Ireland’s Give Us The Night founder, Sunhil Sharpe spoke here to I-D Magazine about the situation in Dublin alongside quite a few young collectives and promoters that are trying to put on events and parties in the city. who’s helped bring in new legislation allowing for 6 am closes over the coming weeks. Irish DJ Sunil Sharpe wants to give the artists leaving due to Dublin’s cultural crisis a good reason to stay.
One of the hot topics the Irish press is fixating on is the new legislation that could see the club closing times shift forward significantly to 6 am. This news came from a media leak, yet this pioneering change in Dublin’s licensing history is still in discussion with the government. Sunhil Sharpe mentioned that the curfew change is one of the few matters that still need to be resolved and the closing times should not simply be limited to 6 am.
However, this conversation about curfew changes can be relevant to any city. Many cities licensing laws do not allow for late-night activity, however, looking at programming late into the morning hours without the focus being on alcohol sales would be a great alternative. Staggering closing times within the venues in the city would also be a great solution, especially in areas where later alcohol times are proving difficult to achieve.
“Despite the long-ignored calls for reform from creatives and collectives across the city, change to the nightlife scene is at last slowly being made thanks to extensive campaigning from Give Us The Night.
“Ireland places way too much emphasis on its cultural history and heritage than supporting what’s happening right now,” argues Sunil. “Culturally the city is predominantly a shrine to dead writers, and that’s fine, but let’s start believing more in artists and organisations who are alive too.”
“Ireland has approached nightlife in a very conservative and basic way in the past, and the failure to reform our licensing laws really caught up with us after the last financial crash,” he says. “The idea that dancing in a nightclub is a form of culture has been a hard sell to authorities here but it definitely feels like the point has landed and been accepted now.”
Noise is being made by talented Irish artists and Dublin-based collectives are working against the odds to showcase this talent, but it’s time that genuine support was provided from above. For Give Us The Night, this begins with an open acknowledgement that culture happens after 10 pm. “Dublin needs access to space, for both permanent and temporary venues,” Sunil argues. “We need new things happening on a regular basis to capture the imagination of those living in and visiting the city.
“If things aren’t changing and refreshing themselves, cities become stale, which is what happened here in recent years.” – Sunhil Sharpe.
If you are interested in joining our discussion on “Curfews and Later Nights” we have an online roundtable taking place on Tuesday, June 7, 16:00 CET (15:00 UK, 17:00 Vilnius/Tallinn, 10:00 Philly/NYC, etc)
We’ll be folding this topic into a special-edition instalment of our monthly “Cities After Dark” meeting, with this session open to participants both in and outside of Europe. Email firstname.lastname@example.org