“The answer to being more sustainable is going back to more regional bookings, more local residencies. We need to get back to the essence of what we do. It’s about communal spaces and shared experiences.” – Darwin
It’s never been more important to join the nightlife advocacy movement.
As 2020 draws to a close, the future for nightlife is wide open.
Though the pandemic swung at nighttime industries and communities like a wrecking ball, this year became about much more than just damage control.
2020 may well be known as the year nightlife advocacy truly took off on a global scale, with engaged advocates like yourselves working together to bring the needs of nighttime industries into mainstream discourse, to lead by example in encouraging government to be proactive and not reactive in its policy making, and to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine and redesign better, bolder and more resilient nightlife scenes throughout the world.In the midst of the pandemic new positions were created, new alliances formed, and new opportunities seized to communicate our message to decision makers. Cities with active nightlife advocates proved more resilient, despite being some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
As we enter 2021, nightlife scenes across the world have never been in a more precarious position – nor have they ever held so much possibility for change. It is both an exciting and essential time to be active as an advocate.
On that note, we’d like to applaud those in our network who have volunteered so much of their time, energy and expertise this year. Thank you for your ingenuity, your enthusiasm and your inspiring tenacity. Keep it coming in 2021!Stay safe, stay positive, and most of all – stay the course. We hope to see you on the dance floor next year.
With love and disco balls,
Mirik, Lutz, Jess, Diana and Jordan (The VibeLab team)
To find out what we have been up to and what is upcoming next year you can read the full 2020 round up newsletter here
A taste of some of the lemonade nightlife industry workers, advocates and general heroes made out of this absolute lemon of a year.
This list is by no means comprehensive, providing merely a window into the creative and tenacious efforts of our scene-makers and protectors. From peaceful protests to businesses pivots, policy driving to fundraising, streams and seminars… when the going got tough, the night got going.
We hope you’ll find it inspiring.
MEND NYC mediation program launched – New York City, US
New York City Office of Nightlife launches MEND NYC, a program providing free mediation between New York residents and hospitality businesses across the city who are in disputes over quality-of-life issues. The program is an innovative and essential alternative to formal enforcement, which can cause financial hardship and erode trust.
N8W8 R’dam nightlife advocacy organisation formed, launches successful streaming fundraiser – Rotterdam, Netherlands
The organisation has support of 36 local partners, and began by establishing a streaming campaign in Rotterdam and the Hague called ‘The Night Stays! (at Home…)’. It hosted 29 online events, collaborating with 21 venues and offering 156 artists a stage.
#safevilnius safety campaign prevents midnight curfew from being activated – Vilnius, Lithuania
Nightlife advocacy campaign succeeds in preventing the introduction of the “midnight rule”, meaning bars and clubs were allowed to operate all night until the second wave came. The #safevilnius campaign included a safety awareness program mapping all bars which signed a contract with the Municipality to apply strict safety rules and inspections, proving to skeptiks that the industry could act responsibly.
Club culture directly funded by Mannheim government for the first time via grant program
– Mannheim, Germany
A €220k grant program provided direct support funding for the city’s 20 music venues and clubs, enabling them to survive the winter. It’s the very first time the city has directly funded club culture, with local advocates pushing for this to become the norm in future.
‘Local Legends’ campaign aids venues in setting up GoFundMe pages
– Groningen, Netherlands/Europe
Ethical resale website TicketSwap teams up with Cosimo and GoFund me to launch a new crowdfunding campaign to raise money for music venues across Europe. Instructions and house styles were provided for venues to adopt for their own campaigns. In the first 10 days €100k was raised for the 40 venues in Groningen alone.
Outdoor dance event organised in support of Belarus
– Vilnius Lithuania
Vilnius Night Alliance organised “Dance for Belarus” , a Covid-safe outdoor dance event, with more than a thousand members of the dance community coming together to show support for the people protesting in neighbouring Belarus against their brutal dictator.
Outdoor seating program used by over 10K bars and restaurants made permanent
– New York City, US
There has been an increase in outdoor nightlife activity thanks to an effective outdoor seating program which more than 10k bars and restaurants took advantage of. Though implemented to aid in physically distancing, this program is happily now going to be permanent.
Nightlife Association of Colombia (Asobares) designs and implements Gradual Opening Plan
The Gradual Opening Plan for nightlife includes slashing tax for bars and restaurants to 0%, a formal employment support package, sanitary protocols for bars, energizing 24 hour cities through local development plans, training sessions, forums and webinars in alliance with local administrations and teams, and late night open-air event pilots.
End of the night exhibition raises awareness
– Mannheim, Germany
A total of 68 photographies of closed clubs, club workers and other impressions as well as 9 installations (e.g. a burned CDJ from Berlins Ipse club) were displayed in an “End Of The Night“ exhibition to raise awareness about the struggle for venues.
24 Hour Economy Strategy launched to reactivate nightlife industry
– Sydney, Australia
The New South Wales State Government’s 24 Hour Economy Strategy for Sydney is created in consultation with several of Sydney’s local councils and nighttime industry bodies. The Strategy outlines plans for a holistic night offering, including greater diversity of experiences available after dark, increased cultural activations and transport options and relaxation of approval processes for outdoor licenses, live music and late-opening.
DJs classified as musicians by high finance courts
Thanks to sustained advocacy from bodies like the Berlin Clubcommission, techno is declared music and DJs musicians by high finance courts, meaning the Federal Finance Court in Germany will now treat club nights like concerts for tax purposes. Clubs now have to pay only 7% tax on their ticket sales, as opposed to the previous 19%.
Night time economy Covid-19 Recovery Blueprint launched
– Manchester, UK
Greater Manchester’s local government launches an official recovery strategy for the region’s nightlife sector. Aiming for not merely a recovery, but a positive reinvention of Manchester’s nighttime ecosystem, the blueprint splits its priorities into four key areas: advocacy, campaigns, business and employee support, and regeneration.
National Night Time Economy (NTE) Task Force formed
NTE task force is the first of its kind in Ireland, aiming to hold the government to account on a number of key commitments in moving towards a safer, more vibrant and economically viable night time economy. NTE is now being increasingly referenced positively in mainstream media discourse.
NTIA commissions independent scientific assessment on reopening of dance floors
– United Kingdom
The UK’s Night Time Industries Association commissioned a science-based independent assessment on the reopening of dance floors from the institute of occupational medicine, which, alongside data about the looming reality of mass closures and collapse, fortified the industry’s position and arguments with the government.
United We Stream goes global, brings music to homes and money to venues
Born in Berlin within a few days of lockdown announcements, United We Stream has evolved into a global cultural platform, connecting local cultural spaces, artists, companies and institutions with an international audience. United We Stream has gained more than 50 million. views, broadcast from 456 unique locations in 104 cities, and created a virtual stage for 2236 artists, with that number still growing.
Korea Club Culture Betterment Association formed
– Seoul, Korea
Industry bodies team up to form KCCBA in order to support each other and encourage people back to nightlife districts. Competing club owners, djs, radio stations and more on the board. KCCBA participates in VFV Streaming event, which combines three of Seoul’s key techno venues – Vonost, Faust and Vurt.
Save Our Stages campaign successfully lobbies for billions in aid for small music venues
– United States
Newly formed National Independent Venues Association (NIVA) is behind the campaign for the recently passed Save Our Stages act, a bill which will provide independent venue owners with six months of revenue to cover rent utilities, maintenance, PPE, taxes and other expenses to the tune of $15 billion.
Club spaces re-purposed to raise revenue
Several clubbing venues creatively reimagine ways to use their space in order to stay culturally or financially active, for example Berghain (Berlin) transforms into an art gallery, Village Underground (London) becomes a bicycle storage facility.
Let’s hope that 2021 brings more innovative ideas and support towards the nighttime industries.
How did Berlin, once a city in deep crises, become home to one of the world’s leading music scenes? As nightlife around the planet sits at a standstill, we take a look inside Ten Cities, a new book sponsored by the Goethe-Institut. It collects 21 essays penned by 25 writers that tell the story of club music and culture in 10 urban centres across Africa and Europe, from 1960 to March 2020.
In an essay from a new book through Goethe-Institut, Tobias Rapp tells the story of a scrappy city that became home to one of the world’s most influential music scenes. Photo: Tilman Brembs
In cities across the world, the night time industry is one of the hardest hit of any economic sectors, and yet many governments are still not addressing its needs – or the needs of millions of its struggling workers.
Without action, countless businesses, jobs and cultural spaces will be lost. And without a strong night time economy, cities stand to lose money, cultural vibrancy and reputation.
The time to plan for recovery is right now.
Some cities are leading the way: Manchester, UK and Sydney, Australia for example, have both recently launched detailed strategies to protect and strengthen their nightlife sectors during and beyond the pandemic.
“Since March, we have all witnessed the devastation of our creative and night time economy sector. In Greater Manchester, we recognise this sector is the heartbeat of our towns and communities. We launched the Recovery Plan, not just to help the sector return back to pre COVID levels, but to also come back stronger, building on our previous successes.”– Sacha Lord – Manchester Night Time Economy Adviser
No matter where it is on the pandemic timeline, every city needs a targeted and individually tailored strategy to rebuild its night time economy.
But there’s no need to start from scratch.
In response to the severe vulnerability of nighttime economies and cultures caused by Covid-19, a global collaboration of some of the foremost minds on nightlife governance and urban planning, spearheaded by nightlife advocacy agency, VibeLab, has created the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan (GNRP).
Having released three of its seven chapters, the GNRP is written to provide all members of the night-time ecosystem the tools and inspiration to aid their cities in planning and executing responsible re-opening.
Its released chapters cover:
Its forthcoming chapters cover:
4 – Building nocturnal governance: Capacity-building for night
mayors and other nighttime governance institutions
5 – Sustaining our nightlife scenes I: Financial support models for creative industry workers, individuals and vulnerable populations
6 – Sustaining our nightlife scenes II: Financial and other forms of support for independent businesses
7-Learning As We Go: Measuring impact and data-gathering through the process
We can learn from each other. The GNRP has drawn on examples and expertise from all over the world to inform its discussion. Its case studies range from Tokyo to New York, Lagos to Lithuania, Sydney to Berlin and more.
Some of the key insights the GNRP community has learned so far
- The instinct to socialise is universal and enduring. In cities where there are no legal options, dangerous illegal alternatives are found.
- Open air spaces can be activated to safely increase capacity and revenue, and enliven subdued urban areas.
- Outreach is crucial. City authorities need to be close to their populations, communicate clearly, and win the trust of their business communities and to encourage cooperation between all interest groups.
- Mediation is proven to be a more effective alternative – or at least important precursor – to enforcement.
- The event industry should adopt lean start-up approaches as common practice to build resilience to crisis. Cities can support this through funding, training, and capacity-building.
- Club operators already have expertise in health, safety and prevention, and the narrative around this can and should be more positive.
- There are huge opportunities to exploit longer and later opening of services to address issues of physical distancing.
- Flexing regulations and simplifying licensing applications is essential to allowing nightlife to rebuild
- 24-hour transport – for essential workers and nightlife participants alike – is key to safer and more vibrant cities
- Lighting plays a critical role in placemaking, cultural activation and safety at night
- The pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing fragility of the nightclub industry – venues serving marginalised communities are especially vulnerable.
- Measuring and monitoring are fundamental to identify challenges and opportunities, and envision tactics.
This international exchange of information, ideas and resources is intended as a launch point. We invite local governments and nightlife stakeholders to engage in the discussion, then take action within their own communities.
What can you do now?
Analyse local opportunities and challenges via 1:1 consulting sessions with VibeLab, the nightlife consultants behind the GNRP.
VibeLab is founded by Amsterdam’s former night mayor Mirik Milan, and Berlin Club Commission spokesperson Lutz Leichsenring, and offers extensive expertise and an international network for those seeking out new paths to make change.
- Download available chapters
- Contact VibeLab – Jess@vibe-lab.org
- Stay up to date with news via VibeLab’s nighttime.org blog
These unprecedented times have created an opportunity for those passionate about the night – entrepreneurs, urbanists, politicians, artists, academics, local activists – to challenge its marginalisation, so that both during and beyond recovery, nighttime is better integrated into how we plan, manage and understand cities.
Let’s seize the moment.
This weekend sees the launch of a new online concert event, designed to bring some good music and good cheer straight into your living room. SEVENFRIDAY YFPF (Your Favourite Pyjama Festival) is worldwide virtual festival to celebrate life and support artists, this weekend’s edition led by Shawn Stockman (BoyzIIMen), and featuring live performances coming to you from LA, Berlin and Mumbai.
Los Angeles – Shawn Stockman invites you into his home for a private performance. Enjoy his music, chat with him and see which surprise guests knock at his door.
Berlin – Wouldn’t be Berlin without a bit of techno. Djanes will be bringing the beats, plus some Balkan beat jazz and live rock music to boot.
Mumbai – One of Asian house music’s frontrunners, Madoc, will be playing, with some surprise special guests.
Buy your ticket and get access to the virtual festival and the three stages where this eclectic group of musicians will perform simultaneously for three hours.
Taking place several times a year, SEVENFRIDAY YFPF aims to unite friends and great artists from all around the world to connect cultures and individuals, strengthening a global community of free and open-minded people enjoying life like every day is a Friday.
Covid-19 might have turned the world on its head in 2020, but hi-tech advances have helped mitigate the damage. In this special report, covering everything from remote working to live streaming, Music Week unite a handful of forward-thinking execs to analyse how technology is changing the music business for the better…
PRS’ August AGM was held virtually and set a record for the highest participation in its history, with more than 1,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members engaged either on the day or through the voting process.
“Coronavirus has without doubt accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and we were perfectly placed to capitalise on that shift in the interest of our members,” said Martin. “We were able to seamlessly transition to remote working. The morning following the first lockdown announcement, all of our teams were up and running remotely without any disruption to our core services.”
The Guardian reports on how Minster Nadhim Zahawi, who is in charge of UK rollout, says technology could help track who has had jab and that “people who do not get vaccinated could face severe restrictions”
“Customers who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine could be turned away by hospitality and sports venues, the government’s vaccine minister has suggested, as he discussed the idea of using technology to reopen the economy.
Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed on Saturday to be responsible for overseeing the rollout of the jab, said that while having the vaccine would not be compulsory, businesses such as pubs and restaurants might require proof that people have been vaccinated before allowing them in.
It raises questions over whether the government might use immunity passports as a way to get people back into shops and hospitality venues after a vaccine is licensed. They are already used by some countries to see whether people have protection against yellow fever or polio.
Asked by the BBC whether those who have been inoculated would get an immunity passport, Zahawi said: “We are looking at the technology. And, of course, a way of people being able to inform their GP that they have been vaccinated. But, also, I think you’ll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system – as they have done with the [test and trace] app.”