Glen plans to launch the new 12,000sq ft outdoor clubbing venue on Bidder Street in Canning Town on June 25, and to host a series of 12-hour dance parties. Ernie’s Yard will be built from nineteen 40-foot shipping containers the founder has been “juggling where to put” for two years, and be weather-proofed with the option for clear roofing throughout.
The idea of an all night rave in London even when the weather is good feels a world away, and there has been far more news of club groups entering administration than the launching of new venues so far in 2021. But the entrepreneur, who successfully launched a new outdoor venue monikered Costa Del Tottenham behind The Cause last summer, is confident a recovery is coming for London’s night-time scene and its stakeholders.
The team’s plan for all-night revels is based on the Prime Minister’s roadmap, and tickets will shortly go on sale. Boris Johnson has said that, if all goes according to the dates set out in his plan, all social distancing restrictions will be lifted from June 21.
Glen told the Standard: “I’m launching now because one, I didn’t really have that much of a choice, I’ve had these shipping containers for two years. And two, now I’ve got a license and I’ve got a venue so I might as well try to open it – and it’s outdoors, and if anything opens first it will be that. Costa Del Tottenham went well, we know how to operate socially distanced, and we will if we have to, but we are hoping we don’t have to.”
Is Glen nervous about launching a new venue this summer, with so much uncertainty still ahead? “Of course I’m nervous, but everyone is buying tickets at the moment. Consumer confidence is high, and if I waited longer [to launch] and everybody had spent all their money, they might not be able to buy my tickets. I feel I have to,” he said.
“People are just very eager to go out and see friends and organise things, they’re saying ‘we are all going to this night here and get mates all together again’.
“The bigger festivals like Glastonbury suck up a lot of people and money out of the market. If all those aren’t there, it will filter down [this summer] to those smaller ones with caps of 5,000 or 10,000, so I just think it will happen.”
Several medium-sized events and festivals recently announced they will go ahead in London this summer, including Field Day, Frieze, and The London Craft Beer festival.
The beer festival is set to run over three days in August, with international breweries flown in and a DJ lineup.
Its founder, Greg Wells, said he is also pushing ahead despite the uncertainty and “more hoops to jump through than ever before” because of the “unprecedented” level of demand for tickets the company is seeing.
He told the Standard: “We’re already seeing unprecedented demand for our August event and having a run a successful event in Bristol in mid-2020, we’re very confident we can do this again in London this summer.
“The key to running a festival this summer will be about doing all the small things which mean that a festival will be up to current standards – in terms of area management, rigorous cleaning and pro-active stewarding – whilst not squeezing the fun out of the experience and giving our guests the space to enjoy themselves.”
Ernie’s Yard is set to comprise multiple areas: a dancefloor with overlooking balconies, a street food section with various traders and more yet to be confirmed. Next door there is an old Russian steam bath, whose site is home to a goat rumoured to be called Vladamir.
“He hangs around and pokes his head around the door,” Glen said. “We were sorting the licensing, and a policeman called me and said ‘I’m outside your premises and why is there a goat here?’ It makes a good story.”
What does the future hold for London’s club scene? Will it bounce back? “By the end of the year I think they [clubs] will be open, at full capacity, and have a test at the door and some sort of vaccine passport – I think probably both,” Glen said. “Things will resume to some sort of normality.”