue won’t have a positive impact.
Williamson moves on to asking whether an age limit would have a positive impact on issues at the venue.
Fiona Measham says is an “interesting proposition”, due to the vulnerability of young people to drugs such as ecstasy, but returns to the displacement attached, with those young people not attending fabric only likely to do it elsewhere.
Councillor Gary Poole returns to the use of drugs dogs at the venue, with the fabric team highlighting research around issues of patrons ingesting substances before entering the venue and questions around the effectiveness of dogs at finding illicit substances.
As the fabric team and Metropolitan Police discuss capacity at the venue, the public gallery remains packed.
Committee chair Flora Williamson now offers two minutes for each party to sum up their cases.
The Metropolitan Police representative starts, highlighting that changes in approaches to tackle drug issues at fabric have not been met, therefore revocation should be the first instance, as that evidence suggests any amendments to the license will be ignored.
The licensing committee follows, suggesting that changes to the license are necessary to ensure their requirements are met.
fabric conclude summing up, with the venue’s solicitor stating “we couldn’t have had a more invasive test of an operator,” whilst highlighting in 17 years of operation there has been no suggestion of breaking licensing until this year, and that there is no evidence of fabric being a haven for drug use.
fabric’s solicitor concludes by citing the 800+ positive submissions in support of the venue, and almost 150,000 signatures on the #SaveFabric petition, adding that closing the venue would throw out any research that has been produced by the Home Office or UK drug policy bodies.
“fabric has a clear and significant desire to constantly work to improve conditions,” he continues, before asking, “Have we really reached the tipping point where the venue must be closed?”
Following fabric’s summing up, councillor Flora Williamson adjourns the meeting whilst the committee meets to reach a decision.
Need something to sooth the nerves? Ricardo Villalobos’ #SaveFabric set from Saturday night on Rinse FM might work:
Not according to the atmosphere at Islington Town Hall...
We’re still fully functional.
The meeting to reach a verdict continues behind closed doors.
We ensure you we’ll be giving updates as soon as they happen.
The Licensing Sub Committee has reconvened the meeting to deliver its decision.
fabric’s license has been revoked.
Flora Williamson of the Licensing Sub Committee stated:
“The following facts were found to have occurred, two patrons have died at the venue this year, after purchasing drugs inside the nightclub.
“People entering the club were inadequately searched, and it was abundantly obvious patrons were under the influence of drugs.
“Deaths at the club have involved people that are very young, with numerous breaches of the licensing agreement, as a culture of drugs exists at the club which management cannot control.
“The Licensing Sub Committee has considered adding more conditions, but it does not feel these would be adequate in tackling the issue.
“We therefore decided that a revocation of the license is appropriate in that regard.”
This morning we woke up to a British dance music community entirely changed.
The proceedings at Islington Town Hall had massive impact on many people in London and across the world, and now questions are starting to be asked about what this means for British dance music.
It also raises issues around the precedent closing a venue for the reasons outlined by Islington council sets for other venues in the UK.
Immediately after the hearing, outside Islington Town Hall, the defiance of those challenging fabric’s closure was clear, with Alan Miller of the Night Time Industries Association, stating, ““We’re going to fight this, it’s an absolute travesty.
Fabric upholds a gold standard of professionalism in their operations, and what has happened tonight is a demonstration of knee-jerk reactions to close down our businesses and cultural centres.”
Talking to DJ Mag outside the hearing, Miller told of the intention now to set up a Fighting Fund to continue the campaign. “I’m going to call on everyone in Britain to contribute so that we can challenge this together,” he said. “My vote would be that we take this to appeal and also change Home Office language. This is not the end.
Read the full story here: http://djmag.com/news/fighting-fund-be-set-battle-fabric’s-closure
Islington Council described a “culture of drugs” at fabric, at the end of the licensing hearing that saw the Farringdon venue’s license revoked.
Various speakers defended fabric at the hearing, including Professor Fiona Measham of drug testing charity The Loop, Alan Miller of the Night Time Industries Association and Alex Proud of The Proud Group.
But it was fabric co-founder Cameron Leslie who gave the most educated, informed and damning defense against the case presented by police representatives.
Met by a huge applause from the public gallery, it pointed to how joint work with the Metropolitan Police since opening in 1999 has been showcased to other forces around the UK and to problem licensees within London.
Leslie’s speech went on to raise the fact that fabric co-founder Keith Reilly had to move his family out of their home and wear a bulletproof vest after standing up to a significant organised crime organisation who wanted to run drugs in fabric.
It also asked questions around the fact that, if a “culture of drugs” was to blame for the closure of fabric, why only one prosecution had been brought after something in the region of 80 arrests of drug dealers identified by security at the venue’s door.
Read the full speech here: http://djmag.com/news/fabric-co-founder-cameron-leslie’s-speech-islington-council-read-full
The full report from Islington Council stated that the license was revoked due to the presence of people in the club that were “sweating, [with] glazed red eyes and staring into space” whilst there was other “people asking for help”.
Earlier today the Mayor Of London, Sadiq Khan, issued a statement about the closure of Fabric.
“London’s iconic clubs are an essential part of our cultural landscape.
“Clubbing needs to be safe but I’m disappointed that Fabric, Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police were unable to reach agreement on how to address concerns about public safety.
“As a result of this decision, thousands of people who enjoyed going to Fabric as an essential part of London’s nightlife will lose out.”
You can read the full statement here: http://djmag.com/news/sadiq-khan-issues-fabric-statement-key-industry-figures-respond
Interesting reading about the Farringdon station on Crossrail’s Elizabeth line, which to “the eastern end is bound by Charterhouse Street, Lindsey Street and Long Lane,” the former location of fabric...
Read the full story here: http://www.crossrail.co.uk/route/stations/farringdon/
And a equally interesting tweet from Scuba below on a story from the Construct Enquirer, which says that the “Museum of London is advancing plans to build its new home in Smithfield Market as it seeks to appointment a professional engineering team.”
Right where fabric lies...
Read the full story here: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/09/01/museum-of-london-assembles-200m-smithfield-project-team/
Don’t forget to join DJ Mag’s #SaveOurClubs campaign, more important than ever to stand up to the squeeze by authorities on Britain’s nightclubs.
Get all the info here: http://djmag.com/news/join-dj-mag’s-saveourclubs-campaign
More traction on evidence that suggests Islington Council’s claims of a “culture of drugs” at fabric were used as a smokescreen in the revocation of the Farringdon venue’s license on The Independent earlier.
Their report points to “new documents obtained through a Freedom Of Information request suggest fabric closure was a long term plan orchestrated by a hard-up council, with the police as pawns and drug legislation as a constant, convenient excuse.”
DJs around the globe have taken to Twitter in support of fabric today.
DJ Mag gathered together some of the most poignant responses to the tragedy earlier — showing how the ongoing effect that the iconic London venue’s closure will have on the UK's nightlife should not be understated.
Read the full story here: http://djmag.com/news/djs-respond-fabric-closure
Lauren Laverne has turned in an insightful piece for The Pool, on the current struggle for UK nightclubs, and why we shouldn’t let the sun go down on them.
“Clubbing is a transcendent, communal experience that makes our cities better,” she says. “It's too important to lose.”