We all know we have the potential of offering something much better to the world and ourselves given the right support and reasonable conditions.

SAD is an intimate and international nightlife conference on the broad topic on what Stockholm can and should learn from Berlin and other leading cities of the night.

There is an old joke among medical doctors that goes: "The operation was successful, but the patient died".  

We mention it because the spirit of this meme is in some ways reminiscent of how politicians, bureaucrats and law enforcement have historically looked at and treated nightlife in Sweden. Some corners of it much more so than others.

Plenty of lip service has been paid to the “crucial importance” of culture while simultaneously enacting and upholding absurd laws requiring permits for dancing and other regulations stifling a vibrant and diverse night culture with very little, if anything, to show for the sacrifice. This simply does not add up, needs to change, and is also changing as Swedes travel the world and realize that it need not be this way. 

But time is of the essence and we can’t afford politicians and other decision makers dragging their feet any longer.

Long before the COVID pandemic hit we were already suffering under the self-inflicted wave of “klubbdöden” (the death of clubs) rolling over the city; slowly but steadily drowning out both new and old night institutions and communities in its wake.

Way too many babies have been thrown out with the dirty (and in parts genuinely problematic) bathwater that nightlife and the night time economy undoubtedly generates.

Fortunately other cities like Berlin, Vienna, London and New York City have already tested and proven other much more successful models of handling both the opportunities and the problems of the night.

Let’s listen to them.

Friday 26 May​
DAY ONE - "Anamnesis & diagnosis"

The day begins with a keynote introduction by Lutz Leichsenring from VibeLab and Berlin Club Commission. We then move into a series of panels, each dimensioned to leave plenty of room for questions and audience interaction. Later in the day we get to hear from both the underground and the establishment, as well as from both Swedish and German politicians and hopefully also law enforcement and academia.


The first day is dedicated to diagnosing the state of Stockholm's nightlife from a wide range of perspectives; both Swedish and international.

Conference panelists

KEYNOTE: Lutz Leichenring & Creative Footprint Stockholm

The programme starts with analysis, conclusions and recommendations from the “Creative Footprint Stockholm 2021” which was commissioned by the city of Stockholm and parts of the city’s real estate sector. The report provides an excellent overview of Stockholm’s main challenges and opportunities. 

The well-researched report is based on in-depth interviews with a wide circle of industry stakeholders and underground grassrots alike and we believe it’s an excellent starting point.


09.00-10.00: REGISTRATION
Breakfast & Mingle

10.00-10.30: KEYNOTE

‘Creative Footprint STHLM’

10.30-12.00: PANEL #1
Berlin – A success story?

12.00-13.00: LUNCH
13.00-14.15: PANEL #2
‘Hearing from the politicians’
14.15-15.15: PANEL #3 
Minding the gap:
Underground vs Main Street
15.15-15.45: COFFEE BREAK
15.45-16.45: 4×15 MIN SESSIONS
‘Club lobbyism and club culture institutions in Europe’
What can Stockholm learn from other cities’ nightlife and how do we make it happen?


Marc Wohlrabe
Lutz Leichsenring
Berlin Club Commission

Clara Cullen
Music Venue Trust London
Martina Brunner
Vienna Club Commission
Anders Jørgensen
Købenshavns Frie Promotere
Yrla Karinsdotter
Martin Eyerer
Riverside Studios Berlin
Andreas Blom Stadsgårdsterminalen
Kollektivet Livet

Martin Kling
CCTV Sthlm, Ögon & Öron
Jonas Naddebo (C)
Lars Strömgren (MP)
Isabel Smedberg-Palmqvist (L)
Marcus Svanberg Obligado (V)

And more to be announced!

DAY TWO - A call to action: "Creating a Stockholm Club Commission?"

The second day of Stockholm After Dark is dedicated to gathering an action-oriented roundtable of active stakeholders, both from established nightlife actors and the equally vital and grassroots-driven underground scene. We listen to the pioneers that created Berlin Club Commission and other kindred organisations, and ask ourselves if we are up to the task of doing something similar.


We first listen to some of the people and organizations that have created club commissions before us. We then ask ourselves if we are ready to start something similar, and if so, how do we best go about it here in Stockholm.


10.00-11.00: WELCOME
Drop-in and morning mingle
11.00-12.00: INTRO SESSION
Founding stories and ‘tricks of the trade’ of Europe’s Club Commissions
12.00-13.00: PANEL #1
Questions & Answers, open session
13.00-14.00: LUNCH
14.00-16.00: ‘OPEN SPACE‘ SESSION
“Does Stockholm need a Club Commission of its own and if so how do we create one?
16.00-17.00: CLOSING SESSION
Next steps and wrap-up

The Why.

Our dear Stockholm is a truly beautiful city.
But let’s be honest; it also happens to be a boring and inhibited one. 

Not always or everywhere, but more often than not.

Nightlife and its economy are both overregulated and overcommercialized. The city after dark is dominated by a few profit-oriented big players; the only ones that can sustainably afford to comply with the suffocating rules and regulations created by historically more or less disconnected politicians and bureaucrats.

Long term, this is a recipe for place and not in the interest of anyone sincerely vested in Stockholm’s future as an attractive and engaging place to live in or visit. 

But there’s also hope. 
We can all see the immense potential both within ourselves, our local communities and in our city as whole.

So what exactly is blocking us from unleashing more of this potential?
Where have other cities – like Berlin – succeeded and in these certain regards flourished where we have so far failed?
And last but certainly not least, what can we do about it? 

These questions are what Stockholm After Dark is dedicated to explore over two days and we would love for you to be there as well. 


26 & 27 May


The conference is heavily subsidized and affordable thanks to the generous support by Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet).

However, in order to be able to properly plan we ask that you register to participate. The total capacity of the room will be limited to 60 people.


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