Since the worldwide lockdowns of spring 2020, VibeLab has initiated a global dialogue among night mayors and commissioners, scholars and academics, resulting in the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan.
Developed in discussion with urban designers, planners, and nighttime industry leaders, and drawing from nighttime cities implementing responsive public health policies and strategic recovery measures, the plan utilises case studies to present workable solutions for cities of many sizes, geographical and economic contexts, and multiple models of nighttime governance.
The plan has been structured into a set of themes that address specific issues that cities are facing globally. The first chapter, released next week is led by Mark Adam Harold from Vilnius Night Alliance and will cover the many facets involved in operating Open-air nightlife. A guide to wether it is feasible for night-time venues to operate as open-air establishments? What implications does that have for safety and quality of life of patrons, employees and city residents?
After weeks of desperate warnings that the UK was facing an irreversible cultural catastrophe without targeted support, ministers announced a package that it said would protect the future of the country’s museums, galleries, theatres and music venues.
The package includes:
- A £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England, consisting of £270m in loans and £880m in grants.
- £100m of targeted support for England’s national cultural institutions and English Heritage.
- £120m of capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England paused because of the pandemic.
- Extra money for devolved administrations, with £97m for Scotland, £59m for Wales and £33m for Northern Ireland.
“Recognise and strengthen club culture as part of Berlin”
The Berlin Senate of the German capital, has stated that Berlin clubs should be better protected against oppression. In doing so the Senate has declared that clubs should be recognised as cultural sites. This is evident by a government application from the SPD, Left and Greens.
Club culture is a cultural asset which played a major role in shaping social, cultural and economic life in Berlin. Berlin clubs generate billions of dollars in annual revenue for the city, building connections to places and drawing global tourism. Club culture also enriches the cultural landscape of Berlin far beyond the pure “entertainment culture”. They create identity, are open spaces or even shelters for marginalised groups and intervene in urban politics. They make Berlin a city worth living in, with many people from different social and cultural backgrounds with values that stand for diversity and tolerance.
On June 12th, the government factions submitted an application to honour them, but also to protect them. Clubs worthy of protection are those which “have regular game play and a recognised artistic profile, which is characterised by a curated program, music aesthetic standards and a spatial concept,” it says.
According to the application, new building projects in the country should take clubs into account and builders themselves should provide noise protection in case of doubt.
“In addition to the current corona restrictions, these clubs are increasingly threatened in their existence due to competition in use,” states the application paper.
In particular, the rising commercial rents and crowding out by approaching residential buildings are a problem. The parliamentary groups also spoke out in favour of strengthening the country’s noise protection fund and also highlight the international appeal of the program.
The club scene association and the “parliamentary forum for club culture and nightlife”, an association of members of the five parliamentary groups Bündnis 90 / DIE GRÜNEN, SPD, DIE LINKE, FDP and CDU, have been promoting clubs in terms of building law for cultural purposes for a long time to be classified as places of amusement.
Clubcommission Berlin welcomes the decision:
“We are very happy about the confirmation of club culture that made the city of Berlin so significant and colourful. We curate our programs as well as opera houses or theatres and are therefore also cultural companies. Densification, advancing housing developments and real estate speculation are a sword of Damocles that we club operators can usually not avert on their own. With its clearly defined mandate to consider clubs as cultural facilities in urban planning in the future and to apply the agent-of-change principle, the Senate is sending a clear signal in the fight against the displacement of our venues. We are particularly pleased about the planned Federal Council initiative, in which Berlin will campaign for a reform of the Building Usage Ordinance and for the recognition of clubs at the federal level. “
After a year of hard work and close collaboration we are excited to share the official report of The Creative Footprint (CFP), Tokyo edition. CFP is a sociocultural initiative which maps and indexes creative space to measure the impact of nightlife and cultural activity on cities.
The CFP Tokyo report has been completed at a crucial time in the development of Tokyo’s nighttime industry. With the survey conducted during 2019, the resulting study can now provide a point of comparison in understanding and measuring the impact of the global pandemic on the strength and potential of Tokyo’s cultural activity after dark.
The study also includes detailed recommendations to support and enrich this cultural activity, the implementation of which will prove more important than ever during the coming months and years of recovery.
Nighttime industries worldwide are in a particularly vulnerable position due to COVID-19 measures; with so many businesses unable to reopen, many of the ‘creative spaces’ that CFP seeks to document are at risk of disappearing for good. Detailed surveys of these spaces are an essential first step in developing plans for their recovery, and ongoing survival.
As many global cities embark on a process of cautious reopening, there is a unique opportunity for a ‘reset’ in thinking and tactics of both governments and nighttime industry stakeholders. With initiatives like Creative Footprint Tokyo, and The Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, Vibelab hopes to empower cities to seize this opportunity, and ensure the survival and growth of their nighttime industries and creative cultures.
Please download the study by signing up here (pdf, 14,9 MB)
Der Tage Spiegel reports on how illegal raves have been springing up in parks and on the water ways in Berlin due to clubs remaining closed for the foreseeable future. Berlin’s ClubCommission have been working on ways to communicate with the Berlin municipality in order to legalise and tolerate events.
[Translation from German]
“Illegal events and the boat demo would have stigmatised the scene. “We need good examples,” says the district mayor.
At The Berlin Club Commission, Ilya Minaev has been dealing with free open-air events for years.
Last year, the Club Commission launched a pilot project on an industrial wasteland in the Haselhorst district of Spandau. There were legal celebrations there on 40 evenings and nights in 2019 – without complaints, without problems.
This year they wanted to extend the project to the Spreepark in Treptow, the authorities had already given the green light, but then Corona came. Now Minaev hopes that the party scene will soon be provided with new space. Minaev also pleads for events with DJs, amplified, electronic music and possibly also light shows to take place outdoors. So far, there have only been discussions in Pankow, but green spaces are out of the question because of their desolate condition. Instead, spaces or fallow land are conceivable.”
Lists have already been created internally for legal raves that are intended to guarantee social and ecological sustainability.These have now been expanded to include recommendations on protection against infection.
In an article first published in May, Philip Kolvin QC and Alicia Scholer presented a detailed and alarmingly grave analysis of the precarious position global nightlife industries find themselves in, what circumstances created this and the drastic re-thinking required to ensure the future of these industries.
One month later, the article’s projections of the impact and recovery of COVID-19 have already proven prophetic, with many short-term predictions already becoming a reality as countries push to reopen their economies.“
“The social economy needs to be seen as an asset you do something for, not a problem you do something about.”
“In this series, we have explored the varying methods and levels of sustainability that queer people around the world must enact to exist. From the activism of Miss Barbie-Q in Los Angeles, to the outspokenness of Negra Conda in Mexico, the intellectual discernment and performance art of Merrie Cherry in New York, and the determined spirit of countless others worldwide, how we grapple with this time of COVID-19 (and in the face of other racial, gender, and economic hardships) will impact how we will exist in the future.”
Click here to read the full feature
For the second part of the three part series: Queer Nightlife in the time of COVID-19, Joaquin Gutierrez, Los Angeles-based Community Sexual Health Organizer and LGBTQIA+ Event Coordinator, looks at how Mexicos community is moving with resilience.
Joaquin believes Mexican queer/trans/non-binary nightlife culture is vibrant, resilient, hard-working and innovative, and that the stories of this community must be shared as a form of resistance to the oppressive factors that Mexican culture implicates on us as Queer beings.
“From Tijuana to Guadalajara, Jalisco, the future of the queer community in Mexico calls to question what steps for survival are necessary, leaving people in different socio-economic and social levels of the community scrambling to do what’s best for themselves.”
Read the full feature here
Mimi Tempestt , scholar, creative artist, and queer community activist and Will J, community organizer, queer creative, innovator, and member of Los Angeles Nightlife Alliance (LANA), interviewed DJs, party promoters, artists, safe-space activists, patrons, venue owners/managers, and performers from around the globe, asking how their lives and communities were functioning and navigating through the pandemic.
The interview conversations ranged from very personal reflections, to a rising wave of community activism and struggles for representation—unified by the energy, desire and need to connect.
As artists, organizers, and queer nightlife activists, Mimi Tempestt and Will J. have seen firsthand the need for connection and community amongst the many different faces of their scenes.
Wired magazine covers the difficulties that nightclubs will face as a result of Corona virus.
“Nightclub owners, like those of other businesses, find themselves in a difficult balancing act between keeping their venues alive and protecting the health of the public. As Amsterdam’s first night mayor, Mirik Milan acted as the go-between between the city’s nightclubs and government. Today, he runs the VibeLab agency together with Lutz Leichsenring, a spokesperson for the Clubcommission Berlin to help the industry back on its feet. “Everybody’s saying ‘We’re making 100 per cent of the decisions with 50 per cent of the information’ and when it comes to nightclubs and nighttime establishments, that’s really problematic,” says Milan. The duo is working with other night mayors, club owners, as well as urban researchers from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania on a recovery plan for the industry.”
The first chapter of the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan is due to release next week, stay tuned on Nighttime.org for guides on how governments can support with venues and event industry by utilising outdoor and public space for reopening in the open air.
“While nightclubs are finding creative ways to reopen safely with distanced seating, contact tracing, online ordering systems, and better ventilation and hygiene, it won’t be possible to remove all risk factors. It is unlikely we’ll see club managers walking around the venue telling people not to laugh or sing. “You don’t want your staff to be policing people that are speaking too loudly,” says Milan from VibeLab.
Data on movement in cities suggests businesses should get creative after hours to weather the Covid-19 recession.
Urbis, a city planning and policy consultant group has collected data which highlights the economic potential that operating outside standard office hours would have upon the retail, food and entertainment businesses in Melbournes CBD district.
The Central Business District which traditionally relied on office workers, has been hit hard by Corona virus, as people are increasingly working from home.
“Calling for a more vibrant night-time economy, including standup comedy in local hairdressers and after-dark art exhibitions in bookshops, could play a crucial role in Australia’s post-pandemic financial recovery, data tracking of people’s movement suggests.”
Tokyo, the Japanese capital recorded 224 coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest daily tally since the pandemic began.
The Authorities had previously refused to give nightlife businesses economic support during the pandemic, but have changed tack after 80% of Thursday’s infections were among people in their 20s and 30s.
Many of them were identified after more than 3,000 tests were carried out in Tokyo entertainment districts, including Shinjuku and Ikebukuro.
The Tokyo metropolitan government will pay 500,000 yen ($4,670) to nightclubs and similar establishments that close for 10 days or more.
Hosts and hostesses, who engage customers in conversation over drinks, who are found to have coronavirus are to be paid 100,000 yen ($934) to stay off work.
The DJ addressed the recent wave of illegal parties in the UK. Carl Cox has said that Illegal raves during pandemic are “not the answer”. The techno DJ recently spoke in an interview with Sky News about the resurgence of illegal raves and parties in the UK, blaming it on the government and the lack of a clear timeline on clubs and festivals reopening.
Cox told Sky News “These illegal parties are basically done out of frustration,” he said. “Just done out of showing it’s our right to do what we want to do. It’s not the answer to this.”
While pubs and restaurants have been given the green light to open from last Saturday (4th July), clubs and music venues remain shuttered in the UK since closing their doors four months ago.
Elsewhere in the world, clubs in the Western Australian city of Perth were able to reopen in June, as the state moves into the fourth phase of reopening following the coronavirus pandemic.
Face masks and fewer venues and events will greet Reeperbahn Festival-goers in Hamburg later this summer. Organizers of the annual event — being held Sept. 16-19 — announced significant changes as it attempts to adhere to government guidance while still pulling off a safe and secure in-person gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Planning a festival in the midst of a pandemic is undoubtedly a challenge like no other. Creating a safe yet enjoyable event is a demanding task for us. So why all the effort? Because it is not only about the Reeperbahn Festival itself – it is an existential question for artists, music businesses and venues. We want to find out whether and in what form cultural events can be planned and implemented in the coming months.” – Reeperbahn Festival Website
As musicologist Julian Johnson writes in his book Who Needs Classical Music? music facilitates “a relation to an order of things larger than ourselves.” Through music, the self, he writes, “comes to understand itself more fully as a larger, trans-subjective identity.
Read the full feature in The Conversation
Last week, AccorHotels Arena in the French capital of Paris hosted its first big crowd since the country went on lockdown in March.
On two nights, June 18-19, the team around general manager Nicolas Dupeux welcomed 1,000 and 2,000 guests, respectively. They had managed to get their hands on free tickets for a TV production that was recorded at the arena as part of the annual Fête de la Musique celebrations.