To say that Switch has changed Southampton’s nightlife for the better would be something of an understatement. Now approaching its first birthday, the 1,250 capacity club on Above Bar Street exploded onto the Southampton scene in September 2014, christening its booth in style as none other than Seth Troxler headlined the opening weekend.
Since then, the club has consistently gone from strength to strength. Switch’s success has come from tying together some of the city’s strongest promotional brands in a single venue; the combination of the popular student Friday night Juiced and the flagship Saturday night Warehouse brand (previously at Mo’Club, now Engine Rooms) brought together some of Southampton’s biggest club nights under one roof.
That said, the team at Switch hasn’t rested easy on the strength of these brands’ reputations, but used the venue to grow. The club has been instrumental in building the Southampton Soundclash brand, hosting warm-up events and after-parties for the new festival. Meanwhile Warehouse has been invited further afield to host arenas at other festivals including Common People and Mutiny Festival.
To put this into context, Switch’s success shouldn’t be understated considering that the UKs nightlife industry is more challenging than ever before, as owners are faced by increasingly tight licensing and noise restrictions from councils. The venue’s city centre site proved troublesome for previous occupants Provenance and later Myth, each lasting no longer than a year before reinvention.
Recently published figures from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) illustrate the decline as 1,733 clubs currently operate in the UK compared to 3,144 a decade ago. It’s a trend that Southampton hasn’t been exempt from, as the city has lost both Unit and The Cellar in just the past year; two popular venues, each with their fair share of well attended events.
It’s cause to celebrate then that in the space of only a year Switch has become a thriving hotspot for clubbers. Some may even go so far as to say it’s hard to imagine Southampton’s nightlife without Switch. Funnily enough that’s what clubbers have had to come to terms with for the past couple of months. Since July, the club has been shut to undergo refurbishment. Venue co-founder Ryan Keary explained:
We’re reinvesting into the venue to really take it to the next level and do it justice.
A new downstairs bar area is being built in the place of the downstairs VIP booths. The two bars either side of the dancefloor have been taken out to allow more room in the frequently packed space, as well as improve flow in and out of the VIP area(s).
The VIP areas have seen a big overhaul. Four new VIP booths are being added upstairs, as well as two brand new raised dancefloor booths with a capacity of 30 people and their own private balconies, allowing backstage to become an exclusive invite only area. Backstage and the two new dancefloor booths are also sponsored by Patrón.
Of course, we couldn’t forget about the all important soundsystem. Switch will be bolstering their offering from Funktion-One with a completely new rig. Switch will be fitted with a custom built bespoke system tailored to the club. We can’t reveal the whole specification just yet, as Switch are keeping tight lipped but rest assured the announcement will be pretty big.
The question on your mind now is probably ‘when can I hear it in action?’ Rest assured, it’s not long now until the club reopens for coming season as Saturday 19th September marks the launch of Warehouse’s autumn calendar at Switch. Headlining is Hot Creations’ wAFF, but for those that absolutely can’t wait until then, Switch will be open this coming August Bank Holiday weekend to host Time Tunnel on Saturday 29th and the now sold out Garage Nation Soundclash Pre-Party on Sunday 30th.
Switch will once again play a role in both Universities’ official 2015 Freshers’ calendars, and regular student night Juiced will kick off again on Friday 18th September just in time for university move in weekend. New Tuesday night ‘Quids In’ will make sure the club is doing their part to uphold Southampton’s reputation as home to the countries cheapest student nights.
The essential date for the calendar however is Switch’s official Birthday celebration, slated for Sunday 20th September with Duke Dumont’s Blasé Boys Club tour.
As it stands MK remains the DJ bringing in the biggest guestlist, whilst Snoop Dogg holds the title of fastest sellout act with a lighting fast 23 minutes, that snatched the glory from Annie Mac’s impressive time of 65 minutes exact.
Year one for Switch has set a new precedence for Southampton’s nightlife, and year two is already looking like it’s going to break new ground.