Belfast’s nightlife advocacy organisation Free The Night has received 50,000 euros as part of a worldwide nightlife initiative that aims to encourage new solutions to preserve and enrich nightlife culture. The Belfast institution won the nightlife fund via the #SAVETHENIGHT project, which was launched by Jaegermeister in cooperation with London’s fabric and Resident Advisor.

Local DJ Holly Lester and human rights advocate Boyd Sleator founded Free The Night in 2021. The organisation has since emerged as a crucial voice for Northern Ireland’s nightlife. The nonprofit organisation focuses on the social and cultural importance of nightlife, particularly in post-conflict communities, and works to address challenges that limit the region’s potential at night.

Since its inception, Free The Night has worked with a devoted network of volunteers, including DJs, hospitality workers, and clubgoers, to undertake research and influence governmental choices to nurture a healthy late-night culture.

Free The Night co-founders Holly and Boyd said: “We are delighted to have been chosen for this global fund and to be given the opportunity to bring our Northern Ireland-focused project to life. We hope that what we can achieve will bring about a lasting positive impact to the nightlife community and a better understanding of the culture that we care so deeply about.”

Inspired by the seminal 1990s documentary “Dancing on Narrow Ground: Youth and Dance of Ulster,” Free The Night’s project aims to create a contemporary sequel that captures the ongoing relevance and evolution of late-night music spaces in Belfast. The documentary will explore the role of dancefloors as spaces of peace, unity, creativity and community in a post-conflict city still grappling with its past. This groundbreaking project will combine documentary filmmaking with anthropological research, culminating in a comprehensive report to influence public and political perceptions of nightlife.

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