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UK midlifers turn back time with embrace of day clubbing

Visiting a nightclub in the middle of the day is a new concept in Britain for those who still have the urge to dance but no longer want to endure a sleepless night to do so

Published: Feb 26, 2024 02:12:36 PM IST
Updated: Feb 26, 2024 02:55:51 PM IST

UK midlifers turn back time with embrace of day clubbingPeople dance during the "Day Fever" event at the club HERE at Outernet in London, February 10 2024. Image credit: HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP

A crowd eagerly waits for the doors of a London nightclub to open on a Saturday in February. But it's not the small hours -- it's midafternoon and the party will end at 8:00 pm.

Visiting a nightclub in the middle of the day is a new concept in Britain for those who still have an urge to dance but no longer want to endure a sleepless night to do so.

"I'm 52 years of age and it's not a great look for a man of my vintage to be in a nightclub at two o'clock in the morning anymore," Jonny Owen, organiser of the Day Fever event in central London, told AFP.

Owen and his wife, actor Vicky McClure, organised their first daytime disco in the north-central English city of Sheffield in December before bringing it to the "HERE at Outernet" venue in the UK capital.

The idea is quickly becoming popular, with the next seven dates sold out, running to May and taking place in cities including Nottingham, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Women who managed to secure a £17 ($22) ticket for the London bash donned glittery tops while men wore smart shirts.

The clientele was mostly in their forties and fifties, many with jobs and young children, so they could ill afford to suffer the effects of a wild night out the next day.

"I'm quite looking forward to having a drink, feeling like it's evening and that we're having a lovely night like we would have done many years ago," said Katy Magrane, 41, a mother who attended with friends.

"But this way we get to sleep so that's perfect for us," she said.

Darren Mew, 58, who works in construction, told AFP he had not been to a club in 35 years, with opportunities for dancing limited to birthday parties and weddings.

"It's a chance for us to go back in and relive our youth," he said.

Sara Willats, also 58, said Day Fever was a place where "more mature people" can go for a dance without having to fear being judged by younger clubbers.

"You can go and be yourself and have fun and you haven't got any young people go, 'Now look at her'," she said.

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'80s vibes

Once inside, everyone is taken back in time.

The hits of Billy Joel, George Michael, Blur, Cyndi Lauper and the Weather Girls belt out while giant screens display a kaleidoscope of vintage images from the 1980s, including clips of David Bowie and scenes from movies like "ET", "Footloose" and "Dirty Dancing".

Revellers sing at the top of their lungs and dance, with each new track sparking shrieks of joy.

"You can't believe it's Saturday afternoon in London," said Kelly Tipton, a civil servant in her 50s, delighted that she would also make the 9:00 pm train to her home in Dover on England's south coast.

"It's like being in my 20s again -- It's really good fun, brilliant," she said.

Owen, the organiser, said his generation had "been forgotten" when it comes to clubbing.

"We still want a good time... still want things like this," he said.

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For Joe Richardson, deputy general manager at Outernet, a club more accustomed to electronic music, Day Fever is an opportunity to attract new clientele to an industry still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

"Since Covid, the hospitality industry took a bit of a hit. Most clubs closed down, live music venues really suffered," he said.

"Daytime events for this kind of demographic are like gold dust in this industry, so we needed to jump on this opportunity."

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