Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and operators from the UK’s night-time industry have presented the government with a science-backed reopening plan in an attempt to stop the sector from collapsing.
Festival Republic and Music Venue Trust are among the organisations that have commissioned the report, supported by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, which examines the science behind Covid-19 and how to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Key findings highlight that the core market for clubs and venues are amongst the lowest at risk in the hospitality sector and that that overall capacity restrictions to 75% of legal building occupancy based on regulations will ensure distancing is possible throughout the venue.
Now, the night-time industry is using the report to urge the government to provide a clear reopening plan for music venues, nightclubs, late-night bars and events spaces, as well as more financial support after the furlough scheme ends.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, says: “We have now reached a critical point. In the absence of a clear reopening strategy from government, or the promise of financial support, huge numbers of businesses within our industry are facing financial collapse and thousands of job losses.
Originally published in The Guardian, Rob Davies examines how in the UK dancing in face masks, temperature checks at the door and bouncers patrolling the dance floor to enforce social distancing could be the future of clubbing during a pandemic, according to plans put forward by venues desperate to reopen.
Nightclub owners have warned they face imminent “financial armageddon”, putting more than 750,000 jobs at risk, unless the government provides them with support or greater certainty about when they can reopen.
Peter Marks, the chief executive of Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of late-night bars and clubs, said: “The late-night leisure sector, a sector which employs tens of thousands across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now – it is that simple.
“Despite the government’s furlough scheme continuing until the end of October, we will see the loss of a third of jobs across the sector by the end of September, the majority of which are young adults.
“We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance.”
A recent report commissioned by Milan-based think tank Music Innovation Hub and market research agency Ergo Research, which specialises in consumer insight into the cultural industries, explores the expectations, fears and changes in the public’s attitude towards live music and clubbing post-pandemic, and has found that smaller, open-air events with an intimate atmosphere are in-demand.
The report explores consumer attitudes towards live music after the pandemic and lobbies for deregulation of permit policies for small events
Gig-goers have a strong appetite for a more diverse range of event formats, especially small concerts, says the findings of a survey conducted in Milan.
As buildings, venues and public spaces start to tentatively reopen following months of lockdown, savvy businesses and operators are turning to technology to help them boost confidence, both among consumers and staff.
From simply supplying hand-sanitisation facilities at store entrances to sophisticated mobile phone apps, thermal testing and scanning devices, numerous products and systems are being developed to bolster personal protection measures, giving people confidence that they can safely return to the workplace and, ultimately, get back to enjoying live entertainment.
Encrypted contact information would be logged by a club upon entry, then automatically deleted 30 days later.
A new web app called closecontact has launched in Berlin to enable secure contact-tracing in nightclubs.
COVID-19 has impacted individuals and communities all around the world and forced countless businesses to close their doors. In Berlin, some sectors are re-opening, but our clubs remain largely shut.
Berlin’s nightlife has historical significance and continues to be an essential part of the city’s culture. These spaces have long inspired people both here and abroad, and their failure to return would be a monumental loss culturally and economically
In response to COVID-19, the Berlin Senate has imposed contact-sharing regulations on our hospitality sector as a condition of re-opening.
closecontact is an independent service, built in Berlin by a local team to help facilitate the re-opening of Berlin’s clubs. It was developed by a group of engineers, lawyers and designers from the music tech industry, with additional input from a handful of Berlin venues. Between us we have worked at companies such as SoundCloud, Beatport, Ableton, LiveNation and Defected Records.
Still, the lack of policy implemented, that allows for safe and legal events in public space remains a challenge, and one that the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan and Berlin’s Club Commission hopes to resolve fast.
“The open-air season is going to be finished in two months,” Erich tells me. “On the one side, it is and has been very important for new artists in the city to have a stage and share their music. This platform enables them to become important authors in the electronic music scene. On the other side, the open-airs are a good short-term solution for the given circumstances in the electronic music scene,” Erich tells me, continuing, “Our main goal as Club Commission is to represent the interests of the Clubs. Nowadays, this means surviving the crisis. With the Free Open Air Initiative, I hope that the cooperation with Berlin’s districts continues, so that more places can be used for legal open-airs.”
Why is communication and mediation key to nightlife’s recovery?
Of all the human truths laid bare by the pandemic of 2020, one is of particular comfort: the instinct to socialise is universal. And, despite early speculation to the contrary, that instinct has not been doused by fear of infection or acclimatisation to the lockdown couch.
The past few months have shown that coming together to socialise – be it dining, drinking or dancing – is more valuable than ever in maintaining a sense of community and coping with the collective trauma the pandemic has laden on us all. Be it the ill-prepared illegal field raves of the UK, where the only thing kept at a distance was the concept of physical distancing itself, the understandable but unregulated sidewalk socials that sprung up in New York after take-away alcohol was introduced, or the well-meaning yet infamously off-putting chair raving experiment of Amsterdam, nightlife culture is willing itself back into existence, one way or another. This alone would make the safe, structured and legal reopening of the nighttime economy a goal urgently worth pursuing, even before considering the now – finally – widely reported fact that nightlife in any global city is a huge industry, the shutdown of which has left gaping holes in national economies, and millions out of work indefinitely.
Feargus O’Sullivan reports for Bloomberg City Lab on chapter one of The Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, which examines if nightlife is to survive the pandemic without going underground and endangering people, it will have to migrate outside for the time being. But how?
“VibeLab’s report suggest that communication and preparation can allow organisers to stage outdoor events that both satisfy people’s need for contact and community and significantly reduce the infection risk.”
Dave Simpson writes for The Guardian on how venues in the UK are preparing to open their doors again.
Following the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, backed by 1,500 stars ranging from Sir Paul McCartney to Dua Lipa, that called for the government to rescue live music, finally, on 5 July, the government announced a £1.57bn rescue package for the entire arts sector.
An initial £2.25m was later distributed to 150 grassroots venues at imminent risk (MVT had asked for a £50m fund) and yesterday, Arts Council England announced a grants programme to distribute further funds from the overall pot, including for music venues.
In mid-July the government announced that indoor gigs could resume on 1 August, with strict social distancing, but that decision has now been reversed.
Amid the mixed messages and constantly changing plans from government, Dave Simpson asked a variety of venues how they’ve been coping, and what they need to bring the music back.