Fabric (club)

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Crowd and laser.jpg
Location Islington, London, England
Coordinates 51°31′10.05″N 0°6′10.36″W / 51.5194583°N 0.1028778°W / 51.5194583; -0.1028778Coordinates: 51°31′10.05″N 0°6′10.36″W / 51.5194583°N 0.1028778°W / 51.5194583; -0.1028778
Owner Fabric Life Limited
Type Nightclub
Capacity 2,500[1]
Opened 1999
Closed 2016

Fabric was a nightclub in Islington, London, England. Founded in 1999, it was controversially closed down by local authorities in 2016. Fabric began a campaign to save the club and the UK's dance music culture on the 16th September 2016.[2]

Located on Charterhouse Street opposite Smithfield Market, the club was voted World Number 1 Club in DJ Magazine's "Top 100 Clubs Poll" in 2007 and 2008 [3] and ranked World Number 2 in 2009, 2010 and 2011.[4][5]



The club was founded by Keith Reilly[6] and Cameron Leslie and opened on 29 October 1999.[7]

Fabric occupied the renovated space of the Metropolitan Cold Stores. Smithfield Meat Market stands and operates from a site directly opposite. The area's construction took place in Victorian times alongside nearby landmarks Holborn Viaduct and Fleet Valley Bridge.

Fabric has three separate rooms with independent sound systems; two of the rooms feature stages for live acts. A feature of the club is its vibrating floor in Room One: known as a "bodysonic" dancefloor, sections of the floor are attached to 400 bass transducers emitting bass frequencies of the music being played.

In 2010, Fabric briefly went into administration after its sister club Matter, with whom it had a cross-guaranteed loan, announced it would close for the summer due to financial difficulties suffered as a consequence of continued delays with TfL upgrade of the Jubilee Line.[8] Fabric was put on the market on 1 June 2010.[9] On 24 June it was announced Fabric was no longer in administration and had been bought by Fabric Life Limited, "a consortium who fully back [Fabric] founders Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie's vision."[10]


The musical genres played there varied. FabricLive was a Friday-night "soundclash", including tempos from hip hop, breakbeat, dubstep, drum and bass and electro. Fabric's Saturday nights showcased house and techno. Craig Richards and Terry Francis were the club's resident DJs. Richards was also one of the Directors of Music Programming, selecting the lineups for Saturday nights, which have featured appearances by DJs such as Ricardo Villalobos, Carl Craig, Ellen Allien, and many others.[11]

Sundays at Fabric were promoted by Wetyourself, a polysexual event that had been running from February 2009 to its closure. The music policy was underground house and techno, with the occasional live PA.[citation needed]

Other ventures[edit]

A CD series was launched in 2001 under Fabric Records. It rotates monthly between Fabric and FabricLive, with the series showcasing established and emerging DJs. It is entirely independent and operated solely by Fabric.[12] The full list of titles in the series can be seen at Fabric discography.

On 19 September 2008, Reilly and Leslie opened the 2,600 capacity music venue Matter.[13][14] Located in The O2, it was their first project outside of Fabric. Matter has since closed.[15]

Houndstooth is the artist-led label from Fabric Records, started in February 2013. The label is home to artists such as Special Request, Akkord, Call Super, Snow Ghosts, Throwing Snow, Second Storey, Soft as Snow and 18+.[16]

Official closure[edit]

On 7 September 2016, after a review into the supposedly drug-related deaths of two people in the club, Fabric's licence was revoked and the venue was closed permanently,[17][18] despite a campaign to secure the club's future backed and popularized by DJs, musicians, venue-goers and several politicians.[18] London's mayor Sadiq Khan criticized the decision and placed it in the context of the city having lost 50% of its nightclubs since 2008, a "decline [which] must stop if London is to retain its status as a 24-hour city with a world-class nightlife".[19]

According to The Independent, documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that the closure was a long term plan orchestrated by the local Islington council long before the two drug-related deaths occurred, "with the police as pawns and drug legislation as a constant, convenient excuse."[20] A undercover police operation, codenamed "Operation Lenor" (apparently after the fabric softener brand[20]) found some evidence of drug taking inside the venue, witnessing open drug use and drugs being offered for sale.[21] The original undercover police report stated "the general atmosphere of the club was friendly and non-threatening", but these findings did not make it into the Islington statement.[20] The same police borough had recently referred other London venues' management to Fabric as a "bastion of good practice".[20] The Independent linked the local council's closure decision to austerity-imposed cross-board cost cutting: "Fabric may have made money locally, yet that money never made its way back to the council and police in the area."[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://golondon.about.com/od/musicandnightlife/p/fabriclondon.htm
  2. ^ http://www.fabriclondon.com/save-culture?orderby=amount
  3. ^ djmag.com (2008-02-01). "Top 100 Clubs 2008". DJmag.com. 
  4. ^ djmag.com (2009-02-01). "Top 100 Clubs 2009". DJmag.com. 
  5. ^ djmag.com (2010-02-01). "Top 100 Clubs 2010". DJmag.com. 
  6. ^ djmag.com (2009-11-24). "Outstanding Contribution – Keith". DJmag.com. 
  7. ^ "Fabric: An oral history". RA.com. 2009-10-09. 
  8. ^ "Further delay to Jubilee Line upgrade". BBC. London. 2010-08-10. 
  9. ^ "Fabric nightclub put up for sale". NME. 2010-06-02. 
  10. ^ "Fabric: Out of Administration". RA. 2010-06-24. 
  11. ^ "Club (About)". fabriclondon.com. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Label (About)". fabriclondon.com. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Exclusive: inside Fabric's new club Matter". Timeout.com. 2008-06-17. 
  14. ^ "Fabric duo take Matter into their own hands". musicweek.com. 2008-06-17. 
  15. ^ "Fabric's Cameron Leslie speaks out". London: RA. 2008-07-13. 
  16. ^ "Label of the month: Houndstooth". 
  17. ^ "'Culture of drugs' at London's Fabric nightclub causes licence to be revoked", BBC Newsbeat, 7 September 2016
  18. ^ a b Rawlinson, Kevin (7 September 2016). "London nightclub Fabric to close permanently after licence is revoked". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  19. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (2016-09-08). "'Landmark clubs are evidence of creativity and energy in a city': why Fabric's closure matters". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-09-08. 
  20. ^ a b c d e Byers, Alasdair; Sheridan, Tim; Hooton, Christopher (7 September 2016). "Was this the real reason Fabric was shut down? 'Operation Lenor' and a cash-strapped council and police". London: The Independent. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  21. ^ Savage, Mark; Rosney, Daniel (7 September 2016). "Fabric closure: What next for the UK's club scene?". London: BBC. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 

External links[edit]