If some time ago they had told us that there would be a festival dedicated exclusively to debating nightlife, we would not have believed it. But times change and a few years ago NIGHTS arrived, and it has just celebrated its fourth edition in Brussels, after stopping at Padua and Berlin. This festival aims to recognise the necessary role of nightlife in each city and the life of each citizen.
There are many themes that are involved in nighttime entertainment. This edition has paid special attention to urban coexistence, nightlife master plans, nocturnal councils and ambassadors, drug policy, festival safety, leisure tourism and late night bars ... The four pillars of NIGHTS are the night economy, culture, urban development and safe night outings.
On November 15, 16 and 17 international experts from various sectors were in Brussels to share experiences, synergise and produce new ideas. A group of 'nightlife activists' (musicians, specialists in prevention and harm reduction, law enforcement agents, legislators, city promoters and dancers) discussed issues of night and festive culture.
Through an extensive program of fascinating conferences, the speakers and attendees discussed how to maintain a safe and quality nightlife for all. We review some of the the most interesting proposals made during the three days of this innovative meeting.
The future is female
The round table entitled The future is female sounded very promising, especially when talking about an industry that is still dominated by men. In it participated women activists, with fundamental roles at night and at festivals. We are almost in 2019, but unfortunately gender equality is an issue that remains in the spotlight.
How much drug control services have helped in the monitoring of recreational drugs and connection with users! Precisely this valuable tool was discussed at the Drug Checking table. Other interesting topics were drugs and sex in Chemsex, where the challenges for psycho-medico-social workers were discussed.
Going out at night is a human need
"Going out at night or to festivals helps society to disconnect from normal life and meet new people in real life situations, listening to music and dancing."
We love that this concept is valued. At the round table Yes - dancing, drugs and music can change your life! The experts who created this session focused on the reasons why "going out at night or a festival should be declared as a human need". For some people, illegal drugs are part of this experience. Therefore, among other things, they reflected on risk reduction strategies.
Berlin and its club culture
Why does everyone want to go to Berlin? It is a question and the title of one of the conferences that revolved around the fascinating projects that are cooked up in the German city. Like the presentation of a large-scale scientific research project that analyzes what club culture is, what role it plays, and the musical culture for our cities and societies. If this is not the greatest, i’ll eat my hat!.
3 days, 8 locations, 48 sessions and 150 speakers ... And some powerful reasons to think that more festivals like Nights, which reflect on nightlife, are necessary. Because it promotes the cultural participation of the population in general. Because the night economy has become an important economic factor, in terms of jobs created and trends it establishes. Because urban planning is one of the biggest challenges of urban nightlife. And because individual risk behaviour affects, in addition to personal safety, the safety of others. For all these reasons, this project seems like a great initiative.