Night Time Economy Summit 2023
The long-awaited and highly-anticipated Night Time Economy Summit took place in February. As partners with the NTIA, the NDML team were invited down to showcase. We entertained guests, clients and prospects in the E1, London’s industrial nightclub hosting the event.
The original idea for the NTE summit was outlined many years prior, intended for leaders of the sector to discuss and present their issues concerning the sectors welfare and available support. However, the event had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Three years later and the summit is finally underway. This, the second in the series of conferences, focussed on topics such as meeting net-zero, nightclub security, the social economy and financial support on the agenda.
The night-time economy was amongst the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a small revival post-pandemic but they’ve now been caught in the midst of a cost of living crisis. Never more has support and an understanding of the plight of the sector been needed.
The industry is operating on ever smaller margins and a large proportion of firms are in ‘survive’ rather than ‘thrive’ mode. A purpose of the NTE summit is to highlight cooperation between businesses in the sector, and now it’s so important for venues to work together and strengthen the sector.
Account Executives Mikki Dawson and Lee Peters were set up at the stand in E1. We love attending these events, not only to help others learn about us, but also to learn more about the industry we are so deeply invested in.
We’ve summarised some of the main take aways we took from the two-day summit:
NDML’s 5 main take aways from the NTE Summit
The Nightlife Economy Report
Widely discussed at the event, not only by NTIA representative Mike Kill but also by other speakers, was the incoming Nightlife Economy Report. It had made waves in the national news in the days prior to the event, as it showed almost a third of nightlife businesses were at risk of closure.
The NTIA said, “The second NTIA Night Time Economy report shows the stark reality of the challenges faced by the industry and defines the true journey that the industry has been on over the last few years, and the impact on the entire nightlife ecosystem. The report aims to fully understand the economic contribution and significance of the night-time cultural economy to the UK economy as well as the wider UK night-time economy (NTE).”
NDML assisted with the creation and the publishing of the report. We believe this report is important for the majority to understand the importance of nightlife to the wider economy, and why it needs to be protected.
Find more on the report here:
Help Me Angela
‘help Me Angela’ is a unique personal safety app that helps the staff of nightclubs venues travel safely home at night. It includes an urgent messaging service, Get me out of here feature, Incident Recovery Programme and Therapy Service. Their Guardian Angels are available 24/7, ideal for the late-night entertainment sector.
The NTIA have certainly seen the value in the app and have announced a partnership. “The event has been so fantastic for us because people have heard of Ask for Angela, but they haven’t heard of ‘help Me Angela’” said Michelle Roycroft.
Michelle Roycroft is the Director of ‘help Me Angela’; she sat down with NDML during the 2023 NTE Summit and described how the app has been built from her own background as a former Metropolitan Police Officer.
Read more about our chat with Michelle here:
One of the many talks of the day was Save The Night. The talk was headed up by Mike Kill who started the debate off by reflecting on the need to “take the industry seriously.” Speakers included Philip Kolvin, Sylvia Oates, Ali Turnham, Jon Collins and Shain Shapiro. There was strong agreement that there exists a need to lobby and educate the public as well as make operators more collaborative. Therefore the talk was a how-to guide on running the night-time economy.
The chat then moved onto what to call this how-to guide. They provisionally called this titleless book/how-to guide, Saving The Night; however saving was discredited as negative, ‘it’s as if nightlife needs saving’. But they then agreed that, yes, nightlife is in crisis and does need saving.
Crisis points include noise complaints, the social economy, changes to VISAs, and the closure of grassroots music venues. The speakers agreed help with getting local licenses needs to be improved. There needs to be policymakers and decisionmakers within local councils who are on the side of nightlife operators, and those who understand what they dubbed ‘the value of the night.’
It was noted this disconnect between licensing and planning was damaging the economy. A permanent position needs to be appointed nationwide, a night-time Tsar for the UK, and then alongside them, night-time Tsars in local councils. They can help to bridge that gap between licensing and planning, to nurture and encourage local music venues, and pioneer support for nightclub operators. This is perhaps already the role of the government culture secretary, yet they noted we are on our 13th Culture Sec in as many years.
The sector as a whole needs to ensure inter-sector partnerships happen. Mike Kill said he understands it’s challenging, that the sector needs to escape this ‘big risk narrative’. He finished the debate by saying, once the how-to guide is released, the target is to appoint 100 night-time Tsars over the next ten years. To achieve that we need to appoint 8 to 10 a year.
Amy Lamé, the night Tsar of London, spoke up during the questions out to the audience segment, and voiced her defence of councillors. She spoke on the work of current night-time borough champions and that of the Mayor of London. Mike Kill reiterated the need for better engagement and better communication, and that London is the exception rather than the norm.
Where You At App
Jamie Legg, Chief Technology Officer of Where You At – “Where you at is an indoor positioning system that helps you locate your friends in offline situations. We provide Bluetooth hardware to venues to create a mesh network to find your friends in completely offline situations.”
“This data also provides the venue on who has been where and when and how they can best optimise their venue infrastructure.”
“We had a very successful day, lots of sign ups on our sheet. Our CEO, Tamzin Lent is speaking at the event. We stayed quite late into the evening networking, it’s been a great day.”
Tamzin Lent, CEO and founder of Where You At, explained during the Safeguarding Nightlife section of the afternoon, that the app aims to alleviate the anxiety of going out. She spoke on her own personal experiences and how the app is a positive tool in the war against spiking.
It was noted that venues who want to work with campaigns such as Where You At and Help Me Angela should not be afraid that they may be labelled ‘problem venues’. Venues in fact want more training, want posters; and that decade-long opinions against such awareness has now changed.
Driving Recovery Through Strategy
The final talk NDML attended was the NTE’s Driving Recovery through Strategy and Innovation. It feature special guest speakers Sarah Slater from Ticketmaster, Sacha Lord of Manchester’s Warehouse Project, Carly Heath Champion for Bristol, Amy Lamé night tsar of London, and Ariel Palitz all the way from New York, heading up their Office of Nightlife.
The overall sentiment of the talk was that ’every city needs its own approach’ and should take inspiration from New York. However, they require an agency to change things – currently there is no agency anywhere else than London.
The group want to utilise a holistic approach, healing the ecosystem of nightlife. Reframe a framed industry.
Sacha Lord passionate spoke on how Boris Johnson shut the sector down, and though the support packages were good, the nightclub economy has been left in a far worse state. “And yet it’s clear nightclubs have the public’s backing,” he continued. Post-COVID nightclubs went through a renaissance and were on the road to recovery, but that’s not the case for small indie businesses, so what is the government’s strategy?
Amy Lamé spoke on her city’s launch of a £6 million campaign for high streets at night. Carly spoke on Bristol council’s £10,000 grant to save the city’s highstreets and reopen empty spaces. Sacha spoke on the need for a general election, reduced VAT, energy support scheme, a change to the difficult Brexit VISA requirements and the need for a government Night Tsar. And Ariel noted the need for a change of attitudes.
NDML asked the speakers what is something they are currently championing, and what is they would like to see change over the next 12 months:
- Carly said she’s championing a harm reduction guide for the night-time economy and would like to see further decarbonisation of the sector.
- Ariel said she’s championing safer spaces as well as an acceptance of human behaviour such as drug use.
- Amy said she’s championing women’s safety with the women’s night safety charter, and wants to see more money for her team.
- Sacha Lord jested he would like to see some of Amy’s budget. He is championing that spiking be made a specific crime, the Get Home Safely campaign for night-time workers, and safety havens in Greater Manchester. Over 12 months he is wary of the avalanche incoming for independents, and would like to see a rebuild of the sector as a whole.
NTE Summit 2024
The NTIA have announced another night time economy summit for 2024. The third in the series, it is booked to take place on the 7th to the 9th February. Now over three days we look forward to what we can help achieve and what the next year will hold.
Thank you to the NTIA as well as all the guest speakers and leaders attending. It is so important for our industry that we cooperate, communicate and keep talking as a sector, and keep UK nightlife protected.
To learn more about the UK’s top nightlife broker and how we assist our clients, see NDML’s services and contact our dedicated team.