Although first-years are having a year without the traditional clubbing experience, Michelle Osborne argues clubs will make a roaring comeback amidst students when they reopen.
This time last year, I was sitting on a train to go home and have a night out with my friends for the first time since coming to university. I was excited to catch up with them over a few drinks in a crowded club in the city centre of Liverpool. The biggest concern I had was the cost of the taxi I had to get home.
A year on, the idea of travelling across the country casually and mixing with so many people seems absurd. Going on those sorts of nights out were integral to my first year. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest clubber – I just like getting slightly drunk and then screaming along to songs. However, the weird experiences in clubs were how I formed my best friendships. Something about sticky floors and accidentally breaking a hand-dryer brings people together. Freshers this year have had to form friendships in different ways – and without having already experienced the nights out that Glasgow has to offer, will they flock to it once nightclubs reopen?
Flat parties have replaced most nightclub experiences. While they’re not necessarily legal, we’re all aware that they’ve been going on. People need to be social. Flat parties are often smaller and quieter, but possibly are prone to far higher alcohol consumption. It replaces that need to be in a busy place, pumped full of alcohol and meeting new people. It’s practically the same, except the chances of meeting a stranger are far lower. I prefer flat parties to clubs, mostly because it’s easier to talk to people. However, the fact that they continue to exist in our current circumstances shows that there is a demand for alcohol-fuelled gatherings that isn’t going away.
It may be optimistic, but I’m hoping that by the time I’m graduating, clubs will be open again. By that point, I probably won’t have lost my love for getting drunk and screaming incorrect lyrics. Even if current first-years feel they don’t need to go to Sauchiehall Street on every free night because they’ve coped with university without that temptation, I’m confident anyone older will jump at the chance to get back out. That’s also assuming that there are no first years who had taken a gap year and went clubbing, or that we all only magically started going to clubs the day we turned 18 – I imagine most first years know what they’re missing out on.
When clubs are allowed to reopen, many of those students will finally be introduced to the venues around Glasgow. Unfortunately, it’s expected that many clubs won’t be able to financially survive Covid-19, but new venues will open in their place. As explained, there will most definitely be a demand for nightclubs going forward. If there’s a demand, then businesses will expand, or new opportunities will be made for entrepreneurs. While many established venues will, unfortunately, close in this period, nothing has replaced the feeling of being out with your friends in a club, and so I don’t believe that the entire nightclub scene will cease to exist: it may just be in a reduced size for a while.
And just in case you’re worried, unless student unions receive reduced funding, I think Hive is safe. Anybody who has complained that they miss Hive can rest assured: Hive will live another day.
From what I can tell, the nightclub scene won’t be one of the casualties of Covid-19. While the industry will be changed because of the closure of the entertainment sector, it won’t cease to exist. In places with young people, there will always be a desire to go out and meet new people, and this is easiest in a nightclub setting. It’s a venue to make friends, have fun, create new memories, hear new music, and our want to experience these things isn’t going to suddenly disappear due to a pandemic. Assuming the industry is free to reopen once Covid-19 is no longer a threat, they will experience the success that they had in the past if not more success. The only issue would be if the virus was still a threat, but anybody who’s been attending house parties probably won’t care about the health risks.
Until then, I’d suggest you spend some nights with your flatmates recreating the experience: dim the lights, make some awful decisions, whip out the homemade pints of fun, and blast the Hive Spotify playlist.