- 23 Aug 18
Robbie Kitt, music producer and DJ, talks about the fundamental problems with Irish licensing laws, and why the model is not sustainable.
I’m an electronic music producer and I DJ for a living. I really believe in the art of DJing and in the cultural value of what I do. I’ve got a lot of fancy ideas about dancing.
I think the essence of club culture is a really beautiful thing. At its best, the dancefloor is a place where people can truly forget about how the world defines them and just lose themselves in the music. It’s a communal space, where people come together and unify around music. The DJ guides this process, but the dancers are the ones truly driving the creative decisions, not the ego of the individual. Simply by moving our bodies to a rhythm, dancing can show us the power of coming together.
I’ve thought a lot about the philosophy of dancing in clubs and I think the cultural essence of such activities is as pure as anything that happens in the National Concert Hall. In other countries, like Germany and the Netherlands, governments invest in clubbing infrastructure because they recognise this cultural value. Right now, there are truly world class DJs and producers emerging all over the country here in Ireland. However, while small Irish labels have begun to release records by Irish musicians that are being recognised and supported in clubs all over the world, our own clubs are being knocked to the ground.
A huge reason for this is that Ireland’s archaic licencing laws bear no relation to the functions of modern society. The cost of opening for an extra two hours beyond closing time is extortionate. This fee has to be paid on a night-by-night basis, demanding that venues must hire a solicitor to go to the courts every single month to detail exactly what nights they will open. This essentially means that it is simply not financially viable for a venue with a capacity of 200 or less to open late, and as such there is virtually nowhere for young DJs to play.
The costs and the laborious red-tape associated with the current system have to be reviewed. The implications of the current set-up are not only incredibly stymying for musicians, but also fundamentally anti-business, and prevent many small spaces around the city from being used for both an economic and culturally valuable purpose. Investment is always needed in the arts, but this problem simply requires legislative change.
Give Us The Night is an independent volunteer group of professionals in the music industry, aiming to bring about this change in licensing laws. The founder Sunil Sharpe has reinvigorated the campaign of late. Spread the word, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and get involved in events planned for later in the year.
Give Us The Night are also holding public meetings over the next two weeks in Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford on the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th respectively. The details and locations for these meetings are attached and linked below:
The Future of Irish Nightlife: Dublin
The Future Of Irish Nightlife: Galway
The Future of Irish Nightlife: Limerick
The Future of Irish Nightlife: Cork
The Future of Irish Nightlife: Waterford