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By Charlie Baylis on 18.5.2023

Students vs. Locals in Canterbury Nightclub Row

A brand new nightclub is to be opened on the 10th of July in Canterbury. The £1million development will be called ‘Chill’, and will be situated where Chicago’s, which closed on April the 5th, was previously located.

The opening of a new nightclub has provoked outrage from number Canterbury residents. Gerda Buckingham, posting on the Kent News website said, “The main problem is the extended opening hours which means that there is no respite from the anti-social behaviour during the night.” However the need for a another night club in Canterbury seems obvious to the average student with just ‘The Works’ and ‘Studio 41’ available at present in the city centre, ‘Chill’ represents a viable alternative for both students and other nightclub attendees.

Vicki Wright, a student who has lived in Canterbury for her whole life, was not alone in her suggestion that “If I want to go out in the evening there is nowhere really to go. I can either go to the rubbish cinema, or go out and get wrecked,” she says. “The only option young people have is to go pubbing and clubbing.”

Though the development has been touted as completely new, and ‘not just a re-vamp’ the fact that it will be situated exactly where Chicago’s used to be will provoke suspicion from clubbers. Additionally the fact that ‘Chill’ is replacing an old nightclub means that there will be exactly the same number of nightclubs in Canterbury next year, so the laments of Canterbury’s residents seem misguided.

Other individuals in opposition to the plans cite that Canterbury needs more good live music venues, as it appears most touring bands do not currently feature Canterbury on their map. The organisers of the once a year ‘Lounge on the Farm’ music festival exclaim that Canterbury is “crying out” for more live music venues rather than another nightclub. There have also been calls suggesting that Canterbury needs more upmarket venues, as ‘The Works’ in particular has been singled out by some for its scantily clad, inebriated women and loud, aggressive men.

Canterbury resident Mark Brown summed up the feeling of the majority of young people living and studying in Canterbury when he said the city needs “one more club, plus a decent cinema, a bowling alley, the list is endless.”


  • i’m not going to comment upon the whole student vs resident debate as both sides has indeed valid issues.

    What i am here to talk about is Canterbury’s desperate need for a proper live music venue. coming from a small provincial town in north kent (guess where he says pointing at his name), to me it seems ludicrous that a town of this size, has in fact no decent live music venues (and as a previous patron of orange street, its good but not really enough).

    Tunbridge wells is also somewhat of a trashy night club town (with no student population)with, much like canterbury, two central nightclubs and it experiences much the same problems as here. (loud men, scantily clad inebriated women, etc) and yet due to the presnce of the little know tunbridge wells forum (a proper 275 capacity music venue that used to be a public toilet), it boasts a vibrant music scene. example of which is the perrenial unsigned band competition which lasts over 6 months due to the sheer amount of entrants each year.

    And as to charlies comments that good bands wouldnt come here, as we supposedly are a trashy night club town, just to let you know that as long as bands can get a good crowd they will play anywhere! (trust me, i’ve been playing live music for a long time!) heading back to the forum example bands that have played there over the years have been acts such as silver sun, long pigs, menswear, therapy, hundred reasons, and not to mention little known bands such as green day, coldplay, feeder and oasis!

    basically, if you build it they will come!

    and the fact that, most students and most gig go-ers fall into the same demographic (18-24, if you really need to know). i cant see any reason why a decent music venue wouldnt work.

    so while there doesnt appear to be too much point to this comment (at least not in a bickering, argumentative sense), please just heed this call; Canterbury needs a Live Music Venue!!!!

    By prodigious of Tunbridge wells on 20.5.2023

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  • ok Captain!

    By Charlie on 20.5.2023

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  • I can assure you Corenlius is the correct spelling of my name, it’s an unusual corruption and that’s Captain Corenlius to you, you upstart ruffian!

    By Corenlius on 19.5.2023

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  • Nice essay corenlius, or is it Tim? I think you’d find your birth-name easier to spell, perhaps anyway…

    By Charlie on 19.5.2023

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  • Great exactly what Canterbury needs: another souless nightclub owned by the usual leisure consortiums with the sole aim of making as much money from aggressively marketed cheap drinks promotions. The writer diplomatically touches on scantily clad women and loud men, but let’s not beat about the bush, this is exactly the demographic the owners are hoping to attract.

    One doesn’t need to be an economic genius to realise that there is less capital in a venue where the average punter has a few beers and the focus is on the music than one where a significant proportion (not all before I am shouted down) go to with the intention of “getting wrecked” as the student above helpfully pointed out.

    All of which leads to the complaints of the local “spoil sports.” Distinctions such as students vs locals are crude in the first place as many young people who are not students and are also locals are a large part of the target market anyway. However, the locals I am assuming the author is referring to are the older long-term residents of the City. Yes the night time economy is important to the city, but students are for the most part here for only 3 years whereas some residents have lived here all their lives, they should keep this in mind when screaming and shouting or kicking bins down the street at 3 a.m. Imagine if thousands of people descended on your home town, kept you awake several nights a week and then left. Would you be happy?

    Compromise then is perhaps impossible, with local cultural patterns reflecting that nationally, the obssession for repeated self-obliteration is seemingly inexhaustable. However the live music scene is more popular than ever, but perhaps bands don’t want to come to Canterbury precisely because they see it as a trashy nighclub town. What is needed is a grass roots movement like at Orange Street music club encouraging new talent and creating new opportunites for it to be showcased. Hopefully after enough time there will be a large enough alternative scene to attract more bands, with a market who can enjoy a good night out and respect the local environment.

    By Corenlius on 19.5.2023

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