[wasteland 3 nita gett]Scots clubs launch ‘freedom to dance’ campaign in bid to halt spread of illegal raves


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  Leading figures in Scotland's nightclub and music scene are demanding urgent help stem the rise of illegal raves and halt a “complete wipe-out” of jobs.

  Big names including TRNSMT boss Geoff Ellis and Glasgow's SubClub hope their new “freedom to dance” campaign will support regulated venues struggling after months of Covid restrictions.

  The UK's furlough scheme, which protects a share of wages, ends next month. A survey of the Night-Time Industries Association Scotland suggests 83% of firms could shed as many as 75,000 jobs.

  Meanwhile, dangerous illegal parties are being held in wasteland and in rented accommodation. Nicola Sturgeon yesterday condemned 300 people for partying at a mansion in Midlothian.

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  Mike Grieve of SubClub in Glasgow said: “We owe it to our youth to preserve safe high-quality nightlife in Scotland for the future, and without urgent action we will be left with a cultural void, ripe for unregulated and illegal events to step into.”

  Geoff Ellis, who also ran the T in the Park festival, said the alternative to well regulated licensed venues is illegal raves and increased risk of Covid spreading.

  ”This isn't just about the night time economy as vital as that is, it's also about many people's health and well being,” he said.

  ”One of the most important aspects of a person's health is having a job and the industry is literally at the precipice of a cliff edge with tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

  ”There is the ability to both test, then monitor and trace customers effectively – the alternative is unregulated parties and illegal raves which provides a greater risk of transmission.”

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  Music, currently banned in indoor venues, is seen as vital to the business model of 95% of the businesses polled in the survey.

  Just one in five venues have been able to repurpose their space to deal with health restrictions. But they are still expecting around 40% less trade than last year.

  The campaign argues the industry does not have a “road map” for reopening, or specific funding.

  NITA chief executive Michael Kill said: “We have to be given the opportunity to engage with Scottish Government to address the ongoing issues around businesses that are unable to open, potential road map and subsequent support before it's too late, and we see a swathe of businesses go to the wall, and mass redundancies.”