The story of Fabric’s 2016 will go down in dance music folklore. After famously being shuttered following the deaths of two teenagers from drug-related causes during the summer last year, pretty much the whole of clubland united behind Fabric’s #saveourculture campaign to have their license reinstated. The situation also had a wider impact on clubbing culture, acting as a catalyst to open up the conversation about policing, planning and licensing venues in the UK.
And since reopening in January, the Farringdon venue has welcomed a huge array of artists back to EC1, including regulars like Seth Troxler and Ben UFO, as well as Ricardo Villalobos, who Fabric’s promotion manager Judy Griffith describes as an “honorary resident” when speaking to DJ Mag about Fabric’s year. “He was returning home,” he explains. “A sight we never thought we would see again and it was emotional for all of us, Ricardo included.”
Having won Best Large Club at DJ Mag’s Best of British awards in December, as well as boasting Best Resident in Craig Richards, who Blackett says remains vital to the club after 17 years as musical director alongside Terry Francis. “They have both totally mastered their craft. The new generation can learn a thing or two from these guys. We all can, it’s like an education every week. You really are watching masters at work when you see them play.”
Changes were made to the club’s operations before Fabric could reopen, which include raising the age restriction to 19, the addition of ID scanners and other security measures. The Farringdon venue also switched programming on Fridays, taking FabricLive fortnightly in order to make room for artist-led nights that see Rødhåd, Jon Hopkins, Daphne and more all head up parties this year. The result is a definitive victory for clubland, whilst re-establishing Fabric as the beating heart of London club culture.