Printworks to Close For Good, Becoming Offices

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The end has been coming for quite some time. Despite opening only six years ago, Printworks is next on the well-blooded chopping block, at the front of a long queue of clubs closing their doors in the capital.

The closure of Printworks is nothing short of a tragedy. A beacon of hope for the London club scene when it opened, the superclub repurposed the disused Harmsworth Quays printing press (from which it takes its name), both honouring the country’s industrial past while showing there is still a future for nightlife within the ruins of Empire. The news that the site was to be turned into yet another office complex was met with a resounding heavy sigh and much pushback from the rave community, and represents yet another nail in the coffin for London’s nightlife.

Despite the communities efforts to keep it open, the task was simply insurmountable, becoming another symbol of public powerlessness in the face of private interests. There is also an element of confusion surrounding Printworks successor; in an era of increasing work from home, where is demand to build new offices when the old ones themselves are barely half-full? The move is to benefit a select few with no consideration for public use.

However, the organisers at Printworks have refused to go out with a bang. Since the beginning of this year, the amount and magnitude of events have been levels far above anything seen across the rest of the country. The Hydra had taken over Printworks for a number of weekends, and along with FWD and Plastic People they hosted huge artists such as Jamie xx, Bonobo, Flowdan, Skream, D Double E, Kode9, Ben UFO, and loads more.

Their closing weekend, running from Friday 28th of April to the 1st of May, featured packed out schedules, with the biggest coming on Sunday: Sub Focus, Dimension, Kings of the Rollers, mixtress, TQD, Sammy Virji, p-rallel, and MJ Cole. The special guest act, at 3pm, was cult hero Andy C, playing all triple-drops on vinyl. It was a worthy send-off for London's most admired venue.

Printworks successor, The Beams

The successor to Printworks, The Beams (above), has already been open since the end of last year, but despite best efforts nothing could replace the experience of Printworks. The verticality of the main hall, the walkways, the sheer height of the place, the authentic industrial feel, the sprawling labyrinthine megacomplex, and the highly sophisticated lightshow aided by its structure, are all near-impossible to replace at another venue.

However, I recieved a word-of-mouth rumour that the closed-down IKEA on the North Circular is being turned into Printworks' spiritual successor, with all the screens, speakers, and lighting rigs to be reused at the new venue. Most ravers would deem it an apt replacement, but nothing can quite replicate Printworks' foreboding interior. 

It's not just a night out; it’s a day festival at the Death Star. Its gloomy, industrial feel was even capitalised on by its use in last years Batman film, a testament to its peculiarity.  Every red penny you spent on a ticket was repaid by an utterly unique, irreplaceable experience (outside of Berlin at least). We will miss you Printworks.