Published on April 14th, 2016 | by Niall Norbury1
We need more venues like Club20
Club20 is facing its second license review in six months following several violent incidents near the nightclub.
The two incidents allegedly involved dozens of people fighting outside the club with belts, bottles and knives.
Thames Valley Police have attributed the recent incidents around Hosier Street to the events that take place at Club20: “the venue still persists with promoting high risk events involving “Urban and RnB” style music genres.
“This style of event regularly attracts crowds with the propensity for becoming involved in large scale violence and sadly we have been blighted by this in Reading for a number of years.”
Many people have criticised the above comments for targeting certain music genres and groups. However, the license review application also ignores that we need more clubs in Reading whose focus is on music rather than drinking.
In 2013, Reading Council introduced its Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP). The policy was created to curb the growth of bars and clubs in Reading town centre. CIP gave Reading Council’s licensing committee the ability to turn down certain establishments on the basis that there were too many ‘Vertical Drinking Establishments’ nearby.
Vertical Drinking is a term associated with venues where there is little to no seating and where customers were encouraged to binge drink.
The aim of this policy is to encourage a greater variety of venues to open in Reading town centre – not just clubs offering cheap drinks and free shots. This is why Club20 is the wrong kind of venue to target.
Although Club20 has little seating, its promotions focus on the music and not on drink offers. Where other clubs provide no variety in music or atmosphere, Club20 has attracted top names in urban and garage music like Scott Garcia, Tim Westwood, Greg Edwards, Pied Piper, Groove Rider and others.
Club20 is an easy target as it is niche. If Club20 disappeared, it is unlikely that its fans would be able to find any other venue that provides something similar. However, Thames Valley Police seem insistent that urban music has no place in Reading.
It is worth asking what sort of events Thames Valley Police would want Club20 to put on? Should they put on mainstream live music which adds nothing to Reading’s nightlife? Or should they become like other clubs that try to attract students with the cheapest shots in town?
All of this is not to say that Thames Valley Police should ignore incidents of violence at any club. However, looking at the geographic breakdown of crime in the town centre, the area around Club20 looks safer than Friar Street.
Club20 is a venue that tries to provide good music rather than getting its punters drunk. We need more venues like Club20, not less.