London has a huge opportunity at the moment. After a period when it was challenging not to be pessimistic – with venues closing and certain areas becoming creatively soulless – we’re seeing London acting like London again: evolving and reinvigorated, with exceptional talent and parts of the city feeling ‘opened up’.
What the city needs at this time, to help the feeling of energy grow, is for this creativity to be respected and protected from the grassroots up: Independent Venue Week, Music Venue Trust and the Agent of Change Principle are great examples of how this is already happening. With the right kind of backing for the phenomenal ability, approaches and concepts that are bursting through, London’s potential is limitless. In music particularly, we could expect to see the following things happening:
1) A landscape of unloved, interesting spaces being reborn. Breathing life into old buildings, protecting their heritage and unique characteristics but approaching them with new eyes is at the core of Printworks’ heart.
2) London ‘finding itself’. In the last year alone, areas of London previously not championed for their nightlife are now bustling with Tottenham and, of course, Printworks’ Canada Water, are prime examples of this.
3) The day parties that have long been a part of electronic music culture, and which Printworks is known for, could also become more widespread, giving London’s entertainment a significant new level. At Printworks, people will stay with us for the whole day – it’s thrilling to see audiences immerse themselves in that way.
4) An increase in production values across venues, answering a savvy, increasingly sophisticated audience’s demand for high-quality audio and lighting. We refuse to compromise on this at Printworks – it’s crucial that we keep looking forward when it comes to technology and quality of experience, never resting on our laurels.
5) A continued blurring of live and electronic music; both in terms of the music itself and audiences. We have witnessed that people are no longer fans of either just live music or electronic – they’re up for experiencing both, so long as it’s intelligently, authentically presented. Printworks, for example, has seen many of the same people attending electronic shows and live events.
6) More than anything, we should witness an elevated level of experience for anyone attending a creative venue. Customers are already expecting more – imaginative spaces, phenomenal and unique line ups, considered food and drink options, and to constantly be surprised and delighted. That can only be positive for all of us.
Brad Thompson is the Managing Director of Printworks London, Broadwick Live and Broadwick Venues. Check out Printworks’ phenomenal Autumn/Winter program at printworkslondon.co.uk