Club that symbolised Nineties dance culture closes its doors

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The Independent Online

Cream, the Liverpool superclub at the commercial centre of Nineties dance music culture, is to close, its owners confirmed yesterday. The 10th anniversary parties next month will mark Cream's last dance in the city because young people are seeking a more intimate clubbing experience.

Cream, the Liverpool superclub at the commercial centre of Nineties dance music culture, is to close, its owners confirmed yesterday. The 10th anniversary parties next month will mark Cream's last dance in the city because young people are seeking a more intimate clubbing experience.

The demise of the superclub, with Cream going the same way as the Hacienda in Manchest-er, is partly due to a downturn of interest in dance music and the rise of alternatives such as the nu-metal bands including Korn and Puddle of Mudd.

The decision was made after a 30-day review of Cream's operations at the Nation nightclub in Wolstenholme Square where it grew from a Saturday dance night into a powerful global brand of festivals, records and merchandising. But despite the closure of the club, the Cream name will live on in other events, including television series and music releases.

James Barton, the chief executive officer who founded Cream with his friend Darren Hughes, said it would stay at the "forefront of global youth culture". But he added: "Ten years on, it is time to re-evaluate where we are as a company and assess where that fits into today's market."

The success of events such as the Creamfields clubbing festivals and its Cream arena tour this year showed young people wanted a different kind of experience, he said. "In 2002 we brought investment into the company with the aim of growing it and now we are perfectly positioned to develop into new forms of events, music and media."

But some believe the moment has passed for the dance scene. Malik Meer, editor of Muzik magazine, said venues had lost their natural audience. "The superclubs haven't done anything to keep young people so they have gone off to nu-metal. But you're getting a lot more interesting things going on at a smaller level now, with smaller clubs championing new talent."

The superclubs emerged from the illegal rave background, then became corporate with a variety of spin-offs such as CDs and branded events. "Maybe that diluted things, they became less cutting-edge," Meer said.

Viv Craske, editor of Mixmag, said the dance music scene would never die. "But these people have taken their eye off the ball. People want 18-year-old DJs playing around, having a laugh, they don't want 30 or 40-year-old promoters with 30 or 40-year-old DJs.

"The club needs to be open to drive the CD business. Ministry [of Sound] know that. It's the heart of the brand, even though 90 per cent of their revenue is from CDs."

Cream released its greatest number of records this year, and staged 400 events.

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