Having been crowned DJ Magazine’s best club in the world twice over its near two decade run, seminal London underground house and techno institution Fabric is now facing the –all-too-familiar- realities of narcotic-blamed closure.
Claiming recent incidents involving patrons falling seriously ill, culminating in the MDMA related death of an 18-year-old woman in September, Fabric’s license will go under review at the Islington council later tonight. Should the council vote on revocation; the result would mean an immediate closure of the beloved Farringdon venue.
In a rather vague police report, the ambiguous term “immaturity” relating to club patrons as the reason for past drug related incidents, hence justification for closure.
Police Commissioner Steve Harrington has publicly stated: “It [Fabric] attracts clientele from all over Europe and it would seem that the immaturity or lifestyle of these patrons leads to them becoming actively involved in the taking of illegal drugs. This could account for the disproportionate and wholly unacceptable number of deaths and near death incidents at the venue.”
London Police had reported 12 drug possession or dealing offenses between the 7-month period spanning April-October, with most instances involving MDMA and Ketamine. The offenses, as well as rising neighborhood concern, have put the spotlight on Fabric as one of the cities most troublesome nightspots, according to police.
One local resident describes watching a group of patrons, “out of their box on something more than alcohol”
To the contrary, a handful of residents remain embracing of the club and its place in neighborhood lore.
“Keep it open. This is the funkiness of the area we embraced,” stated one resident, while another offered this reassuring bit of common sense, “The club has such a world-renowned reputation and is on the list for many tourists. I find it appalling that people can move close to a nightclub that has stood there for 10 years, adding much to the city’s culture and diversity, and then complain about the noise.”
Despite the mixed reactions from law enforcement and residents, one thing remains certain: Fabric’s place amongst the underground techno nightclub hierarchy. Having hosted some 4000 of the world’s electronic music elite at over 2600 events, Fabric was named DJ Magazine’s Top Nightclub in 2007 and 2008 (#2, behind Berlin’s mighty Berghain, in 2009 & 2010). Aside from a venue, since 2001 Fabric has also released the highly respected, and veritable who’s who of underground dance music, mix series’ Fabric and FabricLive. The series’ kicked off with residents and club programmers Craig Richards and Terry Francis, and has featured everyone from John Digweed to Derrick Carter to Dave Clarke to Marcel Dettmann over 80+ installments.
A Facebook page and petition have been launched to save the club, while Fabric has also released an official statement on the matter:
“Fabric opened in October of 1999 and we’ve remained open over the 15 years since. Throughout this time, although the Farringdon area has changed, we’ve always prided ourselves on being a visible, approachable and integral part of the local community. Taking great lengths to work alongside and dialogue with local businesses and organisations we work tirelessly to ensure the safety of our patrons, at all times. We’ve run highly visible warning campaigns tackling numerous issues including drug use, safer travel, our harassment awareness initiative run in cooperation with Hollaback LDN and our Phone Safety campaign (which is now recognisable city-wide across London).
In short, we care deeply about the welfare of our patrons. fabric has always operated a zero tolerance drugs policy and we’re proud to continue to be open and honest in assisting the police with any incident investigations.
We employ two trained medics who are on site for the duration of all of our club events and, as a venue, we provide free water and non-judgmental advice from bar staff, stewards and security teams. The incidents referred to in the Met Police’s report are truly tragic events; incidents that we assure you our team reacted to in the quickest possible and most efficient manner – our medical staff have since been commended by senior coroners on their “impressive” and “quite extraordinary” level of expertise.
As a team we’ve all felt the shock and horror that a death on our premises can cause. We don’t take it lightly; in fact, we’re constantly adapting our protocols in direct reaction to them in the hope that these are changes we can make to our operational policy that will prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.
Our hearts and thoughts really do go out to all the friends and families of those involved.”