Nightfund is a dedicated source of funding for grassroots club culture, with a framework for nightlife’s next generation to self-organise and overcome rising barriers to entry.
A community of event creatives - build, connect, share resources, unlock funding opportunities and collectively enact change.
We help organisations engage with grassroots events and their surrounding communities through culture-stimulating grants and programmes.
On 18th May 2023, Nightfund unveiled its first project in collaboration with London-based promoters Goodness. The goal was to demonstrate a more equitable system for distributing grant funding - giving those who care about grassroots music culture a say in which players and projects receive support and funding, in accordance with what has the most social and cultural impact. The first project was chosen by the Nightfund committee with the idea to offer something unique, memorable and affordable to London clubbers. It was held at the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe, the site for the world’s first tunnel built under a navigable river (completed in 1843), featuring post-rock band Seefeel (Too Pure, Warp, Rephlex) and Bristol-based modular synth artist, Surgeons Girl (Livity Sound). They performed inside Brunel’s tunnel shaft, itself a Grade II listed building, to the backdrop of floor-to-ceiling visuals from Seefeel’s own AV crew. It was Seefeel’s first headline show in London for over a decade which generated a fair bit of excitement with ‘90s heads, many of whom were swelling the crowd’s ranks.
The partnership originated in a set of proposals pitched by Goodness to the Nightfund committee earlier this year, each imagining how a £5k grant could drive their brand forward and increase its social and cultural impact. The committee considered what London was missing and which of these concepts would be most impactful, then a vote was conducted to select which proposal would receive support. From the beginning, there was a strong attraction to the idea of placing live, experimental artists in spaces not typically used for electronic music events and the vote confirmed this emphatically, 76.6% of credits being used on Project 2: ‘Live Acts in Unusual Spaces’. The venue shortlist was a major talking point as was the promotion of electronic music as an art form, both key elements of the proposal. It was clear that offering an event like this at a relatively affordable price would have a significant impact.
The evening began with a panel discussion around nurturing experimental arts, featuring Louise Henry (Programme Development Manager at London Funders), Karolina Magnusson-Murray (Head of the Art Department at FOLD / Futur.Shock), Sarah Fewtrell (Nightlife Producer at The Yard Theatre) and Shain Shapiro (Executive Director of Center for Music Ecosystems | Founder & Chairman at Sound Diplomacy). It naturally evolved into a back and forth between panel and audience, in which fundamental insights were shared about the UK’s institutional landscape and accounts of the good work being done to overcome challenges currently faced in nightlife. It was also, as Louise Henry emphasised, only the start of a conversation which should continue after the event and aim to involve as many voices and experiences as possible.
Nightfund intends to support many more events that push boundaries and feed the creative ecosystem necessary for underground music and surrounding communities to thrive. It also intends to lower barriers to participation in the culture, by offering high value experiences at affordable rates and creating opportunities for people from underrepresented backgrounds to get involved. These goals are a direct response to the current financial climate and its effects on live music, but they also reflect a long-term desire for a more sustainable industry which is systemically working towards building space for new players and culture.