The transformation of French nightclubs

Then we dance ? After a continuous closure of nightclubs since March 2020, the sector is now seeing the end of the tunnel. The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, announced their reopening from July, with specific conditions. The last adjustments are being discussed with the organizations representing the sector.

The health crisis has put the spotlight on this sector, which has a turnover of one billion euros per year (ie half of the amusement park sector) and has 30,000 direct jobs. Not to mention the copyrights generated for music publishers and songwriters.

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It is difficult to present a more precise photograph of these establishments at night, as studies on the subject are so rare. The last one carried out by the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers (Sacem), throughout France, dates from 2014. It noted that between the golden age of the 1970s and 1980s and the mid-2010s , the number of nightclubs has been halved, from around 4,000 to 2,000. Before the health crisis, this figure had fallen further, to around 1,600.

« Free parties »

What represented one of the only places for nightlife for young people saw competition from the 1990s by the explosion of techno music and the development of ” free parties “And “Rave parties”, characterized by the free installation of sound systems in the middle of nature or in closed places.

In the 2000s, a first crisis took hold, according to Sacem. Now in their forties, clients of the 1980s clubs “Are now turning to atmospheric bars and private parties”. And their younger siblings no longer have the means to go out to discotheques. ” The main cause of the decrease in the number of nightclubs at this time was regulatory constraints. », Notes Patrick Malvaës, president of the National Union of Discotheques and Leisure Places (SNDLL). The 2000s were marked by the emergence of new standards in terms of safety, soundproofing, smoking bans, etc.

« The decline does not mean the nightclub market is disappearing, assures Jérôme Guilbert, national manager of the discotheque branch within the National Group of Independents (GNI) hotel and catering. During these years, the sector has become healthier and more professional ».

Giant nightclubs

The offer has evolved. ” In the 2000s, there was the emergence of large discotheques, which could accommodate more than 5,000 people, located more in rural areas. He continues. They sometimes have four or five rooms with their dance floors, a restaurant, a bar, a swimming pool, a karaoke. They are gradually closing their doors.

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« The offer was sometimes very far from where people live, you had to take the car, notes Jérôme Guilbert. Today, demand has shifted to cities. The distance between the party place and the place of sleep has been reduced “. The time has come for the smallest, urban nightclubs, welcoming 300 people on average. Of the 1,600 establishments in France, 300 are now in bankruptcy, receivership or suspension of payments, according to an estimate provided by the SNDLL.

As it stands, the protocol provided for by the government includes the request to present a health pass at the entrance, the obligation to wear a mask while standing, a gauge of 65% indoors and 85% in outdoor in July (85% and 100% in August). There are also ventilation requirements.

“Binding protocol”

“The protocol is very restrictive and there are still points to discuss, notes Jérôme Guilbert. In particular, there is the question of wearing a mask at all times, even while dancing, and the requirement of a health pass regardless of the crowds ”

As for customer feedback, Jérôme Guilbert is not worried: “They will be there, they want to party”.The meeting of June 21 was given by Emmanuel Macron to professionals in the sector to specify the conditions and the reopening schedule.


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