- 25 Jan 19
Currently preparing for its final ever Dublin show, Will Kinsella looks at District 8's indelible contribution to Irish clubbing.
Recently, District 8 announced that it will be closing its doors for good on January 26. Featured last April as one of our clubs in focus, since opening its doors on August 15, 2014 with Rodhad, District 8 has been the undisputed home of big room DJs in the city – ie. acts capable of selling 1,000-plus tickets. It has become one of Ireland’s most revered clubs, and in my opinion the first venue to capture the energy of the old Red Box on Harcourt Street.
Flight Facilities, Modeselektor, Joseph Capriati, Four Tet, Ejeca, Skream, Patrick Topping and Kerri Chandler are just some of the names who have graced the District 8 Stage over the years. There was s a strong focus on Irish talent as well, with Mano Le Tough hosting a ‘Maeve’ label showcase, and Matador and Paco Osuna doing a club takeover. DJ Deece, meanwhile, hosted a number of sell-out all-nighters.
Sunil Sharpe also delivered a series of extended, five and six hour sets, while Boots & Kats were another recent success story; under the stewardship of Bedlam and the District 8 team, they have grown from a popular festival act to selling out the club. District 8 also provided a platform for a wide range of artists such as Cailin, Eve, Shane Linehan, Lee Kelly and Mode 1.
District 8 emerged at the right time, coinciding with unprecedented growth in Irish electronic music. It brought with it a new generation of clubbers, and paralleled the emergence of a number of electronic festivals such as Boxed Off and Higher Vision. The team deserve a lot of credit for their role in that growth.
Much has been said of its closure and the current state of play in Dublin’s nightclub landscape. Andrews Lane aka Hangar closed last year too, also to be converted into a hotel. The issues are twofold.
Firstly, a total lack of adequate legislation for Irish nightclubs makes it an extremely expensive and time-consuming line of business. It has also pushed a lot of people who want to stay out beyond 3am, like most European cities, into a black market after-hours economy. The bottom line is that entertainment creates jobs and tax/VAT revenue: this should be a no brainer, but unfortunately, there appears to be little appetite at government level to address the issue.
The second problem is a common one across Europe, from London to Berlin. Gentrification and progress in terms of development creates demand for city centre real estate. The same is true for Dublin. There’s no doubt about it: District 8’s closure will leave a void in the city centre that will be hard to fill. But behind every challenge is opportunity. Entrepreneurs largely shape our society, and I am confident that the minds that have shaped Irish clubbing will come up with new ideas and spaces.
The Final District 8 Dance takes place on January 26 from 8pm, with the line-up boasting – deep breath! – Dave Clarke, Kiasmos, Sunil Sharpe, Brame & Hamo, DeFeKT, DJ Deece, Mode_1, Moduse, Cailin and Lee Kelly. It’s a fittingly brilliant bill to close out one of Dublin’s most iconic spaces. It’s also worth noting that Ejeca and friends take over the venue on January 25.
District 8 has generated a lot of jobs and is also set to host stages at Life Festival and Boxed Off. We look forward to seeing what the future has in store as it enters a new chapter. Watch this space.