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.
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”
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.”
The state government has scrapped a long-standing freeze on new liquor licences for pubs, clubs and bottle shops in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross, in a push to reinvigorate the city’s night-time economy once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The changes, which take effect on December 1, mean venues will be able to apply to open without having to purchase a liquor licence from an existing venue, which had created a competitive and expensive market for licences.
In Kings Cross and some parts of the CBD, the freeze had been in place for 11 years. As part of the 2014 lockout laws it was extended across the whole CBD.
Vivian Lee, writes for the New York Times on whether nightlight in Lebanon’s capital can withstand the pandemic.
In Beirut a night out is considered a “sacred right, due to a point of pride, the party has never stopped,” even throughout the 25 years of civil war, the summer of 2006 (where war erupted between Hezbollah and Israel), and last autumn anti government protests the bars and clubs remained open.
However. “the bar hopping neighborhood of Mar Mikhaël, which used to vibrate with the clip-clop of high heels and the car-stereo beat of Western and Arabic music every night from Tuesday to Saturday — and sometimes Sundays and Mondays, too — went mute”
“When you live in a place where nothing is stable and the ground is shaking under you all the time, you live in a state of urgency,” said Charbel Haber, 41, a musician, giving the usual explanation for why the nights here can go on for days. “You have to live in the moment.”
Although Lebanon as a whole appears to have dodged a mass outbreak, “the government is starting to announce a staggered reopening for businesses in the coming weeks, yet not all will be able to come back. Due to the fact that the Lebanese pound buys less than half of what it used to, imports and drinks will cost more”.
Concerned club owner: “Joe Mourani, the owner of Ballroom Blitz, a popular alternative electronic-music nightclub, found it harder to foresee when people would dance in a crowd again. Clubbing, it’s really all about proximity,” Mr. Mourani said. “It’s the opposite of social distancing.”
Milan club Social Music City has offered its space to be used by Italian emergency services until the end of April.
In a statement released this week, it was revealed that the club’s 20,000 square meters would be made available to emergency services in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which much of the space being modified into accommodation for
Following the closure of nightclubs across the world, business owners have turned to live streaming. Business Insider Australia spoke to One Six One and Poof Doof about their new live-streaming initiatives.
“Jane Slingo, executive producer of Australia’s Electronic Music Conference, and a board member of Music NSW, told Business Insider Australia via email it was “fantastic” to see the community so motivated and quick to keep their creativity alive online.”
“By nature, those in the electronic music community are digital natives,” she said. “In this part of the music sector there’s already a history of live streamed events well before COVID-19 – global streamed events from the likes of Boiler Room, Cercle, Worldwide FM events. So it’s not surprising how quickly DJs and club nights have made a significant imprint on our feeds as life moves more permanently to online.”
“Zurich’s nightlife scene is hoping that politicians will start to act more decisively and provide it with more support than was the case at cantonal level when this crisis began. Politicians cannot leave it up to organisers to decide whether or not to hold an event with up to 1,000 people. If you love Zurich’s nightlife, why not support your favourite club by buying vouchers or supporting a crowdfunding appeal? Together, we’ll all get through this crisis. And afterwards we’ll all dance together!”
Promoter Dave Poe of New York-based Patchwork Presents, and Jessica Gordon from Broadberry Entertainment Group in Richmond, Virginia, have come together to form the Independent Promoter Alliance in light of COVID-19 and its dire effects on the live music industry
“At the end of the day, Jessica and I wanted to organize something so it gives people a place to go,” Poe tells Billboard. “It is really for the promoters and talent buyers and venue owners who don’t talk to other entities and are doing it on their own. Maybe it will help them just a little bit to hear other people who are all in the same boat and what everyone is doing to weather the storm, because it is going to be rough.”Read the full article in Billboard
Independent promoters, venue owners and talent buyers can register for the group here with more information to come.
In online publication Talkhouse, – an outlet for musicians, actors, filmmakers- artist John Colpitts talks to musicians from China, Italy, and South Korea about life in lockdown, the unique scenarios they’ve lived through, and what their experiences might have to teach us a few weeks later.
An interesting point to consider comes from South Korea, who up until Sunday March 22, had no official shut down of live performances or gatherings. The audiences decreased but the performers were still paid their fees. This is because the South Korean health institute was extremely thorough with testing and the digital tracking of the disease.
“The South Korean music economy was able to walk this razor’s edge between closure and partial openness through heavily investing in data and tracking. ”John Colpitts, Talkhouse