It is on the dance floor at night, or at a festival during the day that we fall in love, make friends that can last a lifetime, or share that special moment that becomes part of our psychological and emotional vernacular and a tapestry of the kind of world we want to see all together. Sentiments such as these are profoundly moving. They go to the heart of the cultural phenomenon that make up the culture broadly of 'nightlife'. A culture that is explored in a new documentary by Eventbrite, entitled A New Dawn: Meet The Future of UK Nightlife.
What exactly is nightlife though and why is it so important? Some say that 'nothing much good happens after dark' or after midnight. We are told incessantly by those in licensing policy circles and policing that "Anti Social Behaviour" is a major concern to be dealt with. Yet a third of young people say they are now teetotal, and people have never behaved as well as they do when they go out now. So it's strange times that we live in that nightlife culture is still being demonised.
It should be remembered that today, 30 years on from those hazy days of Acid House, that it was dance music that has helped drive serious cultural changes in Britain and beyond. Where once racism and homophobia abounded and large scale bloody punch ups were the norm - "Friday fight night" as the older policemen joke with me - now we have a world where we dance together and have been helped make Britain a far better place for all.
Street Feast is a brilliant example of the positive impact that nightlife can have in transforming local areas. Jonathan Downey and partner Henry Dimbleby formed London Union, which will see a combined attendance across all their street food operations in excess of a million people this year. This is a movement that entertains tens of thousands each weekend and has changed the way we all interact with one another eating, drinking, dancing together. Yet they have to close at midnight. For such a brilliant world leading brand, it kind of beggars belief that we would not want to emulate the experience of Asian late night markets that have inter-generational and cross cultural success, lighting up areas, entertaining and providing much in terms of employment, revenue to local councils and of course attractions to tourists, cultural capital and enjoyment.
However, as A New Dawn rightly highlights, our notions of nightlife should not be too restricted. Today, we have such a wide and colourful range of experiences on offer at all times of night and day. Take Morning Gloryville. They enable us to rave - alcohol-free no less - to the likes of Fatboy Slim and Roger Sanchez in the morning before going off to work.
Over in Manchester, Partisan Collective is an exciting nucleus of passionate instigators and mover-shakers that are anchoring their hub with a host of different disciplines and interests that fall into the broader 'nightlife' spectrum. It may be spoken word, DJ workshops, pop up theatre or raves, all in the course of a day and night.
Nightlife is extending past the traditional confines of day and night. It's extending past simply going clubbing or boozing down the local pub. It goes to the epicentre of what it means to be able to curate the cityscapes of the future. We need to be bold and imaginative and all work together.
We have had a great start with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan creating a Night Czar position and Night Time Commission. This is making strides in various cities in Britain and we can only ensure that our nation's fifth biggest sector, employing 6% of the workforce (and disproportionately so many young people who are underemployed) and accounting for over 70 Billion UKP per annum in revenue is not culled if we all have our voices heard together. This documentary is a brilliant testament to some of the exciting contributions that contemporary Britain has to offer.
Beyond this, we need to mobilise together and get back into grass roots activism and campaigning. We have seen with campaigns such as those to save Fabric that we can all have our voices heard. One such campaign is #savenightlife where throughout the summer artists, festivals, clubs and bars and the public have all encouraged us all to sign the petition at www.savenightlife.com which goes directly to local councilors and lets them know just how important nightlife is to their constituents.
We have everything to play for. We have nothing to lose but our spaces of culture, industry and fun. Let's capture the enthusiasm of the Bristol based Alfresco Disco crew, as shown in A New Dawn, who simply love putting on parties for people in every day spaces. Lets remember that like with the spirit of The Olympics, the Public is us. We. The People. Let's celebrate that together and all step forward, together into the night. Nightlife isn't dead; it's evolving.
Alan D Miller is Chairman of The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) www.ntia.co.uk www.savenightlife.com #savenightlife @alanvibe @wearethentia