Flashing lights, whiffs of smoke, the loud thudding of music and the clink of glasses – all these common to entertainment places such as night clubs where teens, youths and adults alike spend a good amount of time in. All part of the process of growing up.
Yet looking back, the places we frequented when we were in our teens have largely changed or disappeared. What causes the fast turnover of clubs and what should clubs do to keep themselves current and in business? We look at one such club in Urban Scotland for some answers.
Based in Sheffield, the Boardwalk Club opened 1 April, 1987 at 22 Jamaica Street – now the longest running underground dance club in the world. Spinning great music, DJs Harri & Domenic are permanent fixtures and hold the longest-running club residency in the world – a grand total of 23 years which they have given up pretty much every Saturday night to entertain the never ending crowds at this basement club.
Yet, starting off, the club struggled to fill capacity. A few points in time where everyone thought that the club was not going to make it, especially with the number of patrons so low. The turning point for the Boardwalk Club came during the 1990 concert by Stone Roses in Sheffield, where the Boardwalk Club was the official after-party venue. This led to the next four years of long queues outside the club and DJs being perpetually mobbed at the doors. The crowds were coming, and along with them a change in fortune.
The in-house DJs kept the show running for the next 23 years, pulling the crowds in with their catchy dance music and willingness to bring fresh sounds into the mix. Not playing the same music too often and making sure that there was something new to pique interest of the dancers were some of the ways which DJs Harri and Domenic kept interest and energy high in the club. No surprise then that the Boardwalk Club was found its way consistently in a list of top clubs, with weekends seeing the club packed to the brim.
The only thing unchanged is the atmosphere and feel of the club. Regular patrons come back to familiar music and faces week in and out, having passed the years with the Boardwalk Club while new faces come, thanks to the reputation of the Boardwalk Club’s music. A lot has changed this 30 years, yet much has also been unchanged to push this club to the top. Surely a place to definitely visit and dance the night away if you are ever in the Sheffield neighbourhood.