London: the changing face of the capital’s live music scene 👀
With Printworks holding its final club event over the weekend and the ongoing closure of Brixton Academy, we examine the changing landscape of the capital’s live music scene and what’s next for the events and spaces we love.
Let’s be honest.
The closure of venues has become a regular expectation across the UK, and every few years it seems lots of change occurs within a short space of time (followed by lots of petitions trying to save them from closure). For the capital, it would be an understatement to say the last 6 months have been fairly turbulent.
In December, Brixton Academy, one of South London’s biggest venues had its licence suspended after two people died during a crush outside the building.
In late April the Metropolitan police recommended that Lambeth council revoke the venue’s licence, to the uproar of music fans across the city. A petition has been set up to save the venue and currently has over 50k+ signatures.
This, for the moment at least, means Londoner’s have less options for seeing the acts they love, in space near to their part of town.
Compounded with the closure of Printworks – London’s heralded 5000 capacity space in Canada Water, things really will be a bit different heading into summer.
So what other options are still out there? Well for starters, we still have the weekly staples.
These spaces have had their fair share of ups and downs with licensing and re-development, but for the moment, the likes of Ministry of Sound, Fabric, Studio338, Brixton Electric, XOYO, The Steelyard, Phonox, Egg, Fire and E1 are here to stay and cater to all your usual promoters and some one-off bigger name gigs.
London has also seen the launch of a few new spaces over the last 12 months, albeit replacing those that were closed of relatively similar capacity.
HERE at Outernet near Tottenham Court Road station is an impressive 2000 capacity space and the first new purpose built venue in Soho in the 1940’s. Since opening their doors last summer they’ve hosted a ton of big names including Annie-Mac, Meduza and Jodie Harsh and have Abode lined up for later this month.
Broadwick Live, the people behind Printworks & WHP have also been hard at work exploring new venues to fill the press-halls shaped gap left after the venue’s closure. The Beams – which opened last summer is a great stop-gap venue until Printworks potentially* re-opens in 2026 following the re-development of the site.
Whilst this site isn’t the most accessible venue – feeling slightly out of the way compared to Printworks – it’s still a great space and is nearby to the Dockyards – a new open air venue which is due to play host to Solid Grooves, ASOT and WAH later this summer.
For now, London’s music scene remains strong in the face of so much change.
If there’s anything we’ve learnt from the last few decades (and with Fabric in particular), when the industry and music fans come together – spaces can be saved, even when the odds are stacked against them.
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