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Alcohol law changes plea to save Jersey nightlife

A Jersey DJ is calling for the government to "step up" and help the dwindling nightlife industry.

Sam Tumkaew said alcohol and licensing laws needed to change to attract people back into town. Currently, the Licensing (Jersey) Law 1974 does not allow premises to provide promotional deals - including 2 for 1 deals or happy hours.

The government said it was "looking to update" the liquor licensing law in 2024 to help the industry "succeed". One club owner, who is closing down this summer after 19 years, said Jersey had "probably the worst nightlife I've experienced anywhere in Europe".

'Work with government'

The Loft, known for its underground music scene, was launched in 2021 to put on more events in the island - with a mix of local and overseas DJs.

Sam Tumkaew who alongside his DJ work also organises events at the Loft, said those in the industry wanted to "work with the government, not against them".

He said organisers were not given "a clear direction of everything that you needed to put an event on".

He said: "There are a lot of people who want to do bigger events in Jersey but they're just not willing to take on the risk - I think if the government worked more streamline with events promoters, I definitely think you'd see more [events] in the island.

"By doing that, maybe we can come to a place where there's support and there's also a place where there's people willing to take on more types of events and do things we've not seen before. "I think the fact that there's no clear message, it makes that very difficult."

J-P Anquetil opened Rojos 19 years ago - he said a downturn in numbers and the ever increasing cost of alcohol was one of the reasons for shutting its doors.

He said: "The most frustrating thing I find is the nonsense of the duty rise every year done in the name of health - I think a lot of people find that frustrating, because people know that's just an easy way to raise tax and to keep money coming in.

"If they wanted people to actually stop drinking, they would do it through education, but then people might actually stop drinking, and then how would they then fill that hole in the coffers?"

Mr Anquetil said the increases "don't do anything to stop drinking", and instead pushed people to go elsewhere for nights out. He said: "When I first came back here in 1996 from university, all our friends used to come and visit - they used to love coming to Jersey because there was so much going on. "It was cheap, but that situation is literally reversed where it's the opposite - everyone now leaves the island to have a good night out at an affordable cost."


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