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Dark times for nightlife

Ikon nightclub in its heyday
Ikon nightclub in its heyday

Pubs and clubs are preparing for hard times ahead as a town’s night-time economy begins to feel the recession.

Promoters in Maidstone say they have seen up to a 50 per cent drop in trade in the last two years.

Friday night trade has declined so far that the clubland capital of Kent has even been compared to a ghost town.

Promoter Simon Welsh said: “Fridays have completely dropped off over the years and now clubs are beginning to feel it. Sometimes it’s like a ghost town in the bars on Friday nights.

“Clubs are not necessarily struggling yet but certainly they have to be more aware of how they can get people back out and spending their money."

Club Class and Loft promoter Jeff Gray said that a rock night at the Loft, in Gabriel’s Hill, was successful, but it was in the minority.

He added: “People now would rather go to one absolutely blinding event.

"Promoters who used to put on weekly dance nights would now never dream of doing it as they just wouldn’t succeed."

Maidstone’s night-time economy, including restaurants, cinemas, theatres, pubs and bars, turns over more than £62 million every year and provides 1,500 jobs.

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