Bristol to appoint a ‘Night Czar’ to champion venues

📸 by Giulia Spadafora | Soul Media

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

UK ‘rejected offer’ of visa-free tours by musicians in EU

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.

Read the full article here

VibeLab launches the “Denkathon” – a hackathon for collective ideas to #SaveTheNight.

Every bright, German speaking night owl with a love of nightlife can get involved.

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:

Participation in the Denkathon is free. Everyone over the age of 18 can take part and the winners will be offered prize money. Register here.

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.

Find out more about the Denkathon here


Hard Reset: Crack magazine writes on climate change and music in 2020

Crack Magazine interviews three artists; Jayda J, Darwin, Kelly Lee Owens on the impact that the pandemic has had upon addressing sustainability issues in the music industry.

“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

Read the full article here

2020 Round Up: An exciting and essential time to be active as a nightlife advocate.

📷by Phil Vol at Disco Zwei Mannheim, displayed at “End Of The Night“ exhibition.

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

Some Good News: Global Nightlife Wins of 2020

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. 

Dance for Belarus (Photo: Sasha Romanovskaya)

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. 

Outdoor Dining NYC

Nightlife Association of Colombia (Asobares) designs and implements Gradual Opening Plan
– Colombia

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. 

Breidenbach Heidelberg stands empty (Photo: Paula Theiss)

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
– Germany

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
– Ireland

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
– Global

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
– Global 

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. 

A rendering of Berghain in Berlin plastered with a word-based artwork by Rirkrit Tiravanija

Let’s hope that 2021 brings more innovative ideas and support towards the nighttime industries.

Ex-Berliner reviews how Berlin went from almost bankrupt to techno capital

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-InstitutIt 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

Order Ten Cities through Spector Books.

Read the full Ex-Berliner article

Rebuilding starts now – why your city needs a nighttime economy recovery plan

Image by: Leni Schwendinger

In cities across the world, the night time industry is one of the hardest hit of any economic sectors, and yet many governments are still not addressing its needs – or the needs of millions of its struggling workers. 

Without action, countless businesses, jobs and cultural spaces will be lost. And without a strong night time economy, cities stand to lose money, cultural vibrancy and reputation

The time to plan for recovery is right now. 

Some cities are leading the way: Manchester, UK and Sydney, Australia for example, have both recently launched detailed strategies to protect and strengthen their nightlife sectors during and beyond the pandemic. 

“Since March, we have all witnessed the devastation of our creative and night time economy sector. In Greater Manchester, we recognise this sector is the heartbeat of our towns and communities. We launched the Recovery Plan, not just to help the sector return back to pre COVID levels, but to also come back stronger, building on our previous successes.”

– Sacha Lord – Manchester Night Time Economy Adviser

Read about Manchester’s plan here

Read about Sydney’s plan here.

No matter where it is on the pandemic timeline, every city needs a targeted and individually tailored strategy to rebuild its night time economy. 

But there’s no need to start from scratch.   

Using the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan

In response to the severe vulnerability of nighttime economies and cultures caused by Covid-19, a global collaboration of some of the foremost minds on nightlife governance and urban planning, spearheaded by nightlife advocacy agency, VibeLab, has created the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan (GNRP)

Having released three of its seven chapters, the GNRP is written to provide all members of the night-time ecosystem the tools and inspiration to aid their cities in planning and executing responsible re-opening. 

Its released chapters cover:

1 – Open-air nightlife and Covid-19: Managing outdoor space and sound

2 – The future of dance floors: Building more flexible, open and innovative clubbing experiences. 

3 – Innovating for safe and welcoming 24-hour cities

Its forthcoming chapters cover:

4 – Building nocturnal governance: Capacity-building for night

mayors and other nighttime governance institutions

5 – Sustaining our nightlife scenes I: Financial support models for creative industry workers, individuals and vulnerable populations

6 – Sustaining our nightlife scenes II: Financial and other forms of support for independent businesses

7-Learning As We Go: Measuring impact and data-gathering through the process

We can learn from each other. The GNRP has drawn on examples and expertise from all over the world to inform its discussion. Its case studies range from Tokyo to New York, Lagos to Lithuania, Sydney to Berlin and more.

Some of the key insights the GNRP community has learned so far

  • The instinct to socialise is universal and enduring. In cities where there are no legal options, dangerous illegal alternatives are found.
  • Open air spaces can be activated to safely increase capacity and revenue, and enliven subdued urban areas. 
  • Outreach is crucial. City authorities need to be close to their populations, communicate clearly, and win the trust of their business communities and to encourage cooperation between all interest groups.
  • Mediation is proven to be a more effective alternative – or at least important precursor – to enforcement. 
  • The event industry should adopt lean start-up approaches as common practice to build resilience to crisis. Cities can support this through funding, training, and capacity-building.
  • Club operators already have expertise in health, safety and prevention, and the narrative around this can and should be more positive.
  • There are huge opportunities to exploit longer and later opening of services to address issues of physical distancing.
  • Flexing regulations and simplifying licensing applications is essential to allowing nightlife to rebuild
  • 24-hour transport – for essential workers and nightlife participants alike – is key to safer and more vibrant cities 
  • Lighting plays a critical role in placemaking, cultural activation and safety at night
  • The pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing fragility of the nightclub industry – venues serving marginalised communities are especially vulnerable. 
  • Measuring and monitoring are fundamental to identify challenges and opportunities, and envision tactics.

This international exchange of information, ideas and resources is intended as a launch point. We invite local governments and nightlife stakeholders to engage in the discussion, then take action within their own communities.

What can you do now?

Analyse local opportunities and challenges via 1:1 consulting sessions with VibeLab, the nightlife consultants behind the GNRP. 

VibeLab is founded by Amsterdam’s former night mayor Mirik Milan, and Berlin Club Commission spokesperson Lutz Leichsenring, and offers extensive expertise and an international network for those seeking out new paths to make change. 


These unprecedented times have created an opportunity for those passionate about the night – entrepreneurs, urbanists, politicians, artists, academics, local activists – to challenge its marginalisation, so that both during and beyond recovery, nighttime is better integrated into how we plan, manage and understand cities.

Let’s seize the moment. 

Incoming rapid testing provides a glimmer of hope for future parties ✨

Cassette rapid test for COVID-19 or novel coronavirus 2019 found in Wuhan, China

Jordan Rahlia explores how rapid testing can provide a transition strategy for nightlife and events industries to survive the inevitable lag between lifted lockdowns and a sufficiently vaccinated population.

Read the full feature here on

Your Favourite Pyjama Festival kicks off online this weekend

This weekend sees the launch of a new online concert event, designed to bring some good music and good cheer straight into your living room. SEVENFRIDAY YFPF (Your Favourite Pyjama Festival) is worldwide virtual festival to celebrate life and support artists, this weekend’s edition led by Shawn Stockman (BoyzIIMen), and featuring live performances coming to you from LA, Berlin and Mumbai.


Los AngelesShawn Stockman invites you into his home for a private performance. Enjoy his music, chat with him and see which surprise guests knock at his door.

Berlin – Wouldn’t be Berlin without a bit of techno. Djanes will be bringing the beats, plus some Balkan beat jazz and live rock music to boot.

Mumbai – One of Asian house music’s frontrunners, Madoc, will be playing, with some surprise special guests.

Buy your ticket and get access to the virtual festival and the three stages where this eclectic group of musicians will perform simultaneously for three hours.

Taking place several times a year, SEVENFRIDAY YFPF aims to unite friends and great artists from all around the world to connect cultures and individuals, strengthening a global community of free and open-minded people enjoying life like every day is a Friday.

Find out more here.