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How Generation DIY are transforming the events landscape

Katie McPhee from Eventbrite describes how she’s seen urban nightlife through the lens of Generation DIY

09 Jul 2018

Katie McPhee, Eventbrite

The next generation of promoters and creatives are experiencing first hand the impact financial pressures and gentrification of urban areas have on the availability of traditional venues and the nightlife scene. But instead of shrinking from this challenge, members of Generation DIY are embracing opportunity.

A growing movement has emerged, made up of open-minded young promoters and creatives from all cultures and identities, who are hosting (and self-funding) purpose-led parties in both traditional spaces like clubs and bars, and also non-traditional venues such as daytime cafés, arts hubs or even their own homes.

We spoke to many Generation DIYers and have identified some important shifts in mindset that characterise this movement:

The idea that the promoter is commercially driven no longer holds
We met over 100 young people who are actively promoting and investing their own money to organise open events and provide a platform to showcase all types of talent. A big topic for this generation is diversity and inclusivity, and their numerous events are designed to work across divisions, minorities and identities, bringing to life the richness and diversity in our communities. These events are not exclusive and are not designed to make money. What matters more is they have purpose.

Venues’ lack of trust in aspiring event creators’ sincerity is an obstacle
Generation DIY highlighted real life stories about the obstacles younger promoters have to overcome when it comes to the preconceptions venues and providers have about them. Mostly, those are based on their age, perceived inexperience and in some cases a lower track record. Young creators often have to work extra hard to build trust in their professionalism, discipline and reliability.

A big topic for this generation is diversity and inclusivity

Policymakers can support this generation’s vision of night culture in city life
In the panel events we questioned and heard directly from those involved in nightlife, including Sacha Lord, the first official Greater Manchester night-time economy adviser. Despite trust in institutions and politicians being low, all involved saw great value in collaboration.

One example was the neighbourhood ‘gentrification’ that is taking hold in the very areas which house many clubs and great venues that would be ideal for these kind of independent, grassroots events. Policymakers in this area can work to ensure slick city developments also have potential for night-time space. There is an opportunity for groups to work more closely with councils, to ensure the needs of the night-time economy are built into long-term planning and strategy development by local authorities.

Venue managers and local authorities have an opportunity to be at the heart of an important wave of social engagement across the country. The new generation of promoters and collectives, through their sheer commitment and hard work, is behind a new approach to music-led evenings and parties, putting social action at their heart. This movement is gaining momentum and, as policymakers and economic advisors take notice, is set to make a difference.


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