How to restart nightlife? A web conference by Efus’ nightlife working group

June 2021 – Nightlife has been particularly hit by the Covid-related restrictions, which have had dire consequences for the whole nightlife ecosystem and more broadly for the economic, social and cultural life of cities. Now that the pandemic seems to be somewhat more in control, European municipalities are looking to restart nightlife. But how? This was the theme of a web conference organised by Efus’ Nightlife & Security working group, on 23 June.

Covid support units

Denis Tallédec, Director General of the Culture Bar-Bars collective, a long-time partner of Efus, and coordinator of the Nightlife Platform (Plateforme de la Vie Nocturne), presented their white paper on the “right to party” (Livre Blanc du Droit à la Fête) that resulted from the eponymous general assembly organised in November 2020 with the support of Efus. The book includes a series of recommendations for the relaunch of nightlife, in particular the creation of “Covid support territorial units” tasked with establishing dialogue among the various nightlife stakeholders, including local and regional authorities, and consensual decision-making. Four French cities have already set up such units: Bordeaux, Nantes, Paris and La Rochelle. Even though it’s too early to draw any conclusion on their long-term impact, it can be already noted that these units have resulted in improved coordination between the different actions undertaken and better information sharing among the relevant actors.

Flexibility and adaptation

Represented by Mathias Schaer, head of security, and Lucien Delley, head of the mediation department, the City of Lausanne (Switzerland) explained how measures aimed at curbing nightlife (such as better coordination between police and other actors and mediation and information initiatives) can also be used the other way round to restart it. They presented the case of one of the city’s public parks where revellers started to meet up to party. The City decided to let it be rather than nudge the revellers towards other neighbourhoods, and to support them and ensure their safety, for example by setting up pop-up information booths and extra waste bins. The municipality was flexible and reactive, and the experience turned out to be positive because it did respond to citizens’ needs while ensuring their security and that of local residents as well.

Key takeaways

Two main takeaways can be drawn from this working session:

  • It is important to have cross-cutting dialogue and decision-making organs gathering the various nightlife stakeholders: public authorities, hospitality industry professionals and representatives of the public.
  • Municipal staff must have ears the ground, be able to adapt, be flexible and communicate clearly and transparently with all the relevant stakeholders. In particular, it is important to ensure peaceful coexistence between night time revellers and local residents.

> Follow the nightlife topic on our website
> For more exchanges and information on nightlife, we invite you to join us at the international Security, Democracy and Cities conference in Nice (France) on 20-22 October.