Where to even begin?
You don’t need us to tell you what Fabric is or how much we love the place, but maybe the reasons why we love it deserve a bit more of an explanation.
It would be easy to simply say it is the best club in London (or even the world) without needing an explanation, however the beauty of Fabric is that it has not felt the pressure to change from its jungle roots since it opened almost 18 years ago. Looking for a night of raucous raving? Fabric. Interested in what new artists are coming through the scene? Fabric! Over its three rooms you can find a different and unique vibe in each one, every week. Adapting to a constantly changing genre can be disorientating for some venues, but not for Fabric. New artists with new sounds are forever being birthed and given their rite of passage to packed out rooms of all ages making it an experience that is unlikely to be forgotten.
When jungle first spilled onto the streets of London in the early 90’s, electronic bass music took a sharp turn from the mainstream and enticing a new breed of DJ. Artists such as Dillinja and Lemon D arrived on the scene to give pop culture a punch in the chest, with massive drops and pulverising bass that had until that point not been utilised by popular music. Venues such as Paradise in Islington became a hot spot for the post-hardcore crowd who wanted to experience something closer to the fringes of current trends. More venues across London began to pop up and introduce dedicated nights, such as Rage nights hosted every Thursday at Heaven in Charing Cross and Thunder & Joy at the Astoria. The scene was taking off and drawing crowds from the Acid House movement it began it’s dominance of nightclubs through the decade.
Now it wasn’t until ’99 that our favourite club opened its doors in a quiet road in Farringdon, with Craig Richards and Terry Francis as their resident DJ’s. It had opened at the same time as another club called Home which, at the time, had enlisted Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling to play regular sets. As Fabric themselves have written ‘while Home took out full-page ads in glossy magazines, Fabric’s marketing was resolutely understated’, and this idea of going against the grain has stayed consistent with Fabric to this day. Clubs that opened at the same time have all now shut their doors, but Fabric remains as a focal point for electronic music lovers. What set Fabric apart from mainstream dance clubs was the distinct lack of glitz and glamour, no dress code, no dressing to impress. It was focussed on the experience of losing yourself in a crowd of like-minded music lovers, dazzled by the epic light shows that were displayed in each room with a constant stream of breakthrough electronic acts. The ‘marketing strategy’ was literally down to flyering and the occasional poster you would see around the capital with the slightly mysterious, although now synonymous, cut out club logo which would seek to intrigue punters to find out more. Before long it was the destination for bass nights with every weekend more epic than the last.
Now we at Hospitality have a particularly close relationship with the guys and girls at fabric and many a-story to tell. After our last show in 2012 which was an absolute riot with a very young Fred V & Grafix as well as S.P.Y and Camo & Krooked, we couldn’t wait to come back. However it seemed that the chance of playing at Fabric again had been taken away from us. In our complacency to book the club again we didn’t realise that their was an impending inquiry that would threaten Fabric’s very existence. It was with with a massive shock we learned that Fabric would close its doors for the final time in September 2016 due to Islington council revoking its licence. The decision was backed by the Met police as, according to both authorities, the club had been the cause of two drug related deaths of two 18 year old patrons. Whilst the news of the two young men who had lost their lives was devastating to hear, the decision had been made that fabric was responsible and the public outcry was immense. Within hours of their licence being revoked the organisers at fabric being work on a campaign to bring the club back, requesting help from punters, organisers and artists to rally together to #savefabric.
Within hours the entire world was set ablaze with passionate posts across social media, DJ’s pledging their support and beseeching their fans to do the same. DJ Goldie said to Channel 4 News ‘when you look at all the clubs that have closed down over the years, Fabric is the Goliath’. He went on to passionately describe just some of the epic nights that he’s had there as well as ‘feeling sorry for the kids of tomorrow’ as they would be unable to experience and learn from what Fabric has to offer. The petition that was started gained over 150,000 signatures in a matter of days urging the council to repeal their decision with both #savefabric and #saveourculture trending on Twitter for weeks. The first appeal was dismissed at a council meeting despite dozens of protestors being in attendance, including the Hospitality crew. The point that was trying to be made was fabric is not just a club, or just a place to go and jump around a bit, fabric is a staple for music in London and has spurred on young musicians for almost 20 years. It mustn’t close, it cannot, for the British music institution would struggle to recover. The pressure on Islington council was steadily ramping up to a fever pitch, even London Mayor Sadiq Khan took to the media to express his opinion: ‘As a result of this decision, thousands of people who enjoyed going to Fabric as an essential part of London’s nightlife will lose out.’ Well said Mr Mayor, we couldn’t agree more. It was now the combination of the worldwide support, plus our Mayor being behind us that we, the public, had a legitimate voice in this fight and on December 2nd fabric officially announced they would be reopening in the new year.
If you haven’t already guessed by now, we’re rather fond of this place. The chance to play in its hallowed rooms again for our official Hospitality in the Dock Afterparty on April 14th is a dream come true, especially since we thought this moment would never happen again. You might have heard before that you only miss something when it’s gone and while it’s cliché there is a certain truth to it. Fabric was on the edge of extinction but you saved it, making it one for the history books. Our opportunity to bring Hospitality back to Fabric is something we’re incredibly excited about, with another huge lineup and a big dose of nostalgia, make sure you’re there to witness Hospitality’s resurgence with the one and only fabric.
See you April 14th!
Words by Andy Napleton