A new report exploring the future of nightlife has been published.
A collaboration between Mixmag, THE FACE and the Cultural Foresight team at Pernod Ricard (a team of anthropologists who focus on the future of socialising), the report - Reality Remixed - The Future of Conviviality - decodes how the virus is radically re-shifting the boundaries of partying, the future of togetherness and imagines the new order of nightlife.
Over 50 people across the world were interviewed, from DJs and artist managers to club owners, promoters and industry experts such as representatives of nightlife industry associations, hospitality entrepreneurs and mixologists. Some of the DJs interviewed include object blue, Anastasia Kristensen, JAGUAR, Anz, Severino of Horse Meat Disco, Balraj Samrai of Manchester duo Swing Ting and more.
Written by author Justin Quirk, the report touches on the inventive and innovative ways of bringing parties and festivals into people's homes while venues have been closed and IRL events unable to happen throughout the pandemic.
Lost Horizon - from the team behind Glastonbury's Shangri-La - was one of these virtual reality festivals, delivering over 70 acts across a two-day festival. Over 4.3 million people tuned in, either through VR, PC or streaming it.
Lost Horizon's creative director Kaye Dunnings said: “Through meeting social VR platform Sansar last March, we discovered a whole new way to connect with people globally, a place free from worldly constraints where you can identify however you choose through an avatar and talk, dance and hang out just as you would IRL."
LWE also got in on the virtual festival game, first with Junction 2 Virtual, bringing in over three million views, then Tobacco Dock Virtual. These events feature under the sub-heading Blurring Boundaries, "Phygital" Events and Virtual Experiences in which the combination of physical and digital clubbing is explored.
Club Qu is another virtual event born during the pandemic and director and co-founder Ryan Miller hopes things learnt through virtual clubbing can be taken into IRL: "I hope that we can all take the education we’ve been doing into this mad new world we’ll find ourselves in and create some sick club utopia."
Australian DJ Andy Garvey spoke about the positivity coming from virtual programming: “Virtual programming has allowed people from across the world to experience art, and engage in talks and discussion. It's quite incredible. I don't see that ending any time soon.”
Though there is a lot of optimism around virtual events, the report finds there is huge anticipation of nightlife reopening.
DJ and PR Fallon MacWilliams said: “All I need is to feel the energy from a crowd again in real life, to be in a room of people having a collective experience together. I think the mood is going to be mental, we are all desperate to dance again after being pent up for so long.”
Similarly, Charles Guo, owner of Shanghai club 44KW said: “We think the point of going to a club is the connection between people through music and the on-site experiences, this is something irreplaceable."
DJ Anastasia Kristensen echoed this, although thinks some people will take baby steps back into going out to listen to music: “I believe people are very excited about coming back, but it is also something that might feel weird for many after not attending any crowded events or places for over a year. I certainly think the world won't be exactly the same, but I am sure we will adopt new habits… I am optimistic that the experience of live shows will still be good, and beneficial for people.”
Gosia Plysa of Unsound Festival pointed out that safety measures at events will be more paramount than ever in a post-pandemic world.
She said: “I think people will definitely pay more attention to what venues and promoters offer in terms of safety measures, including those focused on Covid-19 and health. They may be less likely to dance carefree in sweaty and packed clubs with bad ventilation.”
Another topic in the report was localism and the utilisation of vacant spaces. Limbo Accra in Ghana is an example of this, with project founder Dominique Petit-Frére saying: “In the west, in Berlin and New York, you have this kind of phenomenon that exists where young creatives occupy and activate abandoned buildings. But the difference is that these were not abandoned, they’re uncompleted, so they exist as these concrete limbo spaces throughout our city… Accra is now just modernising, so we really don’t have public spaces… so I sought to occupy and reactivate these uncompleted sites as space for the public, but also for the creative community that is here.”
Other topics covered include club ownership, DIY club cultures, the pandemic's effect on cities and the post-pandemic club scene in Africa, the United States and Asia.
Standalone Q&As with Paul Bui of Community Bread, Indian DJ Sandunes, NIKS of Black Artist Database, Kaye Dunnings and Charlotte Brohier and Daphnée Hor of Cultural Foresights at Pernod Ricard also feature. Other interviewees include Bradley Thompson of Broadwick Live and Printworks, RONI, Imran Hussain of The Hotel Culture, Brice Coudert, Cameron Leslie of fabric, and mixologists and hospitality entrepreneurs such as Iain Griffiths, Alex Kratena and Ryan Chetiyawardana.
Pernod Ricard believes the core of conviviality occurs through responsible consumption
[Photo: Antoine Julien]