The last 24 hours has seen encouraging mobilisation from some governments in protecting workers and businesses hardest hit by coronavirus economic fallout.
We’d like to highlight New Zealand and The Netherlands, whose recently announced economic relief packages win best-in-show in terms of prompt response, benefit per capita, and inclusion of support not only for small businesses but for casual and freelance workers, who make up a considerable chunk of the nightlife industry.
Read about The Netherlands relief package, which offers 90% salary to workers laid off, including casual contractees and sole traders.
Read about New Zealand’s relief package, amounting to approximately 4% of its GDP and including wage subsidies for full time, part time and self-employed workers whose income has disappeared.
Nighttime.org co-founder Lutz Leichsenring has mobilised a large number of Berlin’s clubs in response to the economic and cultural void created by COVID-19, the new club conglomerate launching a daily stream from their venues to keep the community active and raise donations for the severely affected industry.
“Berlin’s vibrant underground club scene has come to a complete standstill. To absorb at least some of the damage COVID-19 has had on their businesses, the city’s clubs have launched a digital club, in conjuncture with several media partners, that will be streamed online.
With the whole world quarantined, the press conference announcing the United We Stream initiative took place online. Here’s the lowdown. Starting tomorrow, March 18, every day from 7 p.m., streams of live DJ sets, live music and live performances will be available on www.unitedwestream.berlin.”
—Pollstar, 17 March 2020
King County Creative Economy Strategist Kate Becker, Music Policy Forum co-founder Michael Bracy and Dr. Gigi Louisa Johnson from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will be in conversation about how King County (which includes Seattle, WA) is responding to the virus, what they are telling their music venues, businesses, artists and venues, and generally share perspectives on lessons learned throughout this process. Feel free to circulate this invitation across your organizations and networks.
Wed, March 18, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PDT
Free RSVP via this Eventbrite link. This event will also be recorded and made available afterwards.
There is a tidal wave of information surging through the internet at the moment that can be overwhelming when trying to identify what’s relevant to you.
The following sites are providing accurate, nightlife-specific information amidst the unfolding crisis, with global scope:
- Resident Advisor running updates and features: electronic music focus
- Music x Corona newsletter : general music industry focus, run by Bas Grasmayer (Berlin, DE based)
- Global Cities After Dark running updates: music and policy focus (Sydney, AU based)
- Nighttime.org AKA us! running updates and features: global nightlife focus
“On 11 March 2020, Denmark notified the Commission of its intention to set up a DKK 91 million (€12 million) aid scheme to compensate organisers of events with more than 1,000 participants or targeted at designated risk groups, such as the elderly or vulnerable people, irrespective of the number of participants, which had to be cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the scheme, operators would be entitled to be compensated for the losses suffered as a consequence of the cancellations or postponements of the events, for which, for example, tickets were already sold.”
—European Commission, 12 Mar 2020
“[Event organizers] were left with an unenviable decision to mitigate in real time. Do you risk asymptomatic people spreading the virus? Do you send workers home, from performing artists to lighting technicians to security to bar staff, who might desperately rely on that last paycheck before work in events is vaporised? With insurance policies unclear on cancellation policy due to Covid-19, and no emergency fund from the government in place for nightlife industries, a string of bankruptcies are a very real possibility, too – although this was looked upon dimly by European counterparts who enacted compulsory closure much sooner.”
— The last dance: clubbing in the coronavirus crisis | The Guardian | 17 March 2020
A cross-sector coalition of Bay Area nightlife venue owners, artists, activists, and nonprofit leaders announced yesterday the formation of a support fund for workers in the nightlife industry.
Race Bannon, author and leather community member, of the QNF steering committee, put it: “Queer nightlife is a renowned and integral aspect of San Francisco Bay Area culture. The people who produce and staff local queer nightlife have been financially devastated by the venue closures resulting from the coronavirus crisis. Funds raised by the San Francisco Bay Area Queer Nightlife Fund will help these people stay housed, eat and pay vital bills. The Bay Area is known worldwide as a center for amazing queer nightlife. Let’s keep that nightlife alive by lending a helping hand to those who need our help in these trying times.”
“The large-gathering bans and closures will impact live music events of all sizes, but for independent venues and promoters they could be make or break situations.”
— Billboard, 16 Mar 2020
As the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Lost work in the freelance and event world can be more difficult to quantify than “9-to-5” work and income—and data is essential in this moment. The nascent ILostMyGig movement aims to address this, putting numbers to the work and income lost to coronavirus event cancellations— enabling policymakers to better respond to the needs of freelance, event, arts, and nightlife communities.
As of March 17, I Lost My Gig Australia tallies 380,000 people impacted by 65,000 cancelled events, totalling $100M in lost income.
Similarly, other cities’ nighttime commissions are using their own platforms to gather data on clubs’ and workers’ lost revenue, like New York (MOME), Berlin (Clubcommission, in German, open through 18 Mar), and Vilnius (Vilnius Night Alliance, in Lithuanian).
Other scenes running an ILostMyGig database not listed here? Send it our way: firstname.lastname@example.org .
From lockdown to long-term, cities are asking how we re-envision urban systems to coexist with the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Those new visions must extend into—and through the night.
With the support of our network, VibeLab is developing a global nighttime recovery plan. This plan will utilise case studies to present workable solutions for cities of many sizes, geographical and economic contexts, and multiple models of nighttime governance.
Interested in finding out more?
VibeLab is actively seeking:
- partner cities to participate in case studies
- development support from funding partners
- community input
In the coming weeks, VibeLab will host conversations to inform strategy and resources that can be adopted worldwide. For more background and team info head here.
Sign up to the regular Nighttime Newsletter dispatch, with updates on resources, tools and news.
Check the global nighttime advocacy map to see what organisation is working to save nightlife near you.
And stay up to date with global night time industry news below.