The good news for the push for a Sydney Night Mayor of our own is Amsterdam Night Mayor Milik Milan will be coming to Sydney to open the Electronic Music Conference in November, with a keynote address talking about the successes of Amsterdam’s nightlife policies and how other countries can implement similar solutions.
Progressive Amsterdam, famous for its vibrant and diverse nightlife, has long embraced Dance-onomics – the economic significance of EDM to the local economy. The last ten years alone has seen a 20% increase in direct financial flows associated with EDM to A$900m, generated from festivals, clubs, tourism, DJ’s, VJ’s, producers and recorded music sales, and the sector employs over 13,000 people full time and part time. A vibrant nighttime economy is a massive engine for a modern cities economic and cultural wellbeing.
Flourishing creative industries are incredibly important for aspirational global cities like Sydney to remain sustainable. In a thriving nighttime economy there’s an incredible amount of talent, including graphic designers, party promoters, DJs, VJs, live musicians, producers, creative bartenders, chefs, and fashionistas using the nightlife as a serious playground to develop their skills and display their talents, and often complementing their daytime job.
However a thriving nighttime economy can present issues for the city’s residents, from loud noise to zoning problems. To resolve these problems a unique individual has the task of helping manage the city’s celebrated nightlife, the Night Mayor. Milik Milan, 35, a former club promoter, was elected in 2014 by festival-goers, club and bar owners and the public (via an online vote). The formal role of Night Mayor is as head of a small but influential non-profit foundation funded jointly by city council and the business community.
While Milan doesn’t currently represent any official delegated power in government, his role is critical in making connections, managing and improving relations between the different stakeholders around the nightlife. As Sydney’s creative and cultural community knows too well, the ignorant instinct of authorities everywhere when residents complain is to bring in curfews, tighten regulations, close places, causing incredible damage to the economic and social fabric of a city. The progressive people of Amsterdam have long recognised the only way forward sustainably is for the nighttime economy, government, and residents to figure out together how to make it work.
For example when Milan noticed that many problems in Amsterdam seemed to occur around the time when bars closed and patrons were all at once pushed out into the street, he proposed a solution: clubs that don’t close. There are now 10 clubs in Amsterdam that are licensed to stay open 24 hours a day, all located outside of the city center.
Milan and his team have done such a good job in Amsterdam that Paris, Toulouse, and Zurich now all have night mayors operating in a similar capacity, and London and Berlin are considering creating their own. A Sydney Night Mayor is something anti-lockouts group Keep Sydney Open have been calling on the NSW Government to implement for months.
EMC 2016 key dates
Monday 28 November: EMC Welcome Drinks – The ivy (night only)
Tuesday 29 November: Conference – The ivy (daytime only)
Wednesday 30 November: Conference – The ivy (daytime only)
Wednesday 30 November: EMCPlay – various venues in Sydney (night only)
Thursday 1 December: inthemix Awards – The ivy Ballroom (night only)
Friday 2 December: Musica Copa – KIKOFF Soccer Centre, Marrickville (daytime & night)