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  • Mike Alhadeff

Everyone wants to have a bit of a dance once in a while

Nightclubs.


They are just one of many things which have been missed over the last year.


They have been absent the longest and will be the last to return (with a provisional return date of June 21.)


In their absence, it has been recognised the important role they play.


Unless you are a swivel-eyed government minister, nightclubs aren’t just a place to get mashed with your mates on a Saturday night.


They allow for self-expression, a chance to lose yourself against the maelstrom of daily life and an opportunity to connect with others.


They also provide a fertile breeding ground for creative talent, everyone from musicians, dancers to technicians, who hone their skills in the informal environments provided by nightclubs.


As a result, many have felt excluded from an important aspect of their lives.


But what if you’ve felt permanently excluded from nightclubs?


For many, disabled people this has often been the case.


Either through practical limitations or just the sense of ‘I don’t feel wanted here’, many have felt nightclubs to be off-limits, cutting them off from an important aspect of their social lives, particularly in their late teens and twenties.


So, with the eventual re-opening of nightclubs hopefully later this year, now may be the chance to make them accessible to all.



Music festivals such as Glastonbury have often led the way in providing accessibility to live music events


It may require some thinking and hard work, but it would be absolutely worth it.


Clearly, there are important challenges to recognise. Not all nightclubs can be made accessible overnight, if at all. I’m a big fan of the Soho Arts Club, but squeezed into a tiny basement in the centre of Soho makes it an unlikely candidate for accessibility.


Soho Arts Club, one of the many drinking establishment which make Soho such a nightlife hotspot ©BoeMagazine


But some of the bigger nightclubs such as Fabric could do more to improve their accessibility, for example installing more ramps and grab rails, providing straws and ensuring staff are properly trained. While nightclubs are still in hibernation, now is the perfect opportunity to crack on with some of the above.


More can also be done to raise awareness and visibility of disability and clubbing in order to make disabled people feel comfortable about going to nightclubs. Special nights could be put on such as they already do for the LGBT+ community. In a similar vein, their nights won’t hopefully feel exclusive to disabled people, but a recognition of the right to be there and a chance to mingle.


Fabric Nightclub, one of the most famous nightclubs in London ©Shutterstock


The nightlife scene has lost so much over the last year or so.


Hopefully, it will come back bigger and better than ever before – and most importantly, accessible to all.


Because, after all, everyone wants to have a bit of a dance once in a while.



Like most people, disabled people just want to have fun on a night out ©BubbleClub



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