How Taiwan became a global outlier for live music, post pandemic

Having surpassed 200 days without any domestically transmitted cases, Taiwan has been enjoying festivals, concerts and pride celebrations.

Ultra festival took place in Taipei last weekend, welcoming some 10,000 fans

As Europe locks down again and the United States breaks daily records for new coronavirus infections, further paralyzing both live-music sectors, China and Taiwan have emerged as global outliers in their ability to safely host concerts for up to tens of thousands of fans.

So while U.S. and European tour schedules for 2021 are riddled with uncertainty, dates in China are filling up fast. “For next year, our calendar of bookings looks like a normal year,” says Adam Wilkes, CEO of AEG Asia, which operates Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Read more on Billboard

How the night can lead Cities’ recovery from Covid? whatshot

Chapter three of the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, highlights how the pandemic presents a chance to reconfigure our cities at night for the better.

“It is time for the world to pick up the examples in this chapter and to adapt them; to create their own solutions that can be shared amongst the growing number of cities worldwide that realise that the night is not to be feared. Nightlife is in fact a shared competitive edge, a point of difference as well as a point of coherence, something woven into the very DNA of who we are.”

-Alistair Turnham (MAKE Associates),
GNRP Chapter 3 Lead

Why now?

With second-wave curfews and lockdowns proliferating across the globe, cities must urgently explore innovative ways to reopen safely in the context of COVID-19. 

As the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan (GNRP) explains, a key part of the solution can be found after dark. 

Those in the emerging field of night-centric planning, design and policy are uniquely positioned to offer alternatives to unsustainable curfews and lockdowns, or present a route out of them when appropriate. 

When space for social distance is in such high demand, urban strategies which address the temporal opportunities of the night hours can decongest valuable space and offer economic and social opportunity. 

What’s included?

GNRP Chapter 3: Innovating for Safe and Welcoming 24-Hour Cities explores case studies, challenges and possible solutions for welcoming citizens back to their cities at night, presented in three key sections:

i) The activation of our streets and urban spaces in the nocturnal hours

ii) Foregrounding the undervalued but critical role of illumination

iii) Developing more inclusive approaches to movement around our cities after dark

Ideas addressed within these sections include means of increasing access and mobility for night workers, communication campaigns and diverse offerings to entice citizens back to city centres, flexing regulations to unlock the night hours and enable business pivots, using light to create identity or encourage physical distancing – and plenty more. 

What happens next?

Whether your city is in lockdown or edging towards recovery, now is the time for urban innovation and improvement. 

The GNRP is a launch point: industry stakeholders, urban planners, academics and nightlife participants alike are encouraged to engage in this solutions-oriented global discussion, then take action within their own communities.

We invite you to…

1. Circulate the GNRP within your professional network.

2. Sign up to a Meet the Authors conference call on to discuss the chapter further and meet with its creators.

3. Determine opportunities and challenges in your city through 1:1 consultancy sessions 

4. Develop a 24-hour action plan unique to your city 

Who is behind the GNRP Chapter Three?

The GNRP project is a global collaboration of nightlife experts and advocates, led by nightlife advocacy agency VibeLab and hosted on VibeLab’s nightlife news and features platform, Nighttime.org. It aims to provide all members of the night-time ecosystem the tools and inspiration to aid their industry and city in planning and executing a responsible re-opening. 

Chapter 3 is led by Alistair Turnham (MAKE Associates) and Leni Schwendinger (International Nighttime Design Initiative).

Contributors: ElsaMarie DSilva (Red Dot Foundation) and Carlos F Pardo (despacio.org, NUMO)

Interviewees: Cornelius Harris (Underground Resistance) and Dimitrios (Jim) Mastoras (Arlington County Police), Chrystel Oloukoï, PhD Candidate, Harvard University

GNRP editing and coordinating team: Michael Fichman (PennPraxis/University of Pennsylvania) , Richard Foster (Worm, Rotterdam) Lutz Leichsenring (VibeLab), Mirik Milan (VibeLab), Diana Raiselis (Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation), Andreina Seijas (Harvard University) and Jia Yuan (PennPraxis/University of Pennsylvania).

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.

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.

Berlin’s Senate reaffirms commitment to protect the city’s nightlife through new legislation.

“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. “

Will The Pandemic Spark A Return To Local Lineups?

Nyshka Chandran writes for Resident Advisor on how it’s time to get yourself acquainted with resident DJ’s.

The pandemic has devastated nightlife across the globe but as the sector recovers in parts of East Asia, a healthier ecosystem is poised to emerge.Across East Asia’s dance music communities, it’s no secret that overseas artists draw a bigger crowd than regular club nights. Organizers strive to balance the ratio of international and local artists at events, but the average clubber is more likely to buy a ticket if a popular European or American name is playing. COVID-19 could change this dynamic.

Read the full feature here

Creative Footprint Tokyo report completed at critical juncture in nightlife industry

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 Creative Footprint study in Tokyo has revealed the harsh social and legal environment surrounding music venues in Tokyo

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.  

Study results and findings of Tokyo Music Venues

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. 

Area-based analysis Geographic clusters of venues in Tokyo

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)

Good vibrations: how Bandcamp became the heroes of streaming

Bandcamp favourites … Ana Roxanne, Björk and Dam Funk. Composite: Tammy Nguyen; Getty Images; Clayton Andrew Rasmussen

Chal Ravens writes for The Guardian about the virtues of Bandcamp.

After speaking to Founder Ethan Diamond, the ” CEO of Bandcamp about what it means to put artists before listeners, and how Bandcamp became the rarest of Silicon Valley stories; a slow burn success.

“They waive their fees, raise cash for Juneteenth and champion everything from vapourware to eco-grime.

‘Artists have to come first’ … Ethan Diamond, founder of Bandcamp.

“A lot of independent labels waived their fees as well. Some gave to food banks and other organisations. Those labels aren’t big corporations … that was amazing to see”

Read the full article in the Guardian

What is the future of partying in a post-pandemic world?

In some countries, clubs are cautiously reopening. In others, people are hitting up illegal raves. Gabriel Szatan explores what the dance music landscape will look like in the immediate aftermath of coronavirus.

“Everywhere you look, clubland is thawing and green shoots of recovery are sprouting.”

Read full article on Dazed here

Green spaces as cultural areas. Will raves in Berlin’s parks soon be legal?

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.

Read the full article (In German) in Der Tage Spiegel