Clubbing is Culture. Because it is. As we continue to see the eradication of spaces to dance and face the repercussions of living through a pandemic, we wanted to encourage people to see clubbing for what it was – culture – and something you have to work hard to nurture and protect.!
As with all culture, if it’s not nourished and given space to grow, it will die. And whilst it may not be * your * culture, that does not invalidate the fact that clubbing is indeed, culture. This mini doc features the voices of five prominent cultural commentators and creators against a backdrop of light projections on some of the most iconic former clubbing venues in Dublin.
Hazel Chu – Dublin Lord Mayor
Philly McMahon – ThisIsPopBaby
Mona Lxsa – founder of Gxrl Code
Una Mullally – Writer & co-presenter of United Ireland
John Mangru – Designer & Clubber
NoMoreHotels; Thinkhouse & Algorithm joined forces on Culture Night, an event that seeks to ‘Connect Through Culture’, to highlight the value of clubbing for connection; what’s lost when we dismiss its value and to reinforce the fact that clubbing is indeed, culture.
The carcasses of some of the most iconic former clubbing venues which have since been replaced with hotels came alive again with light projections of scenes of what has gone before and with pleas of where we need to go. If clubbing continues to be excluded from the traditional definition of culture in people’s minds, we’ll see the eradication of a culture that has persevered through some of humanity’s hardest times, has helped people survive and thrive and has been the catalyst for some of fashion, art, theatre and music’s most iconic moments. Culture.
With this project, we celebrate the fact that clubbing brings people together, it provides growth, art and identity – as well as a rich economy. We celebrate how clubbing enables us to communicate, create and connect in unique and magical ways.
The Global Nighttime Recovery Plan launches the fourth instalment that looks at support models for nightlife industry workers, individuals and vulnerable populations.
A collaboration from those working in nightlife and nighttime advocacy bring you a heartfelt and factual chapter four of the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan (GNRP)
Chapter four of the #GNRP is explicitly about the people who make up nightlife, their current needs and obstacles faced. Offering practical strategies from around the world with recommendations directed towards governments and industries willing to invest in nighttime culture.
Additionally, it provides recommendations for reforms which would create a more sustainable nighttime economy that provides more security, prosperity, and dignity to workers. industries, or other actors.
Why does it matter?
Nightlife was halted in March 2020 – part of the global shutdown response to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In early 2021, countries are still experiencing rising infection rates and business closures continue. Despite encouraging news about vaccines and rapid testing technologies, the end of the pandemic is not imminent and the hope that nightlife closures would be temporary has evaporated.
Nightlife workers have seen their income disappear, relief funds and subsidies have largely been insufficient with the majority of workers slipping through the cracks, adding to the fact that nightlife workers were often vulnerable and “unseen” prior to this pandemic.
“The pandemic has been hard on nightlife workers and on the spaces where they work. Creative spaces which rely on assemblies of people to generate revenue are the “first to close, last to open” –
Michael Fichman – City planner, researcher and lecturer at PennPraxis as well as nightlife organiser and musician.
The Corona pandemic forces us all to keep our distance and robs us of things that define what we are: human closeness and social interaction.
Deserted dance floors, silent speakers, abandoned DJ consoles, stationary mirror balls – there has probably never before been such a dark, quiet New Year’s Eve in the clubs around the world. German Chancellor Fellow Diana Raiselis was not able to dance the New Year in either. She is now doing everything in her power to ensure that the situation changes as soon as possible by designing safe, sustainable concepts for the nighttime economy. A former Chicago theatre director and a founding member of the Los Angeles Nightlife Alliance, the American has been in Berlin since October 2019. Her host during her fellowship is Lutz Leichsenring, executive board member and press officer of the Berlin Clubcommission, an advocacy group representing club culture. Diana’s original plan: research and analyse Berlin night life through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ vision of environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
Bristol is set to appoint a new ambassador to champion the nighttime economy and spearhead economic recovery in the sector.
It will see the city follow in the footsteps of London and Manchester with the creation of the dedicated ‘night czar’ to support venues, bars, restaurants, clubs and cultural institutions, and help them to rebuild in the wake of the pandemic.
“This new advisor will be an ambassador Bristol’s fantastic night-time economy by championing the value of Bristol’s cultural venues, bars, restaurants and clubs and support the development of a more diverse range of late night cultural activities building on opportunities to diversify and grow Bristol’s evening and nighttime economy,”Said Marti Burgess, the chair of the Bristol @ Night panel and co-owner of Lakota
A job description for the new advisor position was approved by the Bristol @ Night panel on Thursday and the appointed person will not only seek to advocate for the nighttime economy but also play a key role in helping it to diversify and grow.
Read the full article here
The Independent reports that the UK turned down the “standard” proposal for non-EU countries, which would allow touring professionals to stay 90 days without a visa. This is because the UK, which recently introduced stricter controls on immigration, doesn’t want to grant EU states the same arrangement.
From this month, European artists must, like non-EU artists, apply for visas – to visit for more than 30 days – as well as providing proof of savings and a sponsorship certificate from an event organiser.
The Independent understands the UK did ask for a similar 30-day exemption for its performers, but rejected 90 days – to fit with its own new rules.
In order to find solutions to the impact of the global crisis, the collaborative creative laboratory of VibeLab and Jägermeister is organising the very first hackathon to save nightlife. “The Denkathon” will take place digitally between the 15th -17th January 2021.
The aim of the digital Denkathon is to find creative solutions for the preservation of night culture, taking into account diverse expertise from scientific, political, technological and the nightlife industry backgrounds.
“Awareness of the dire situation in the industry and financial support are important. But what is needed now above all is solutions and perspectives on how the nightlife industry will continue.”Kathleen Schied , Head of Marketing Jägermeister Germany:
What areas of nightlife will the Denkathon focus on?
The Denkathon will address five current nightlife challenges which will be processed in virtual rooms, called “clubs”, with groups of up to six people.
- The Club Social will focus on how we can stay connected in our private and professional life, despite the challenges physical distance can impose upon communities.
- The Daybreak Club is dedicated to problem solving how major events such as festivals and concerts can be resumed.
- Movers and Shakers Club will look at the pathways restauranteurs can take to generate sales despite persistent restrictions.
- Club Culture Club is about generating ideas for established and emerging artists who have been hit hard by the crisis because they can no longer live out their creativity. How will it be possible to give them a stage back?
- Club Dance explores what technologies help us to reopen locations like bars and clubs, taking into account the current restrictions?
Each club is moderated and inspired by experts. For example, the Berlin graduate psychologist Franziska Lauter will contribute to the Club Social . In her practice in Berlin-Mitte, Lauter primarily advises artists and people whose creative work is in public.
At the end of the think tank, a five-person jury will evaluate all possible solutions according to criteria such as creativity or feasibility.
On January 17th, the three most promising ideas will be announced at the Denkathon and the first three places will be rewarded with prize money.
The jury will consist of representatives from the hospitality, event industry, science, technology and politics. Among others, David Süß, who runs the Harry Klein Club in Munich and, as a member of the GRÜNEN in Munich’s city council, is committed to sustainable nightlife, is part of the committee.
“2021 will be a difficult year of transition, where creativity is required to give artists a stage, to generate income and to be able to hold events safely. We are hoping for exciting impulses and ideas with the Denkathon”Lutz Leichsenring, co-founder of VibeLab.
“The answer to being more sustainable is going back to more regional bookings, more local residencies. We need to get back to the essence of what we do. It’s about communal spaces and shared experiences.” – Darwin
It’s never been more important to join the nightlife advocacy movement.
As 2020 draws to a close, the future for nightlife is wide open.
Though the pandemic swung at nighttime industries and communities like a wrecking ball, this year became about much more than just damage control.
2020 may well be known as the year nightlife advocacy truly took off on a global scale, with engaged advocates like yourselves working together to bring the needs of nighttime industries into mainstream discourse, to lead by example in encouraging government to be proactive and not reactive in its policy making, and to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine and redesign better, bolder and more resilient nightlife scenes throughout the world.In the midst of the pandemic new positions were created, new alliances formed, and new opportunities seized to communicate our message to decision makers. Cities with active nightlife advocates proved more resilient, despite being some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
As we enter 2021, nightlife scenes across the world have never been in a more precarious position – nor have they ever held so much possibility for change. It is both an exciting and essential time to be active as an advocate.
On that note, we’d like to applaud those in our network who have volunteered so much of their time, energy and expertise this year. Thank you for your ingenuity, your enthusiasm and your inspiring tenacity. Keep it coming in 2021!Stay safe, stay positive, and most of all – stay the course. We hope to see you on the dance floor next year.
With love and disco balls,
Mirik, Lutz, Jess, Diana and Jordan (The VibeLab team)
To find out what we have been up to and what is upcoming next year you can read the full 2020 round up newsletter here
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.
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.
Nightlife Association of Colombia (Asobares) designs and implements Gradual Opening Plan
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Let’s hope that 2021 brings more innovative ideas and support towards the nighttime industries.
How did Berlin, once a city in deep crises, become home to one of the world’s leading music scenes? As nightlife around the planet sits at a standstill, we take a look inside Ten Cities, a new book sponsored by the Goethe-Institut. It collects 21 essays penned by 25 writers that tell the story of club music and culture in 10 urban centres across Africa and Europe, from 1960 to March 2020.
In an essay from a new book through Goethe-Institut, Tobias Rapp tells the story of a scrappy city that became home to one of the world’s most influential music scenes. Photo: Tilman Brembs