I think there’s a difference between clubbing and raving - clubbing is getting done up to look nice, go to a smart place on the high street, hear some songs with words you know, maybe pull, get a kebab for the taxi home, all because it’s Becky’s birthday or whatever. Whereas raving is being into the music and the culture - basically, the type of person who knows and cares who is actually DJing. They’re very different pastimes but they’re very easily conflated - a lot of people claim to like clubbing but they would never set foot in a venue playing house and techno.
I think raving will come back, but I think clubbing will really struggle. The younger folk I know through work etc, they already prefer to drink and party at home. It’s cheaper and they can control the music themselves on Youtube with an aux cable. The idea of snogging a stranger in a nightclub in the post-covid world isn’t appealing. They’re hyper-aware of their presence online - not being on social media pictured drinking or ending up in a “hilarious” viral Snapchat. They want to look good for Instagram and, let’s be honest, two-day long benders just aren’t conducive to that.
I’m not saying all 18-yr-olds are only into clubbing - of course there’s plenty of them out there who love dance music and raving culture etc. But I think that venues will need to become destinations, rather than take for granted a steady stream of young people ready to get drunk, because between post-covid fears and the ways the digital revolution has changed them, the appeal will be limited. To become destinations they’ll need to offer something worthwhile - quality music and DJs, value for money, etc.
The audience for a raving nightclub experience will be committed and keen but I think it will be harder to convince “casuals” to come through the door. So I think venues will struggle but the atmosphere in the ones that survive will become better, because it will be necessary for them to do so.