As clubbers across the world get ready to take their first steps back onto the dancefloor, there’s a palpable sense of nervous excitement.
Lockdowns have made people appreciate that nights out are defined by a feeling of intimacy – both physically and emotionally – among everyone gathered in the same venue. And so while everyone is seeking a euphoric sense of freedom, there’s a renewed sense of importance in looking after each other and strengthening a sense of community spirit in nightlife.
In collaboration with The Cultural Foresights team at Pernod Ricard (a team of anthropologists who focus on the future of socialising) and published via THE FACE and Mixmag, Reality Remixed – The Future of Conviviality is an in-depth report on the future of nightlife, for which over 50 industry figures (including DJs, artist managers, promoters, curators, digital developers and representatives of nightlife industry associations) were interviewed.
“Hospitality spaces have definitely always been community hubs,” says Alex Kratena, an award-winning bartender and the founder of P(OUR), in the report. “But through the pandemic it’s been highlighted even more.”
Mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana echoes this statement. “I think there has been a real rise in the appreciation of hospitality – both in terms of the spaces we go to enjoy this, but also the professionalism and experience that enables it,” he says. “I am hopeful this will allow us to make more significant shifts to push the culture forward and to help connect more people with a more diverse, balanced and equitable system.”
LWE – a company that organises many of London’s biggest electronic music nights – is hosting a series of comeback events under the banner ‘Restart. Realign. Reunite.’
“It’s our job to make people feel safe, communicate a message of love and solidarity, and recognise that people will be extra sensitive,” says Clayton Wright of Little Gay Brother. “We’re starting a new warden’s program in the club to help ease people back in. The more people there are available to talk, listen and look out for each other, the better and safer it will be… This includes updating respect policies, making space for new female, Black, and queer fans, and most importantly, protecting those people when they are there. Everything has to change…”
Launched during the first lockdown, Community Bread is a queer-owned US livestream platform that supports DJs and producers and has kept similarly principled ravers connected during the pandemic. “We wanted to come up with left-field solutions on how to help marginalised artists earn coin,” says Community Bread’s co-founder Paul Bui. “We were also trying to build a level playing field where queer and POC are not just relegated to working in the cloakrooms or put on line-ups as gestures of tokenism, but actually made up most of if not the entire line-up.”
Many hope that the kind of values Community Bread has maintained as a digital platform will be achieved across the industry as raving returns to a more physical realm. “We want to reimagine a future for nightlife,” says Bui, “where queer people and POC are put in leadership roles, make the big decisions, and be the gatekeepers to the community they were so integral in building.”
Pernod Ricard believes the core of conviviality occurs through responsible consumption