Digital and culture minister Matt Hancock has declared the closure of London’s Fabric nightclub to be “very sad” – but declined to intervene in the decision to shut it down.
Responding to a question from the audience at the BPI AGM in County Hall, London, where he made his debut speech to the music industry after his surprise appointment, Hancock said that he lived “100 yards” away from Fabric when he first moved to London.
“In a sense, it was my local,” he said. “I’ve spent some time there and it’s really sad to see it close. I’ve seen that Sadiq Khan [London mayor] has been noisy and active on this and it’s something that I’m on the same page as him on. These things come down to a decision by the local council but there’s clearly a bigger issue about making sure there’s enough venues for music of all types.”
Khan had earlier said that he was “disappointed” by the closure, which came after the drug-related deaths of two men at the club, but also said it was a council decision.
“It isn’t a direct decision of government,” Hancock stressed, “But what we’ve got to do is learn the lessons and make sure venues are available. I look at it and think, We’ve got to make sure that part of Britain being a success story isn’t just about technology and music being great in the comfort of your own home, but making sure there’s enough places where people can go and enjoy it live too.”
In his speech, Hancock also called for greater diversity in the music industry and pledged the government would “support the environment” for the music biz’s success.