Some Good News: Global Nightlife Wins of 2020

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. 

Dance for Belarus (Photo: Sasha Romanovskaya)

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. 

Outdoor Dining NYC

Nightlife Association of Colombia (Asobares) designs and implements Gradual Opening Plan
– Colombia

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. 

Breidenbach Heidelberg stands empty (Photo: Paula Theiss)

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
– Germany

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
– Ireland

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
– Global

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
– Global 

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. 

A rendering of Berghain in Berlin plastered with a word-based artwork by Rirkrit Tiravanija

Let’s hope that 2021 brings more innovative ideas and support towards the nighttime industries.

Your Favourite Pyjama Festival kicks off online this weekend

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.

THE ARTISTS

Los AngelesShawn 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.

Find out more here.

Red lights turn on across the globe for powerful #WeMakeEvents campaign

We Make Events installation in Sydney’s Domain evokes a live events graveyard, one of thousands of activations across the world (Photo: Patrick Stevenson)

First to shut down, last to reopen.

The We Make Events Campaign, which seeks to represents the needs of the multitude of struggling events industry workers all over the globe, launched an international day of action yesterday.

Red lights lit up event spaces and public installations from South Africa to Slovenia and countless countries in between, whilst profile photos across social media were replaced with an unmissable red dot in support.

The campaign, which high profile event spaces, promoters and celebrities across the world have put their name to, seeks to raise and direct funds towards the multitude of behind the scenes workers, many of whom have been left out of government support packages.

Find out more from the campaign website, and check out more striking red light images from around the world on the campaign facebook page.

We Make Events installation in Sydney’s Domain evokes a live events graveyard, one of thousands of activations across the world (Photo: Patrick Stevenson)

NSW State Government announces plan for 24-hr city, in a push to reinvigorate Sydney nightlife.

Sydney CBD at night (Photo: Patrick McLachlan, via Pexel)

The State government of NSW, Australia has announced a 24-hour economy strategy to reinvigorate Sydney’s nighttime industries and culture.

The strategy’s recommendations include appointing a coordinator-general to oversee Greater Sydney’s 24-hour economy, fewer restrictions on liquor licensing and live music, extended opening hours for cultural institutions and more late-night public transport options.

The strategy states:

“At its core, our objective is to create a 24-hour city that is world renowned for its vibrancy, diversity, safety and access to amenity right throughout the day and night. To compete on the world stage and create jobs, we must have a fantastic afterdark experience and 24-hour amenities for all to enjoy.

Our status as a 24-hour metropolis is critical as we continue to expand our economy to cater for the needs of a growing population and reinforce Sydney’s position as a truly global city, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires us all to reimagine how we use space and increase productivity throughout the 24-hours of each day.”

The announcement shows a positive shift in state government attitudes towards Sydney’s nighttime industries, which have suffered under years of draconian lock-out laws, hostile policy and rhetoric, and are currently in crisis due to COVID restrictions.

In further good news, Sydney City Council has also recently announced plans to help hospitality businesses spread outdoors in order to stay financially viable whilst complying with physical distancing regulations. The vision involves pedestrianising large sections of road in the inner city, and streamlining permission and licensing schemes for outdoor entertaining.

The Sydney plans mimic the al fresco drinking and dining experiments that have been successfully implemented in many northern hemisphere cities this summer, as explored in the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan’s first chapter.

MEND NYC program launched, providing free mediation in disputes between venues and residents

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced MEND NYC, a program to provide free mediation between New York residents and hospitality businesses across the city who are in disputes over quality-of-life issues.

This innovative alternative to enforcement can bring lasting solutions to longstanding local issues that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 crisis, which has caused an increase in complaints. MEND NYC will create opportunities to resolve disputes before they escalate to the need for formal enforcement, such as issuing summonses, which can add financial hardship to small businesses operating under new rules and guidelines. The program aims to get nightlife businesses and New Yorkers to communicate directly and establish respectful ongoing dialogue, helping them to compromise and coexist.

“After two years of piloting a mediation program to help resolve quality of life issues between venues and residents, I’m grateful that our office is launching MEND NYC in partnership with OATH,” says Senior Executive Director of New York City’s Office of Nightlife, Ariel Palitz. “We can’t wait to offer this service and help New York City and its nightlife community find common ground and thrive together, again.”

Read more about the program here.

4,000 music fans to attend gig simulation as part of German study into how virus spreads in large gatherings

Photo: Sebastian Ervi via Pexels

German scientists are recruiting volunteers for a “coronavirus experiment” which plans to equip 4,000 pop music fans with tracking gadgets and bottles of fluorescent disinfectant to better understand how Covid-19 could be prevented from spreading at large indoor concerts.

As reported by The Guardian, the event will feature singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko, and be held at an indoor stadium in the German city of Leipzig on 22 August. Though technically an experiment, it aims to simulate the pre-pandemic large-scale concert experience as much as possible.

“We are trying to find out if there could be a middle way between the old and the new normal that would allow organisers to fit enough people into a concert venue to not make a loss,” said Stefan Moritz, head of clinical infectious diseases at the University hospital in Halle and the experiment’s coordinator.

The scientists behind the concert hope to present their findings in early October.

Read more about the proposed experiment via The Guardian.

Register to attend the experimental event here.

+++UPDATE: Germany announces €50 billion aid package for sole traders and casuals targeted at creative sector

Angela Merkel and Monika Grütters (Photo: Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)

The German federal government has announced an impressive €50 billion aid package for sole traders, freelancers and casual workers, targeted at the country’s creative and cultural sectors.

“Our democratic society needs its unique and diverse cultural and media landscape in this historical situation, which was unimaginable until recently,” said culture minister Monika Grütters in a statement. “The creative courage of creative people can help to overcome the crisis. We should seize every opportunity to create good things for the future. That is why the following applies: artists are not only indispensable, but also vital, especially now.”

Read about the details of this well-considered relief package via ArtNet.

+++UPDATE: USA: Survey and resources provided by Philadelphia Arts, Culture and Creative Economy Office

Image via Pexel

The Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy is providing and promoting information and resources for artists and arts organizations to help them through the COVID-19 health crisis, including available financial relief, and potential work opportunities.  

The Office has also just launched an important impact survey. All creative industry workers are urged to complete it, so an accurate assessment of required support can be made.

Survey and resources can be found here.

+++UPDATE: London brewery launches Pub In A Box

An east London brewery is battling the coronavirus pub ban by launching a pub in a box that’s delivered straight to your door.

The Pub in a Box contains the brewery’s core range of beers (you can order eight, 16 or 24 cans), snacks including nuts and pretzel pieces, two stem glasses, a Spotify playlist with a QR code, and a music quiz.

You can also purchase tickets to their post-coronavirus Piss Up in a Brewery, priced £30 with free beer.

Read all about this cheeky initiative via The Resident.

+++UPDATE: Australian artists can fast-track merchandise sales

Australian initiative The Merch Desk is about to make it a lot easier and faster for artists of all kinds to design, create and sell merchandise, with profits available within hours.

Conceived and launched by Brisbane musician Joseph Knox-Wheeler, the new site is “designed to remove all barriers that would otherwise stop artists offering merch to their fans and supporters… With a print on demand service, we only print a product when an order is placed. This means no waste, no upfront costs, & no financial risks for artists.”

The Merch Desk has teamed up with Brisbane-based company The Print Bar for production, and graphic designer/illustrator Jimmy Patch, who can assist with designs if artists need.

It costs nothing to get going, and artists will receive the large majority of sales, with a small portion being deducted to cover The Print Bar production costs, and $1 of each sale going to The Merch Desk.

Artists can sign up here. We encourage fans to check back on the website in a few days and start supporting your favourite creatives!