Blow for clubbers as Cream sits out Saturday nights

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The Independent Culture

Liverpool's superclub Cream is on the brink of leaving its spiritual home after 10 years as clubbers turn their backs on the once legendary weekly dance nights.

Liverpool's superclub Cream is on the brink of leaving its spiritual home after 10 years as clubbers turn their backs on the once legendary weekly dance nights.

Cream, one of the most famous clubbers' brands of the 1990s, is initially to close for a 30-day review with its directors expected to concentrate on festivals and tours.

The end of the Saturday night events marks the end of an era for a night-club that evolved into a corporate brand that was successfully exported. It held nights in Ibiza and Buenos Aires and two-day festivals all over the world. The DJs Paul Oakenfold and Carl Cox became well known after appearing at the club.

Cream's club nights followed the success of Manchester's Hacienda and together they helped to forge a new confidence for young people across the region.

Its history was not a smooth run of successes. Merseyside Police expressed concerns in 2000 about the "drug culture" at Cream, saying it could have done more to prevent drug dealing there. In 1999, a 21-year-old woman died after collapsing on the dance floor.

Its downturn mirrors the fortunes of other superclubs that have struggled to retain the huge numbers that flooded on to dance floors in the 1990s.

Its management yesterday blamed the closure on a shift in dance culture away from weekly night-club events to large-scale festivals and arena tours. Cream pointed to evidence that it was doing well in other areas. It runs 400 club events worldwide, and has interests in television and radio and the record business in Britain, North America and Australia. It has sold more albums in the first six months of this year than it did in the whole of the last year.

James Barton, Cream's chief executive, said the club was still at the "forefront of youth culture" and would continue its national and international events.

He launched Cream with his friend Darren Hughes as a weekend party night catering for 400 people. Although that number dipped to 200, smart marketing transformed the brand into a world-famous name and made the men millionaires. It ran dance festivals, known as Creamfields, where the club image was swapped for five-a-side tournaments and internet cafés. The Cream brand, with a distinctive three-looped logo, was used for merchandise, record releases and international tours.

Mr Barton said: "Ten years on it is time to re-evaluate where we are as a company and assess where that fits into today's market.

"It's clear that young people want so much more from the Cream experience. This is evident from the massive success of Creamfields over the last five years, the popularity of Ibiza 2002, and the success of the Cream x10 arena tour this year. Our international events business produced over 400 events this year and a further four Creamfields festivals means that Cream continues to be a forefront of global youth culture."

The section of the nightclub Nation that housed Cream will be closed for the rest of the summer. It will open for a Cream resident DJs' night on 31 August and for the club's 10th birthday party on 11 and 12 October.

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