Anti-Clubbing Laws Around the World | Features | MN2S

Last week the Japanese government announced that it will end its 67 year-old ban on public dancing. In the wake of this announcement, we look at clubbing legislation around the world.

Clubbing has often faced resistance from law enforcement. Anti-clubbing legislation is sometimes defended on the basis of public protection from illegal drugs or noise, but there could be more at play. After all, many of the early clubbing and electronic music scenes were set up by persecuted minorities who were sometimes barred from traditional venues due to discriminatory policies that were legal at the time.

Still, whatever the motivations behind them, there have been several infamous anti-clubbing laws that have popped up around the world over the years. We take a look at just a few of them.

1. Japan’s anti-dancing law

This law was brought to international attention again last week as Japanese authorities finally had it overturned.

The law: Actually a collection of laws called fueihō, these rules were put in place in 1948 to restrict the activities of dancehalls, which were seen as hotbeds of prostitution at the time. Fueihō in practice meant large venues could only allow dancing until midnight and smaller venues could never allow dancing at all.

The effects:
Though heavily enforced at first, officers largely turned a blind eye to dancing in clubs for final few decades of the 20th century. But in the early 2010s, after a series of high profile celebrity drug scandals, they began to crack down once again.

Let’s Dance!, a coalition of club owners, DJs, promoters and other activists, fought hard to loosen up the laws in time for the 2020 Olympics. They made some progress in 2015, but this interview with activist/DJ Terre Thaemlitz proved there was still some way to go. Now, the law is set to be totally lifted, hopefully reigniting the Japanese nightlife.

2. Sydney’s lockout laws

These laws came into play after some incidents involving alcohol and violence in 2012. The laws have received near-universal derision from members of the clubbing community.

The law: In an attempt to deter alcohol-fueled violence, these laws make it more difficult for clubbers to buy drink, stay out late and move between clubs. The laws apply to Sydney’s CBD and King’s Cross districts. The specifics of the laws are thus:
– Clubbers cannot enter a venue after 1:30am
– Venues cannot sell alcohol after 3am
– Off-licenses cannot renew their alcohol-selling permits for two years.

The effects: Needless to say the feedback on these laws from promoters, DJs and venue-owners has been largely negative. Club owner, DJ and promoter Murat Kilic urged the people of Sydney to act against these laws to “save Sydney’s soul.” The Guardian said the lockout laws have made the city a ‘global laughing stock.’

Not everyone is so downbeat though. When Ministry of Sound Australia’s Paul Azzopardi spoke to MN2S about clubbing in Sydney, he said it is still possible to have a good night out in the city, and that the city still hosts a thriving music scene.

3. UK anti-rave laws in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994

The conflict between ravers and law enforcement could fill volumes, but here we look specifically at the infamous Criminal Justice and Public Order Act Part V, passed by John Major’s Conservative government in 1994.

The law: After the early rave scene had reached its zenith, with raves breaking down cultural and societal barriers and driving the development of electronic music, the British political establishment decided to clamp down on gatherings of 20 people or more “whether or not trespassers.” Raves, apparently, were likely to cause “significant distress” to locals. Quite why this law was used to shut down parties in the middle of fields or abandoned warehouses is never explained in the text.

Most infamously, the Act defines rave music as “a succession of repetitive beats.”

The effects:
Countless raves were broken up, but the scene was not destroyed. Instead, legal raves at indoor venues across the country began to thrive in clubs like Helter Skelter, The Sanctuary, The Hippodrome, Life at Bowlers, and The Edge.

Be the first to know

Be the first to know about our newest signings, tours, talent availability by signing up today! We only email you updates that matter most to you and vow to never share your email address with anyone else.
Sign up here
* Please fill out this field
* Please fill out this field
* Please fill out this field
* Please fill out this field

Atleast one genre is required

STEP 01 of 03