UK clubbing crisis continues as fabric enters administration

David Chubb and Colin Haig from PricewaterhouseCoopers are serving as administrators of Fabric 591 Ltd and have instructed property consultancy Edward Symmons to find a buyer for the 1,510-capacity Farringdon venue.
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David Chubb and Colin Haig from PricewaterhouseCoopers are serving as administrators of Fabric 591 Ltd and have instructed property consultancy Edward Symmons to find a buyer for the 1,510-capacity Farringdon venue.

The news represents a further challenge to London's once-thriving clubbing scene weeks after matter announced that it was closing its doors for the summer, writes David Davies. According to Business Sale Report, fabric was guarantor of a multi-million pound loan taken out by matter, which opened to much fanfare in 2008.

Founded in 1999 by Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie - also the dual driving force behind matter - fabric has become a brand with global renown that far surpasses the 1,510-capacity venue. Strong-selling compilation CDs have helped to spread the word about a club with a well-deserved reputation for technological advances, symbolised by the installation of a vibrating floor in Room One.

Eleven years on, the news of fabric's entry into administration reinforces the impression that London's clubbing sector is now confronting a profound crisis. A number of other operators - including Summit Clubs - have gone into administration in the last two years, while oceana and liquid brand owner Luminar has reported a 78% drop in underlying pre-tax profits. Meanwhile, the closure of matter - for now temporary - breaches a further hole in the London scene, not to mention in the heart of host venue the O2. ("I'm sorry to hear London's clubbers will have to get through the summer without the sonic and multimedia phenomenon that is matter," says Dave Haydon from OutBoard, which supplied a TiMax 3D audio spatialisation system to the venue.)

Despite the troubled landscape and increased competition from bars and pubs, fuelled by extended licensing hours, there is hope that fabric will continue as a clubbing venue. Colin White from Edward Symmons, which has been enlisted by administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers to find a buyer, commented: "Just 24 hours after being appointed, we have already received a number of enquiries from potential purchasers. We anticipate continued interest in the sale of fabric, particularly from other major club operators in London and the South East, and we are confident that a purchase will be secured for the business as a going concern."

A spokesperson for Edward Symmons tells PSN-e that there is no guide price for fabric, with all offers received to be assessed after 15 June.

For now, fabric is keen to stress that business continues without interruption, stating: "Despite the administration appointment over Fabric 591 Limited, the nightclub, records and publishing continue business as usual. The nightclub enjoyed a fantastic bank holiday weekend with three successful events." PSN-e's requests for further comment from both fabric and matter had gone unanswered at press time.

Whatever the future brings, audio suppliers are keen to see the venue continue. Allen & Heath's Debbie Maxted tells PSN-e: "We've had a long-standing and productive relationship with Fabric for many years, as they've used our Xone mixers in all their rooms, so we're sorry about this turn of events. It would be unthinkable for Fabric to close, so we hope that a buyer can be found and that clubbers don't lose yet another iconic venue."

Image Credit: Seb Barros


Another London club in administration

Colin White, pictured, from Edward Symmons - which has been instructed to find a purchaser for the club - said there was confidence that "the future of Sound [London] may yet be safeguarded".

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