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Key Takeaways from Day 1 at the Night Time Economy Summit

Escape from Freight Island in Manchester hosted the Night-Time Economy Summit, which brought together industry moguls from across the globe over two days. Through panellists and networking, the event aims to share information and knowledge, as well as, advice when navigating difficulties in the next few years.

The showcase provided invaluable information and details from different sectors that come together to create The Night Time Industries Association. Plans were laid out for the coming years, and connections were made between key players in the industry. Here are the key takeaways from the first day of the Night-Time Economy Summit.

Welcome Talk: Michael Kill CEO of NTIA, Sacha Lord NTE Advisor for GMCA, Nina Kehagia, Figen Murray OBE, Martyns Law.

Starting this year's Summit, the CEO for the NTIA, Michael Kill and the NTE Advisor, Sacha Lord, introduced the biggest summit they have done to record, with 1,600 delegates over the two days with tickets completely sold out. Whilst Lord reiterated the struggles of the sector, he emphasised that Manchester feels it has the same energy as it did in the Madchester era. Subsequently, three inspirational women introduced their work. Nina Kehagia emphasised the importance of, and the Queen of Manchester, Rowetta, raised questions about the marginalised communities in the region. Figen Murray OBE is responsible for bringing in Martyn's Law after her son sadly passed away at the arena bombing attack. Currently, the legislation is awaiting Royal Assent, but she assures it will provide more protection to society. “It couldn’t have been in a better city. When the attack happened, the people of Manchester took it as a personal attack on the city, and we came together. There is now regular monthly training happening in the city, and Manchester has stepped up to keep each other safe. That’s the beauty of the city.” She concluded.

Keynote Speaker Philip Kolvin: Author of the NTIA ‘Darkest Before the Dawn’ Manifesto

The manifesto written by Philip Kolvin outlines the NTIA’s position in the sector and what needs to be implemented to see it flourish. With passion in his voice, Kolvin illustrated that in 2023, two bars and three restaurants closed every week across the country. “But who cares if there is one less club? Well, the answer is in this room. You care. We are the fifth biggest sector in the country and we create 3.5 million jobs. My reasons are from the heart, that’s the context of this manifesto.”

The manifesto holds 44 points that need to be addressed, in an oven-ready proposal created for any Government that wins the next election. But there were two “no-brainers” that must be adhered to. “We have to move away from regulating to supporting our sector. We need to create a plan at a local level, which will see action implemented to support it. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport should take the NTIA, not the Home Office, as we are not an organised crime gang. We need a national NTIA strategy board like New York.”

Kolvin concluded with: “We are in a dark period now, but that is bound to change to take it into the dawn.”

Navigating the Political Minefield in Support of the Industry: Michael Kill CEO NTIA, Kate Nicholls OBE CEO UKHospitality, Emma McClarkin CEO BBPA, Robert Richardson CEO IOH.

When the panel were posed the question of ‘what is the biggest challenge that faces the industry’, it was no surprise that they unanimously agreed on the cost of business. In particular, the stubbornly high 20% VAT placed on hospitality businesses. The panel divulged that the UK is the only country that doesn’t have a lower rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism, and the solution has to encompass all aspects, including alcohol, otherwise, the change will not work.

A part of the job the panel shared was lobbying decision-makers to implement change in the industry. They shared how passionate they all are for the sector, and are keen to see improvements made. “When we don’t get a decision our way, it can be frustrating at times because we are so passionate.” But before they reach the final decision, they have to work in harmony to ensure the right message is put across. “All of our bodies have to write the same lyrics on one hymn sheet so we can sing the same song. We all want the same outcome and objective, it’s just about how we can get that in the best way possible.”

Mayors of the North and The Midlands discuss the future of Night-Time Economy: Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotherham Mayor of Liverpool, Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire, Andy Street Mayor of West Midlands.

One of the key takeaways from the event was that Manchester is a trailblazer in what a good night-time economy looks like in a city. So it was no surprise to hear Andy Burnham again championing the brilliant work done in the region. But a feeling shared amongst the mayors was whilst the night-time industry is a positive one, it still should be supported more, which was when Steve Rotherham added that VAT should be reduced to 10%. Andy Street praised the innovation in the night-time economy, particularly after the pandemic, which has seen businesses lean on new experiences such as VR and events.

2024 Night Time Economy Report: Industry Insights and Future Trends: Ali Thurnham Make Associates, Julie Tippins DHP Family, Mike Grieve MD SubClub Glasgow, Sam Tarry MP Ilford South.

Data is extremely important in ensuring change, something which was echoed by this talk. The report outlined that the night-time economy spending will be up 12% in 2022, in comparison to 2019. But whilst sales are greater than before the pandemic, everything else has gone up and disillusioned the data. Ali Thurnham later questioned if the sector receives 10% of Government support when the industry makes up 10% of the economy. The answer was no.

Partly the reason behind that lack of support, is that the night-time industry isn't covered by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as expected. It is covered by the Home Office. Sam Tarry addressed there needs to be a change in the mindset to ensure the sector receives the support it desperately needs at this point, and changing the Government Department would be a positive step in the right direction.

The Development of Music Recognition Technology - The Music Data Revolution: Sarah Crane Director of Marketing Defected, Jack Bridges Electronic Music Lead SoundCloud, Kira Ashwin Music Partnership Manager TikTok, Kitty Amor Head of Mahaba Music, James Hughes Eden Ibiza.

When James Hughes had 180 days of data to harvest, his instant reaction would be that the household-name DJs performing at Eden in Ibiza were the majority of the reason people came. But once he received the data, it transpired that changes in BPM, lesser-known artists and artists playing more niche genres were the ones who were keeping people on the dancefloor. It shows the power data can have when used correctly.