London's club scene reborn

Despite recent venue closures, a turn of events means London's clubs have a new lease of life

Published 9 Feb 2017, 15:00 GMT, Updated 8 Jul 2021, 11:37 BST
Fabric, London.

Fabric, London.

Photograph by Sarah Ginn

Fabric of society

After London's landmark club Fabric closed late last year due to municipal mishandling and misunderstanding, the Farringdon venue made a Lazarus-like return in January. According to the the club, this is thanks to the 'petition signers, letter writers, donors, T-shirt bearers, artists, party promoters and more than we can ever recount'. All hail international club community spirit.

The opening weekend saw trusted hands Craig Richards and Terry Francis — both resident since 1999 — performing alongside Seth Troxler and Daniel Avery. A new addition is the Pioneer Pro Audio Room showcasing the club's focus on high quality sound. Party on.

The fine print

With the Night Tube in action and Night Czar Amy Lamé directing party traffic, things are looking up in London. Printworks is a new 5,000-capacity licensed venue set in what was once Western Europe's largest print facility.

And the raving ramblers...

To ramble or to rave? The two may appear to inhabit different spheres of interest but at their heart share the same outdoors-loving, law-flouting approach. Or at least this is the backstory behind the launch of new outdoors clothing brand RMBLR, which aims to create clothing that looks as good on the dance floor as it does deep in the dales. According to RMBLR, back in the days of CND and psychedelia, "hiking became a way to escape the aggressive political machine and reconnect with nature. Further out, rave culture saw weekend convoys descend upon England's green and pleasant land looking for a party, from Blackburn to the M25." As those '80s ravers have grown up, rambling may well be a safer pursuit — not exactly easier on the knees but definitely on the liver.

So pop on your beanie, pack your roll-top and camo print backpack, and make the pilgrimage from abandoned mill to rolling hills. In celebration of these new escapist threads, countercultural publisher Huck has come up with three hiking routes through the UK's most iconic rave cultural hotspots. And yes, there's more to them than meeting up at the local Esso station and wandering along a bypass. Our favourite is the route that explores the river and farmland setting for the game-changing 1989 Biology rave in Watford that saw some 10,000 people show up to hear Paul Oakenfold, Trevor Fung, Grooverider, Paul Trouble Anderson and Nicky Holloway do their stuff in the open air.

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Published in the March 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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