Is weekly clubbing a thing of the past?

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We’re now up to the third chapter in our five-part debate series, having already chewed over whether dance music’s too easy and how dubstep’s faring in 2012. Well, now comes the time to tackle a new topic – and just like the last couple of weeks there are prizes for getting involved in the debate. All this is powered by Hyundai Veloster, and of course the need to stay entertained on Friday. So let’s get stuck in.

In an interview with our sister site FasterLouder this week, Big Day Out founder Ken West gave a frank assessment of the Australian festival scene: “This is the reality at the moment: everyone’s suffering from overspending or lack of attendance.” It’s a diagnosis that comes after Big Day Out – with a Boiler Room line-up of Royksopp, Nero, Bassnectar and Girl Talk – was forced to make some major changes to its 2012 plans.

While the claim that “everyone’s suffering” in the festival market doesn’t look so watertight from where we’re sitting, the bubble has burst. From the glut of festivals that have elbowed their way onto the scene in the last five years, only the robust remain. In our in-depth Clubs Special feature series from 2010, all the promoters we interviewed were unanimous in the opinion that festivals had taken their toll on clubs.

“You can’t take tens of thousands of people out of the club scene over summer and expect nothing to change,” said Daniel Michael from Adelaide’s biggest club, HQ. “If people spend $200-$400 at a festival then for most people that means no clubbing for a week or two – or even the whole month.” Scott Walker from Brisbane’s underground-leaning Drop had this to say: “There’s no doubt in my mind that festivals have killed or seriously maimed the club scene. It’s a shame, because in a perfect world festivals should feed the club scene by exciting the punters’ appetite and opening their ears to new sounds and artists – but in reality it only causes people to become narrow-minded and not go out in between festivals.”

They’re both points that were echoed right around the country. In the near-two-years since that feature went online, there have been numerous festival casualties. So has that spelled good news for the club scene? With fewer festivals in the picture, are we seeing more of our favourite acts on darkened dancefloors late at night? The answer, of course, will be different from city to city – especially given the trend for some key DJ tours to visit Sydney and Melbourne only.

Adelaide’s Sugar is one club that consistently takes a punt on visiting house and disco talent that may otherwise only do the Sydney-Melbourne double, and we spoke to Sugar’s managing director Driller ‘Jet’ Armstrong in 2010 about how that can be a gamble. “Joakim played on a Sunday night in Adelaide two years ago and remarked to me, ‘There is nothing like this in Paris on a Sunday night, Driller’. The club was very busy and he was shown great appreciation on the dancefloor. We had him back on a Sunday night last month and he played to 15 people!”

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Makkaaa said on the 19th Jan, 2012

In my 'uneducated' opinion I believe the decline in music festivals can be partially explained by the mentality of clubbers. People my age (18) have the mindset that clubbing involves going to a mainstream, young nightclub (Room, Club Soda, Can't Say, Sorry Grandma) (In Melbourne) and drinking lots.

This 'experience' costs them in excess of over $100 dollars a night, and for many, more (consider cab fairs as well). Now a fair amount of these people don't give two shits about what music they listen to, and just listen to whatever is being played on the radio. The fact that they have no money or like no artists causes them to not go to music festivals or even club nights where artists are being played at.

I for one have a different opinion, that I should support the artists by going to see them live, where it be in an intimate sense or in a big festival. I believe a change in mentality of people is required for more large festivals to occur.


marlee_is said on the 20th Jan, 2012

i just genuinely hate the music at clubs. why cant there be an indie rock/brit pop club or bar. or maybe there is and ive just never found it.


brockism said on the 20th Jan, 2012

Club > Festival anyday.


jeffnitsch said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I like a bit of variety. Live bands, dingy pubs, classy cocktail bars, hip clubs, late night dumpling bars. Having a weekly is sooooo 2011


rdalt13 said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I'd rather go to clubs to support my favourite artists. As Makkaaa said, it's more intimate


Mindfull-1 said on the 20th Jan, 2012

The youth are soft as these days. Plus they are bigger sheep then any generation before them. They couldnt handle partying with the big boys.

short sirkut

short sirkut said on the 20th Jan, 2012

personally when you look at melbournes club scene its just another room with another dj. london and leeds and even seem to have down pat with a bit of variation in scenery. dont get me wrong i lve going out in melbourne but i have more fun in a pub chilling out and then mayeb hearing a busker play some beatles song on the walk home have a sing away. festivals are what i spend my money on im dedicated to make it to them and even solo shows are the best it gives me something to look forward to and let the night unfold with a start and at some point a place to end with every random adventure inbetween


Goog5 said on the 20th Jan, 2012

It's plain and simple

Festivals = Over priced tickets , time table clashes, high priced drinks but good international Dj's

Clubs = to many bullshit politics of ratios, dress codes and high priced just to get in to see some Dj that plays the exact same shit in every other club you go to.

All in all the scenes dieing, people are throwing the towel in and saving up abit of cash to party in overseas!


aRibro said on the 20th Jan, 2012

When an international dj headlining a festival such as FMF does a side gig, the side gig is always better. there is no vibe at festivals anymore, they have gotten too big. it is just a few thousand people standing in front of a stage. but when you go to a side show, you have this unbelievable vibe. perfect example was Armin van Buuren at Stereosonic this year. no vibe whatsoever. However, his sideshow was absolutely amazing. the vibe was unreal.

The other problem with festivals these days is that they are all the same. There is no distinguishing factor, they all consist of a stage with a screen, maybe some lasers and a dj booth. You see some festivals in Europe like Defqon, Outlook festival, Kazantip etc, they provide a different experience rather than the boring stage with dj setup that we see at every single festival here in Australia. And for the price we are paying for these festivals we have not really seen anything different. FMF a few years ago was around $80-$90 for a ticket.. it is now $150. so we pay about $60 more for the ticket.. but how is the festival different to what it used to be? its still exactly the same, just a little bigger minus the vibe.


Digitalgrub said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I think part of the problem is that there's still that focus on internationals, and just having locals doesn't seem to cut it with the market (regardless on their skill and track selection). Many places that have 'residents' seem very much about the commercial end of the spectrum, with the same electro/house/dubstep/trash tunes that you hear at every other club.

Talking to older clubbers who are now in their mid 30s, it seemed like clubbing was a lot more casul (in clothes and attitude) and more about having a great party - now there's very much a focus on dress-codes, cocktails and music that will please a larger audience.

Also, I'd say a lack of venues is a problem too - you can't really have a packed dancefloor going off in a glorified bar... where are the nightclubs?


ry44nn said on the 20th Jan, 2012

this debate is a good one. personally i went from favouring club nights by a long shot to OMG festivals - you just cant beat them and now im back to the clubbing...

i dont think club nights will ever die because people are always gonna get over the festival ticket prices and shitty crowds/stages getting closed off etc.

you look at chinese laundry in sydney, fridays, saturdays every week its got a good crowd, i dont think weekly clubbing will ever die, it just needs new and improved things at some places....

for instance tank in sydney... why oh why would you close down a club that pulled lines all the way down the hill, im talking like a km worth of lines on some nights. stupid stupid decision... it just needed someone new to take over instead, thankfully laundry seem to have their heads on straight and continue to pull decent acts not that it even matters in there with the sound system that blows your head off!


Weinertron said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I look back on my weekly clubbing days with warm nostalgia. We were a family. It was the only period in my life I ever went solo clubbing. Half the khunts there were ITMers. During the weeks between parties, we would chat online and dissect the previous week, and amp up for the upcoming week. The parties were free. The club was dingy. The lighting was non-existent. You could get away with having an epic night and only hand over 50 bucks. The techno was banging and the DJ's were skilled and/or hilarious and played techno remixes of East 17 (Mike Hunt I'm looking at you). There were rarely more than 50 people there. There has never been a vibe quite like it.

What place am I talking about? MTC of course.

Of course everyone is going to have a similar story/event/weekly which holds a special place in their heart. Other weekly nights will never hold a candle to "The weeklies of Yore"(TM). What sucks is that the young'uns who are up and coming in the EDM scene are not being given the opportunity to cut their teeth on a cool, funky and CHEAP night on the town. I was not earning much money back then and if there was any entrance fee involved, that would have quickly counted me out for the following weeks' festivities. Also, there were no drug buses back then and drug driving was quite rampant, so scoring a lift home would generally save another $25 - $50 for your night out.

Fuck I sound like such a jaded motherfucker, but it's not the case. It's just that MTC was my favourite event and any other of youse khunts will have a favourite weekly of your own. When they're gone, they're gone... replaced by a watered down copy of the night with pricier drinks, "progressive" fashion and slightly less full-on music.

This post had no direction and it really shows. [/end]


Saliki said on the 20th Jan, 2012

A regular night needs to be special. IMO, there's not many special ones. Non-weekly ticketed events in clubs are often considered the special nights because they provide punters with a guarantee that they're in for a special night together with people who are like-minded and are there specifically for the music.

There's such a plethora of events everywhere all the time (I'm from Melbourne, btw) that a weekly night really has to fight for my loyalty. Now, there's only one night that get's a regular pilgrimage from me (that isn't filled with DJs that think they're the next Boys Noize, Kaskade, or David Guetta, where you can't hear their music over their ego).

If you want loyalty, you need to win it.

You want trust in a weekly night (obviously, a weekly night can't be that good a night if you need 10 drinks in you to cope with the atmosphere) - and once again, the trust comes through good music.

Because really, there's no other reason why I would go out to a nightclub. I mean, MUSIC, that's what a nightclub is for, dammit!


Digitalgrub said on the 20th Jan, 2012

That's really true about costs Weinertron, some clubbing is just too expensive!

Final thought: all this stuff goes in waves - the festival market has burst, so weekly clubbing will come back, it just takes time for the market to adjust. An old quote I heard... "Dance music doesn't start with raves - the only reason you can put on a rave (or festival) is if the clubbing crowd is big enough to support it."


woodyb said on the 20th Jan, 2012

this will change once everyone gets over the shit fight that is most festivals. would prefer a club anyday.


jarrardscott said on the 20th Jan, 2012

i just get tired too early for clubs.
i prefer day parties @ outdoor club venues.
yes im soft. :lol:


crazystaceyg said on the 20th Jan, 2012

i have to 100% agree with what Goog5 said... clubs are a nightmare with their silly politics, e.g. dresscode

A couple of weeks ago, we all went out (10 of us) and one guy couldn't get in because he was too underdressed so we left to go somewhere else and another guy couldn't get in because he was too overdressed. WTF. Another night they wouldn't let my boyfriend in even though I was on the guest list 1 because they "weren't letting guys in". I mean come on....

Also, festivals and clubs are the same here in Aus no matter where you go. Hence why my friends and I now save up and do our partying in Greece, Vegas, etc.

In my opinion, there needs to be more variety and more value for money these days to make it worthwhile otherwise people WILL take their money overseas.

And once you've been to places like Ios in Greece, Vegas, and gone to Coachella, you come back to Aus and nothing compares. What's the point?


JackT said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I just can't get behind the notion that it's automatically more amazing clubbing overseas, so what's the point in going out here. That seems insane to me. I honestly have had nights - many of them - out in Australia that rival anything I've done overseas.


roarz said on the 20th Jan, 2012

i think this is a greater issue than just the clubs and the music. i think the global economy is making things much more difficult than they use to be as only the big successful organisers are the ones keeping their head above water like Big Day Out and Future Music Fesitval but, even Big Day Out has admitted times ain't easy with festivals anymore. unfortunatly, the weekly club nights are ones that sufferred the most from the struggling economy as with many other sectors in business struggling as a result of the economy (eg. retail). we only need to look back at 2007 & 2008 when the economy was booming and remember that there were festivals everywhere and club nights going strong! and as a result of the ecomony, people are spending carefully and like me are waiting to only spend their money on their favourite acts where they are guaranteed a good night. so, over time when the economy improves again, we will see improvement again in both the weekly club nights and the festivals.


matzta73 said on the 20th Jan, 2012

Like fashion, the music industry is no different, it is all cyclical, and just as fashion swings into different styles every few years, the last few years have been all about the music festival and then it will slide back into the clubs.

Since being in the club and festival scene for well over 15 years, I have seen so many clubs come and go, one that comes to mind is Sublime (pitt st) then Sublime at Home nightclub (it ran for over a decade) and run out of steam, they tried everything to keep it going.

It is all about supply and demand.

Clubbing will have its day again!

In my opinion, if you are attending an event for the music, EDM sounds best on a club sound system (if it is set up right), hands down!!!

No matter how good they try to make the sound systems outdoors the sound just gets lost.



MangoDC said on the 20th Jan, 2012

In my weekly clubbing heyday (2004-2005) I used to go to "Family" @ Seven in Melbourne. You'd see the same faces (punters and djs) on a weekly basis and it felt like your second home. I'd never miss a week. Great times.

I believe musical tastes have changed and the youth generally prefer electro-poppy stuff rather than house/tech styles which were in vogue in early to mid 2000s. Perhaps the decline of MDMA may also have something to do with it.


Jammie said on the 20th Jan, 2012

The issue is......... its to expensive to be a regular thing, covercharge and drinks these days are crazy. No body ever has specials or deals anymore. 25 bucks for 2 beers? festivals are dear, but at least you can see a couple of good artists and get your fix for a couple of months, intern not need to go as often


Fr3ak said on the 20th Jan, 2012

Im from sydney

One of the major problems with the club scene these days is the people on the door..

I have one mate (male) who i go clubbing with nearly every week, we go out and support our fav djs no matter where they playing and are just really into the music and we have no problems ever getting in anywhere

but a good 80% of my other males mates have a completly different clubbing expirence to what we do cause they are always constantly worring about not being let in to the club, always have to organise females to go with, make sure they get there really early and so forth.

and its shit like this that kills the scence because its gets to the point where you dont wanna go through all the effort just to blow a few hundred dollars on a night you prob wont remember half of.


FreeEasy said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I think its because drugs are shit these days.


benjiswan said on the 20th Jan, 2012

Japan 4, Saturday nights at Ambar in Perth. Only local residents banging it out. Just need a concise vision of what you want and an excellent sound system and DJs


addz said on the 20th Jan, 2012

People shouldn't waste there hard earned cash on shit clubs but i understand why people do. Because a week at the grind you wanna get out have fun and relax but these days clubbing is far from relaxing, the cost of the over priced drinks, aggressive door fags over crowded clubs and the fear of not getting in thus ruining your night also Its taking all the fun out of it. Also there is the exorbitant cover charges like the $10 bourbons im buying aren't enough to cover your $200 DJ? But people still people flock to the over crowded clubs get rorted have a shit night and forget about and do it all again, yes people are sheep. Boycott i say.

Festivals are more relaxed and your more free to do what you want, be loud as you want to be and a much better atmosphere and better artists. But again if people start going hey this is overpriced and go no its not worth going promoters will have start getting the message when the festival attendance drops off. Then there is the outrageous drink prices there also.

But people keep going getting ripped of and coming back for more what can you say ? people are ....


addz said on the 20th Jan, 2012

People shouldn't waste there hard earned cash on shit clubs but i understand why people do. Because a week at the grind you wanna get out have fun and relax but these days clubbing is far from relaxing, the cost of the over priced drinks, aggressive door fags over crowded clubs and the fear of not getting in thus ruining your night also Its taking all the fun out of it. Also there is the exorbitant cover charges like the $10 bourbons im buying aren't enough to cover your $200 DJ? But people still people flock to the over crowded clubs get rorted have a shit night and forget about and do it all again, yes people are sheep. Boycott i say.

Festivals are more relaxed and your more free to do what you want, be loud as you want to be and a much better atmosphere and better artists. But again if people start going hey this is overpriced and go no its not worth going promoters will have start getting the message when the festival attendance drops off. Then there is the outrageous drink prices there also.

But people keep going getting ripped of and coming back for more what can you say ? people are just ...

House partys !!!


ChemicalPunk1986 said on the 20th Jan, 2012

'I think its because drugs are shit these days.'


short sirkut

short sirkut said on the 20th Jan, 2012

it could be, but things are slowly picking up again and the clubs latley ive been to are getting a good vibe


s2b69 said on the 20th Jan, 2012

is there even such a thing as a club that plays underground dance music any more. there used to be plenty that were not about the image of the customers. Tweakin, club kooky, sabotage parties , the bentley bar it seems that mad racket is the only thing that is along the vibe of the old days . i could go on but whats the point. you kids dont realize what you missed out on. no sniffer dogs indoor smoking....FREEDOM. Gen X was the last to experience it. sorry


dazza_b said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I don't take drugs, nor have I ever (not that I have anything against them). I wish I could afford to go out every week but drinks are too expensive and most of the clubs my mates are likely to go to play music that I don't like and will probably just hear on the radio. Living in the suburbs is also a death sentence if you want to go out regularly. $70-$90 taxi each way, little to no drinking to be safe or risk loosing your license.

mr flauge

mr flauge said on the 20th Jan, 2012

I'm sick of hearing this bullshit about festivals dying.
As far as I can see, more people are attending festivals these days. Just coz the big day out has easily the most rubbish lineup in it's history, and no one wants to pay 180.00 to see Kanye West who is average or watch girl talk press play and shoot toilet paper at them, doesn't mean festivals are dying.
Steroidsonic had 60,000 attendees in Sydney which would be much more than We Love Sounds and Good Vibes combined. (Good Vibes isn't dead either, just rescheduled).
Field Day had its largest ever crowd this year, Subsonic also, and I'm sure Future will also pull more people than ever.
Festivals aren't dead, but if you throw a dud lineup and try to charge people a quarter of their salary to attend, your festival is.


F_Grimes said on the 20th Jan, 2012

One of the worst things about festivals (which also contributes to making a shitty vibe) is that they're during the day time. 90% of it is in broad daylight with maybe 2 hours at the end at night. There is just zero atmosphere on a dancefloor when you're standing there in 30 degree heat.

Yes, I know overnight festivals are never going to happen in the inner city (or very rarely e.g. Sensation).. but if they did, I'd definitely go to - and enjoy - more of them. I know this is a bit unrelated to the clubbing/festival comparison. Even 4pm til 2am would be so much better.


trancekid said on the 20th Jan, 2012

Im from sydney. i think there are a few variables which affect the current clubbing scene:

urban sprawl & cab fares - I think because sydney and other capital cities do have such huge urban sprawls that people can rarely justify spending $ on cab fares from the city to home. i live a 20 minute drive from the CBD but it still costs me at least $40 to get home from a night out. friends of mine who live 30-40 minutes from the CBD have to spend $100 . Due to the ever-increasing presence of douchebags and trouble makers on nightriders, and the few convenient locations they do travel to, clubbers have good reason to not go out just to save themselves money on a cab or from getting into a fight.

Gen Y - Gen Y are the main demographic which go clubbing, and because living in sydney IS so expensive, they are more likely to live at home with their parents instead of moving closer to the city, and this ties in with my previous point about it being expensive/dangerous to travel home from the suburbs.

how dangerous the X is - the last 3-4 times ive gone to the cross there has been brawls. not just fights, actual brawls in which the aggressors pick on random bystanders. the heavy police and security presence isnt enough to comfort people.

dress codes/ racism of doorguys - a few of my friends are middle eastern and even italian, and are the nicest guys you could ever meet and would not hurt a fly but because of stereotypes they dont get into clubs most of the time, which is reason enough to stay home.

festivals lifting expectations - After going to a few festivals in my time, a random club night which has all the above attributes starts to look pretty shit compared to one good day out with all your friends where there are world class artists with world class production and a vast array of EDM genres, and people are more likely to make an occasion of a festival than the weekly pilgrimage to the city where too many things have to go right just for a good 4-5 hrs.

its awesome to see great club events like laidback luke, carl cox and kyau and albert coming up though. club events are better than festivals (markus schulz nye was the best event (both festivals and club ive been to) but clubs just have to become that extra bit special so they can drag people away from the festivals again. i do believe club events will take over from festivals soon, but only the ones which have big names and great production like fake/ivy/laundry.

/end rant


lawlietskyy said on the 20th Jan, 2012

If you're going to choose a promoter DJ who can't beatmatch and plays LMFAO and top 30 all night & then you ask the question about club life dying ... its preeeeety self explanatory IMO ...


ezza69 said on the 21st Jan, 2012

FreeEasy hit the nail on the proverbial melon..

Drugs have been shit for a few years now. Simple as that.

Give me a batch of Beige A's from 2004 and I'll be clubbing every Friday and Saturday night


willwho said on the 21st Jan, 2012

@ marlee_is - get back to faster louder - this is an edm forum


camlv said on the 21st Jan, 2012

I think the promoter DJ killed the club scene in Melbourne not so much festivals. If I want to go out in Melbourne on a sat night that plays dance music I like I have no fucking idea where to go.

Maybe Goog5 point of sex ratios is part of it. I reckon guys are more likely to like non-pop EDM and clubs would not want to create an environment where its mostly guys so they tailor their music to girls.


Kiron said on the 21st Jan, 2012

This also I think Uncyclopedia put it best

Civic - where the lowest common denominator congregates every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Those with sense avoid it but finding young people with sense in Canberra is like searching for a condom machine in the Vatican. With a vast sprawl of horrendous nightclubs filled with psuedo-drinkers looking for a fight you'll find a night out in Civic a refined and enlightening experience. The sight of fat, orange scantily clad young girls and their beefcake boyfriends stumbling around aimlessly, vomiting, may trick you into thinking you've somehow stumbled into the Jersey Shore. However, be warned, these people have about double the aggression and half the intelligence or charisma of "Snooki" or " The Situation" so do not be surprised if you end your night with a broken nose because you glanced vaguely in the direction of a Mooseheads patron, girls included.

Arguably the culmination of all that is wrong with young people in Australia, Civic is truly a sickening experience.

Canberra's scene is filled with too many douchebags, the older crowd is moving on, most of the young people who like decent music bail to Melbourne as soon as they finish school and the crowd that is left is way to small. (There is a decent Brostep crowd here in Canberra, but they don't seem very supportive of other forms of Dance Music and I honestly believe they are just riding the fad so meh)

There is hope though as some people in this city are willing to try put on decent parties that are not held at generic club venue's and focus on good dance music so who knows, maybe the future is bright.


damdamodam said on the 22nd Jan, 2012

A couple of points.. I don't think i've ever found release tix's from promoters. I'm on mailing lists & the first time i usually find out about a event its already on 2nd release. Theres a huge difference in entry price between cities. Point being AN21 & Max = $45 in sydney, $10 @ the met in brisbane, Thomas Gold $10 at the met.. At Ivy it will be how much? guessing $35 for first release.. Happy to buy $10 drinks & pay cover but Sydney seems to be saying that people are fickle... seems these inconsistencies irk me.. I realise it might be to do with the cost of staging it here in sydney but that what business is all about - making it better for less. No wonder we've had such a massive couple of years of international artists & festivals of such scale. Strong aussie dollar & we must be paying artists massive overs.. SHM at Miami was around $40 last year so it must still be profitable.. don't think a sideshow here would come under $100 (not that it will be happening)


gedwashere91 said on the 22nd Jan, 2012

Does anyone else think that the apparent slow demise of clubbing could have anything to do with the increasingly mainstream status of dance music? Surprised nobody has mentioned this yet.

I mean, it makes sense right? When pop music was still dominated by RnB / Rap stylings, EDM clubs had something that shitty mainstream bars didn't. Now that the top 40 is absolutely DOMINATED by 128bpm pop-house rubbish (everyone from Flo Rida to Black Eyed Peas to Rihanna to David Guetta), less-musically-discerning young uni students who want to have a good time on the dancefloor after too many Double Blacks don't need to go to a nightclub, they can just go to a shitty bar full of wankers in suits and they think that's a great night out.

I'm speaking just as a friend of such non-musically-discerning uni students, and as the only person who wants to go to a real club on a lot of nights I pretty damn frustrated at kids who think that Fridays Riverside or The Vic (in Brisbane) have raging awesome dancefloors.


Ben Royal

Ben Royal said on the 22nd Jan, 2012

I think there is a combination of a lot of factors that have worked against weekly clubbing the last few years:

1. Festivals. Yes, they are hurting clubbing but the bubble is bursting. I can see major, established festivals (FMF, SS, BDO, PL, GV) surviving but start-up festivals wont have a chance. I think even the big guys will have to re-think their festivals in terms of drink and ticket prices over the next few years as they wont have the luxury of charging whatever they want and people still paying. I dont bother with festivals unless there is an amazing lineup as its just too hard and expensive to have a good day.

2. The more internationals that are brought out, the less likely people are to go to weekly nights featuring just locals. If I can see an international at Billboard for $30 vs locals only somewhere else like 161 for $20 I will pick the international.

3. The GFC caused people to re-assess their spending. When you are unsure if you will have a job next month and the value of your house is decreasing suddenly spending $100 on alcohol at some 'exclusive' club isn't a top priority.

4. As others have said, the quality of pingas has decreased dramatically.

5. The generation of the 'ITM crew' I believe are now largely growing up and moving on. I know lots of regular ITMers who have been active on this site for 5 years and now are too old to go out every single weekend so pick and choose more carefully. Add to this the stupid door policies of some of the 'exclusive' weekly nights in Melbourne and its just so much easier to go to 1 ticketed event a month than somewhere weekly for the same crap every week.

I think things will get better for clubs and worse for festivals but the 'glory days' of clubbing are well and truly over (remember when Tank did Defected In The House weekly one summer? Imagine that happening now?). Proper house music has decreased in popularity as electro, then dubstep and the big-room SHM trancey-synth sound has replaced it. Im just glad I have got to experience the glory days and can now move on to other things. There are more important things in life than getting drunk in nightclubs every weekend.


mattski88 said on the 23rd Jan, 2012

Alot of places aren't bringing in any International acts anymore. They only do sideshows.. Kink was the best back at Arthouse. Chinese Laundry is one of the only possible places you can go to now, to see some international acts. Famous at home was good aswell.

The whole other factor is the stupid dress code policy. How the f*ck can I dance in black shoes? FFS!


justbecause said on the 23rd Jan, 2012

Does anyone else think that the apparent slow demise of clubbing could have anything to do with the increasingly mainstream status of dance music? Surprised nobody has mentioned this yet.

I mean, it makes sense right? When pop music was still dominated by RnB / Rap stylings, EDM clubs had something that shitty mainstream bars didn't. Now that the top 40 is absolutely DOMINATED by 128bpm pop-house rubbish (everyone from Flo Rida to Black Eyed Peas to Rihanna to David Guetta), less-musically-discerning young uni students who want to have a good time on the dancefloor after too many Double Blacks don't need to go to a nightclub, they can just go to a shitty bar full of wankers in suits and they think that's a great night out.

I'm speaking just as a friend of such non-musically-discerning uni students, and as the only person who wants to go to a real club on a lot of nights I pretty damn frustrated at kids who think that Fridays Riverside or The Vic (in Brisbane) have raging awesome dancefloors.


You are 100% on the money and I am essentially in the exact the same position as you. We can only hope that the bubble that is the current trend pops. I'd most definitely be a "weekly clubber" if there was enough people in Brisbane interested in EDM to make it viable for our promoters to book a lot of the acts Sydney and Melbourne get. That said make the most of what we have here, go out, have a good time and populate the dance floor!


Danny_P-Man said on the 23rd Jan, 2012

My opinion is that younger generations just start bitching it more and more the younger they get... I was only talking about how much fun we used to have on Sunday nights going from Dragonfly then to Ladylux and bending it til the sun came up almost. These days nothing is even open on Sundays. I have been told stories from older dj's I know who told me they would be playing pretty much 5 - 7 days a week, and each event was good. these days you go out on a Friday and its hit and miss... At the same time I understand it is expensive to have a big night out. but in years past I have had a great night on 30 / 40 dollars before, all you need is good company, music, atmosphere and your there


mitchpk said on the 23rd Jan, 2012

I used to be one of those punters who would work weekends and save money for tickets to pretty much every festival, but in the last twelve months there has been an obvious decline in calibre of festival punters (at main stages anyway). Less music appreciation and having a good time with friends and sunshine and music - and more posing with the boyz showing off your just healed tribal sleeve and getting as fucked up as humanly possible.
That being said, in those last twelve months I have been to some amazing club gigs - Hernan Cattaneo, Stanton Warriors, Sebastien Leger, Wax Motif and the Your Shot competition (even residents at joints like Zuri, Byblos and Laruche) I think clubs (or at least some) are leaning towards quality over quantity now, and even if that's not bringing in the big bucks, they have my attendance.


Timski said on the 23rd Jan, 2012

I'm not really for attending a weekly club because I just can't be arsed heading there for the sake of it. I also can't stand music festivals these days due to the crowds, prices and just the overall balls ups they always end up being, it was simply a case of being burned one two many times with set-time clashes, turning the music down, drink likes like cattle yards... etc, that made me never want to give them any more money.

These days the only thing that makes me head out is when an international artist is playing at a club, they always seem to play a more enjoyable set possibly due to them not wanting to let their fans down as they're the main focus of the night.


sydj said on the 23rd Jan, 2012

There is more to this argument/discussion than festivals vs clubs. The state of not only our own economy, but the global economy has had more of an impact than people realise. Whethere poeple admit it or not, since the GFC, the general public is more conscious of their spending habits and that includes club/festival goers. Couple that with the enormous prices of attending a club/festival (transport, drinks, food, maybe some merch, etc...) and you can start to see why both clubs and festivals are hurting. Add to this the plethora of other "entertainment options" that are available to all demographics and the picture becomes even gloomier.

If the economy ever returns to its pre-GFC stability (which doesn't look like it will happen any time soon), you can expect a resurgence of both clubs and festivals.


ezekii said on the 23rd Jan, 2012

just a few things to say, from a outsider living in town for a couple of years now.

this is a really good discussion.
i really think the music/ night life community should get together to work with the council something to improve the weekly club scene. also promoters should get together

Sydney is a major entertainment city, with out a proper night life. there is no clubs here. you can`t call chinese laundry as a club! or home! the place might look like a club, but to make it a club you need much more, decent people, great vibes, less bouncers, good line ups(no friends on the line up, please), longer hours.

* there are too(x2) many promoters out there, they all have money to book internationals, they have friends djing for them(if they are not djs already), but most of them don`t have a crowd, they are all sharing the same crowd! and they all stop with their weekly events before they build their own crowd. in the end they are ruining others promoters crowd, adding another crap event to the night life calendar, booking inexperienced djs(because they bring 10/20 friends to the gig) and they all claim to play top quality underground music(biggest bull shit because they all play the same tunes, a couple of years ago was trance, than electro, than techno came along, after techno all kids in town were playing minimal, deep house came in 2010 as the next big thing, by middle 2011 was the deep/disco/house thing, hot nature. cross town stuff) and every kid in town is downloading the top 10/50 tunes from beatport, or even Resident advisor, they don`t spend time researching, finding new artists or even listening to new music. on the weekend, they go and play for their mate who is a promoter/event organiser or owns a club. and again they are all playing the same tunes, everywhere you go.

* the underground, is not underground anymore, it`s becoming mainstream( jamie jones is playing FMF2012,3 years ago he was playing civic for only a few people)

* drugs(specially E) is getting worst every time i buy it.

******* CIGARETS laws are killing the dance floors - how many times you were dancing , the dj fucked up a mix and you went for a cigaret, or you just followed your mate/girlfriend/boyfriend???? once u leave the dance floor other people will think the same and they will leave the dance floor to have a ciggy.

* drinks are too expensive, get any scotch/vodka with red bull and you will spend 12 to 16 bucks! and sometimes they will only fill up your glass with ice, 30ml of vodka and another 50ml of red bull.

*since Facebook and smartphones are synchronised, clubbing isn't the same. it`s everything about status update

*chinese laundry held for 1 year as the best club in australia, and number 80 something on the dj mag poll, if you look back you will see that they don`t invest time and money on whats really good, they only invest on what is selling more, nowadays dub(crap)step. of course they have the garden events which most of the times are good(gui boratto, james zabiela, plump djs)

*stupid council laws, forcing the closing time to be too early.(where i come from, the main dj/act starts between 4am to 6am) - club starts at 12AM.

* I love australia, but i hate most of the clubs here.(if u can call as a club)
instead, i prefer a warehouse, or even a house party, where i can drink and smoke and decide if i`m too drunk or drugged!


KraftyNut said on the 24th Jan, 2012

The average punter will blow between 100-200 a night at a club, cover charge, drinks etc. to see 1 international if you're lucky and a host of locals. Whereas at festivals they'll go through 200-300 depending on the ticket price to see a range of internationals and locals.

Proof is in the amount of festivals we had in 2000 - 2003 compared to now. Clubs were flourishing then across each genre. Now it's a different story.

Think the other contributing factor are the amount of venues that have been shut down e.g. Dendy, Gas, Globe. Majority of these clubs were an integral part of Sydney's EDM culture if not Icons. I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of that era. What clubs can you say are iconic or represent Sydney?


bradj88 said on the 24th Jan, 2012

I don't really think its that bad in Sydney. Spice is killing it with good line ups pretty much every week with a good consistent crowed through till past sunrise . Laundry does its best and books big acts of all different styles every weekend. Plus the other fortnightly parties like Bare Essentials have a good following of regulars.

The thing that's holding Sydney back the most is council restrictions and lack of decent venue's.

Mel Laidlaw

Mel Laidlaw said on the 24th Jan, 2012

There's a couple of sayings that go something along the lines of: 1. don't try to reinvent the wheel and 2. everyone that succeeds in the Italian restaurant business just took the basic spaghetti recipe and placed their own emphasis on it. Something like that..

After having clubbed weekly in the UK and also experiencing some of the festivals there, I returned to Australia to live since 2004 and attempted to regain the experience on the Gold Coast going to both clubs and festivals. And without going in to too much detail on the past, I think where Australia is now is that we're seeing the end of an age in nappies and now we're on the verge of a whole new age embracing dance music. The UK is somewhat ahead of where we are, but we're catching on, and like the saying of the wheel or the spaghetti recipe, we have the opportunity to learn the basics and then add our own Aussie touch to what goes.

And what goes is the atmosphere in the clubs in the UK - that I feel Australian clubs are missing. I wholeheartedly recommend any serious club owner to check out the top ten clubs worldwide (see DJ Mag) and go there to experience and ask questions / make contacts then take that basic recipe and add your own uniqueness.. wallah! If you're asking is "clubbing a thing of the past" my only answer is no - look at the clubs in the UK & Europe.. If you feel like your club is a thing of the past, it is time to get your groove on. Come on Aussie! :)

I'm also surprised Australia hasn't caught on to the whole tourism thing yet also.. look at Cafe Del Mar for example. Here's an idea.. How about websites such as In The Mix offer overseas travel packs to clubs and festivals -- and do the same for international dance music enthusiasts interested in visiting Australia. If you provide a great service to people in the same way that club owners/managers do to DJs, everyone wins!


Arku said on the 24th Jan, 2012

So many reasons for the decline i couldnt be bothered investing the time into writing them all but here are a few....Its heading down into a quiet period for the next 3-5 years as live music ascends, esp in the electronic scenes traditionally dominated by the dj. Dj'ing has lost alot of its aura now that everyone with a computer can download virtual djing software. Alot of ppl just arent that impressed by the concept of dj'ing these days. Playing live music has not lost its aura and in my experience as a promoter ppls reactions are alot more excited when you mention a live performance rather than dj set.
re earlier comments: The drugs have been shit since 2008 but good stuff has started to come back in over the past 6 months (in brisbane anyway) so lets see how that affects things this year. Pathetic door bitches giving rank attitude and venues selling over priced drinks for over controlled and over regulated spaces are also a big deterrence. For my money on the dj side of things a move to much smaller, more niche bar style venues where you can play a wider selection is probably where things are headed.
My prediction for clubland is that things will get worse before they get better. But they will get better. Its just the trend machine churning and burning as it always does.


TheNextBestThing said on the 24th Jan, 2012

Nightclubs have a bad rap; most people I know can count on one hand how many times they've been "clubbing." Why? The music is too loud, the drinks are too expensive; the ratio of girls to guys is poor, entry fee, the internationals start too late, people are usually very intense and ask for drugs, the taxi ride, you can't make out how ugly the chick is that wants you to buy her a drink, the risk of violence, you can't get fresh air, you can get rejected at the door (dress code), it's hard to have a conversation, older crowd, the fact that you can't get up the next morning.

Festivals are a watered down version of a Nightclub event. It's only the diehards that attend nightclubs anymore they're all just too edgy.

Nightclubs will struggle if they don't adapt to the ever-changing market. Lowering the volume to a reasonable level, not overselling tickets, providing a large indoor or outdoor music and smoke free zone, and having a sectioned off dinning area would go along way. Nightclubs aren't comfortable enough to enjoy anything in.


ry44nn said on the 24th Jan, 2012

^ that is the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard hahaha


b3nje909 said on the 25th Jan, 2012

What do you think? Post your comment...


Digitalgrub said on the 25th Jan, 2012

I'd say the opposite - if you want dinner, drinks, and conversation go to a groovy bar with a DJ spinning deep house while you eat tapas. There's a million of those...

Clubs need to big, loud, packed, dark, and full of energy and have a DANCEFLOOR. I reckon this is one of the issues- there's very few venues at the moment that have proper dancefloors, and are really no more than glorifed bars.

And yes, lose the collared shirts, black shoes and suits - if you want after work drinks, fine; but if you want to go clubbing it should be sneakers, jeans and tshirts.


fender09 said on the 25th Jan, 2012

Has social networking had an impact?

5-6 years ago, catching up with friends at a bar/cub was the norm - and also to meet people (potential bf/gfs) at a bar/club.

Now to keep up your social ties a post on a friend's wall and a PM to a girl you fancy is a lot easier than to get all dressed up, organise a good f/m ratio and line up at a city club while also paying $50-$100 for the night.


Weinertron said on the 25th Jan, 2012

^That's a very astute point.

Maybe there is also a backlash from the over-promotion you see on Fasebook? (I don't know how Facebook is looking these days, stopped using ait about 1.5 years ago). I remember getting up to 10 invites per week for 10 different parties (or some of the more irritating promoters would send you 10 invites p/week for ONE party)

In short: Fuck social networking in the ear

this is samuel

this is samuel said on the 25th Jan, 2012

Weekly clubbing is as alive as ever imo. I run a weekly wednesday night in Sydney and we have a large loyal following who are in attendance weekly. I think there is a lot of over-saturation with dance music being a lot more mainstream so people seek out the niche markets at times but things are better now than I have seen in recent years.


thechunk said on the 26th Jan, 2012

clubs are decent but finding them very empty these days therefore the atmosphere is lost.
hate festivals with a passion and the crowd they bring

dance events are where they are at, things like 'above and beyond' at the Horden. great nights and reasonably priced for the production level they bring


b3nje909 said on the 27th Jan, 2012

I used to go weekly clubbing about 12 years ago.. and mid week clubbing.
Was cheap, fun and there was good venues around.
Sublime @ Pitt st, Plastic @ Paledium (sp?), Icebox (sweat box lol). there was a very lax dress code, I refuse still to go out in the city usually cause I have to wear jeans. I'm a t-shirt and shorts guy, and thats what was good about them places. you could rock up in sneakers and shorts. and have no issues.
Sadly but, the main reason I gave up clubbing was costs, and trying to go out with out taking drugs. thats why festivals appeal to me. I dont have to walk out a door @ 6am squintin into the rising sun (and then head to daydreams haha!). I just cant stay awake anymore lol


larrisajones said on the 27th Jan, 2012

I do agree entirely with gedwashere91's point on the mainstream acceptance of dance music as a key factor in this shift - you don't HAVE to go out to hear tunes, you can hear them on the radio, the internet, youtube from anywhere you have your smartphone ... which means that going 'clubbing' for many many people, especially the <21 group is basically 'going out to get fucked up' as opposed to a passion for the music that they're going to listen to.

Older friends often talk fondly of their raving days, of a community that developed as a direct result of seeing the same faces and trekking to obscure warehouses. I was lucky to catch the back end of that world but it was essentially dead by the time I started my clubbing career - one thing I notice now is that i don't see that younger 'crew' out. I see my friends, I see the generation above me, but the generation below aren't regular faces there are pairs here and there but not the dozen or so people.

So where does that leave those in my position? Many friends have given up on the going out thing with any regularity - the music may be good but they can listen to it at home without having to worry about inconsiderate idiots pushing and shoving them. So many people out and about seem to be there for the image and the idea of going out rather than the artist and their mates.

I hear the point re drugs but my honest honest opinion is if you can't go out and enjoy yourself to the music you are supposedly passionate about without them then you should rethink just how much you like that music? I can party hard (many and ITM'er can attest to this) but some of the best nights I've had have been when flat broke hence totally stone cold sober in every way.

However all that said, there are still a whole bunch of gigs on every week - there's barely a weekend that goes by where there isn't something to go to.


DirtieClouds said on the 29th Jan, 2012

Festival sets and Clubs sets are always completely different. I've seen Crookers at both festivals and club nights. Both have their pro's and cons.

I personally believe we have way to many festivals in Australia. If one day, they could one day emerge and create a 3 day festival like "Ultra" or "Coachella" nobody would complain! then it gives back some of the summer time to clubs.

Eh, could work...


andosound said on the 31st Jan, 2012

Just needs more Andosound. Problem solved.


User_261032 said on the 31st Jan, 2012

Could also have something to do with the ever increasing entry/drink prices at clubs. Back 3-4 years we could easily spend $60-$80 for a great night out but it's heading towards the $150-$200 mark. Clubs keep increasing the door prices, and $10 for a vodka? Forget about it.


djwaz said on the 31st Jan, 2012

The venues in Sydney are sub-par in relation to what they used to be - and venues at other cities. The only venue in Sydney which has a proper club setup - and decent sound/lighting/lasers - seems to be Arq.
All the other decent spaces have closed down, and we seem to be left with glorified bars with shit sound systems screaming out crappy headache-house played by 18 year olds that wouldn't know how to use an actual turntable if their life depended on it.

Brisbane has The Met and Family, GC has Platinum, Perth has Metro's, Villa, Adelaide has HQ, Electric Playground, Melbourne has it's fair share of great venues and small clubs slamming out the underground, what the fuck happened to Sydney?
Whenever I have a weekend off from touring, I go to go out in my home city, and I'm always left bitterly disappointed.
Used to love going to Laundry in the Cave, getting my head pounded in by proper tech house, last time i went it was Dubstep WTF?!?!?!? Shame!!!

Maybe I'm just getting too old for Sydney? Maybe I'm too fussy? Maybe I should just go back and enjoy the shit out of Ibiza and come to terms with the fact that most clubs here are just rubbish?

There have been a few great venues opened recently that I've had the pleasure to work in (The Standard, The Beresford, OAF), but these don't seem to have late licences, and are more 'live music/event' type venues, rather than nightclubs...

I guess with the ridiculous licensing and council restrictions, it'll never be as good as it used to be.

Expensive drinks, shit drugs, douchbags all have helped with the decline too... I just hope something positive happens soon! It's quite sad that the biggest city in Australia has the worst nightlife..


atlas9 said on the 10th Feb, 2012

I think its due to a couple of things.

Firstly, dance music owns the radio. What this means is that the barrier between clubbing music and pop music has largely been eroded - so "Top 40" people can hear songs they know out and gravitate to the places that play them.

Secondly, its the power of social media. Back in the day, you would only physically be able to co-ordinate a relatively small group of people to go out for the night. Indeed one of the reasons regular nights were so popular is that the same crowd would be there, beyond your smaller group.

However now anyone can look at an event page and see everyone who is going to that club. People like to know other people out - and the weight of pure numbers of people they know creates pressure on larger social circles all frequenting the same venues at the same times. This obviously plays into the hands of more generic and less music driven venues.

Thirdly, our attention spans are awful. Which means people want to move around - something they're less inclined to do if they had to pay to see a certain music act. Also, co-ordinating times and where to be on a night out can be too much effort.

Lastly, festivals offer better value - and feed on our aforementioned attention spans. Not only do you pay less to see Aphex Twin, Swedish House Mafia and Fat Boy Slim together rather than individually - you pay less on drinks (and drugs, if they're your thing) - all of your friends are there (because of the eclectic lineups) and you get huge international acts on after another.

The bottom line is - music festivals are here to stay. It's how clubs adapt and build off of them that will determine how the scene prospers


anneliese123 said on the 14th Feb, 2012

Weekly clubs get some of the biggest international acts! In this aspect, definitely not a thing of the past. Clubs allow a more intimate, cheaper venue to see some of your favourite acts. I'd rather see any of my favourite DJs in a club than at a sold out outdoor music festival, where I'm forced to stand hundreds of metres away.


DJGREMMIS said on the 15th Feb, 2012

I dont think the numbers or bar sales of weekly clubbing is a thing of the past, but i do think the community, family aspect of it, bar a few special venues is a thing of the past.

It's mainly about grabbing the hoards of punters with short attention spans these days, there is money in commercial dance, but not substance, longevity or community.

The rare events with amazing weekly attendees and atmosphere are very special, but very rare indeed these days.


tommyd said on the 18th Feb, 2012

When I was younger, I used to go to PHD Melbourne and you'd get the same 50 or so cunts every week and have a good party and time. Now you go to clubs and you have a bunch of 19/20 year old wankers and they just think they're top shit for being there listening to the crap that is dance music today. I also went to our notorious room venue on a Tuesday and actually had some chick tell me I was too old to be there at 23 :o. Also xan't believe the things kids tell me about past dance music hits from guys like Fergie etc. They told me this sound is shit and it wouldn't have ever been liked by anyone. Shows their ignorance and how they have the minds of Goldfish when it comes to sounds. As far as I am concerned clubs here have been dying since 06.

Julian Jason

Julian Jason said on the 19th Feb, 2012

At last, someone who gets it!!


Mindfull-1 said on the 20th Feb, 2012

Not only do you pay less to see Aphex Twin, Swedish House Mafia and Fat Boy Slim together rather than individually - you pay less on drinks (and drugs, if they're your thing) - all of your friends are there (because of the eclectic lineups) and you get huge international acts on after another.

The bottom line is - music festivals are here to stay. It's how clubs adapt and build off of them that will determine how the scene prospers

fuck off.

anyone who would pay too see Sweedish House Mafia is part of the problem.

die in a fire.


tommyd said on the 20th Feb, 2012

fuck off.

anyone who would pay too see Sweedish House Mafia is part of the problem.

die in a fire.

This. These flash in the pan acts are the problem. It is funny how those from as long ago as the 1990s still pull big crowds etc when coming out but others such ads TV rock are all but gone.


JABentertainment said on the 20th Feb, 2012

Weekly clubbing could definatly becoming a 'thing' of the past. As soon as we are 17 we have a fake id, absolutly try and smash the Sydney clubbing scene for a few weeks in the row, but come to release it is just the same shit. As per most reasons above :0.

Present, weekly clubbing lacks the energy and vibe of a good atmosphere, social communication, an exceptional boogie and a good act - could social media and a lack of appreciation for a good act be blamed?

The reason why niche events or massive festivals sell out, is because they do it right for that one night/day we are waiting to experience 'a good time out'

Visit JAB Entertainment on Facebook and Twitter (@nuSydney) for a nu Sydney Clubbing Project - get on it!


Lambretta said on the 23rd Feb, 2012

That's fine when you can offer flights from the UK to Ibiza for 200 quid and every second building is a rental apartment - but we dont have the space in Sydney for that kind of thing.

For a start flights begin at $2,000 and when you get here accomodation is rare and extremely expensive and the exchange rate is pants and the festival bill is full of people no one from the UK has heard of with one or two exceptions that they can see at any time in England.

The only market we can cater to like that is NZ and there arent enough of them left there to warrant it.


Lambretta said on the 23rd Feb, 2012

The day that Harvey fucking Norman turned the Dendy into a cunting shop, the Sydney clubbing scene pretty much died.