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!

+++NEWS: Japan: Rainbow Disco Club to host fundraising livestream event in place of cancelled festival

Rainbow Disco Club is hosting a livestream event on April 18th, the day its now-cancelled festival was due to take place, from the festival site in Chubu. The lineup features DJ NobuKenji TakimiYoshinori Hayashi and more.

After the distribution ends, ticket buyers will be able to view the archive until 23:59 on the 25th April.

A message from the organisers: “We would like to announce that we made a decision to throw a 12 hour long paid-streaming party on April 18th the Saturday with the cooperation of many. This will be the very first attempt for us but we will do our best as much as to the actual festival in Higashi-Izu. We hope this will be the special day for you during this long isolation time at home.”

“We must keep smiling. This is what we have learned in the last 11 years from you.”

Find out more and buy tickets here.

+++UPDATE: Sydney: Restrictions lifted to allow alcohol delivery from all licensed venues

vie Pexel

A potential lifeline has been handed to Sydney’s small bar industry, which was effectively shuttered on Monday as the federal government ordered the closure of non-essential services – including pubs and clubs – to stop the spread of COVID-19.

New South Wales’ existing restrictions on alcohol licensing will be immediately lifted, to allow door-to-door delivery of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages.

This Friday, we encourage you to support a bar near you by ordering an elaborate cocktail or two and crank up the group chat for an end-of-week drink session, corona-style.

Read the report via Sydney Morning Herald, or check out how Sydney restaurants and cafes are creatively adapting to a delivery model via Time Out.