The Arches, ‘the stuff of clubbing legend’, faces permanent closure after a licensing board ruling that forces the club to close at midnight, compromising it’s practicality as a night club. Frequently placed in the top 100 clubs in the world by DJ Magazine, and ‘one of Europe’s most highly regarded arts venues and a key contributor to Glasgow’s night time economy’, The Arches looks like it will close it’s doors for good. This subterranean cavern, fitted with Funkion 1 soundsystem, has played host to most of the world’s finest DJs including the likes of Richie Hawtin, Showtek and Alesso .
The space has been the home of Slam’s monthly house and techno night Pressure for over two decades and been a fundamental for fans in the genres. Playing and promoting here since 1992 Pressure would have celebrated its 17th birthday in November. Sporting an incredible line up of Minus Records and Berlin’s Dystopian label names, the Pressure end of season party that took place on May 1st will have been it’s last in The Arches.
The Arches is also a regular venue for Scotland’s principal dance promoter Colours. With guests like Hardwell and Laidback Luke, Colours is a go-to for electro, tech-house, trance and big room house. The Arches is not only a club, it is an arts venue where everything from film screenings to performance art, workshops to lectures is happening. How the closure of the nightclub will affect the rest of the venue is yet to be seen, but is likely to be detrimental as the revenue made from the nightclub significantly helps to fund the other events within the venue.
The licensing board’s decision resulted from multiple unsuccessful attempts by police to shut the club down following the drug related death of 17 year old Regan Mc Coll. Police have tried to shut down the club three times in just over a year. In March of this year 26 reports of drugs and alcohol related offences were made on one night. This was combined with one woman being found unconscious outside the club. The venue claims that the majority of reports made to the police are made by The Arches staff whilst carrying out their ‘robust’ searches. Although police solicitor Duncan Campbell is correct in that there are ‘potentially lethal consequences that may arise from this situation’ it is also true that punters will just move on to other venues that are not as well equipped, with inferior medical and security procedures.
In all it seems that the situation will only get worse elsewhere in Glasgow and the city will be worse off for it. Not only will it be other venues across the city and the police and ambulance services that have to deal with the fallout from the closure of The Arches, those effected will also very much include both music fans and those involved in the wider arts in Glasgow.
By Sean O’Sullivan