Culture Night – a Lund invention
Culture Night in Lund is an event held by the residents of Lund for the residents of Lund.
Lund’s Cultural and Leisure Services Department are amongst the coordinators but Culture Night is arranged mainly by the residents of Lund themselves. Some eighty associations, cultural operators and private individuals contribute to the extensive range and great diversity of the event. The University is also a major contributor.
Culture Night traditionally takes place on the third Saturday in September each year attracting some 50 000 people who visit and consume the culture being offered. Lund is filled with activities from morning until late into the night.
The program offers between 300 and 400 activities. Families, students, and everyone else are given the opportunity to experience everything from music, dance, theatre, yoga, film, science shows, crafts, exhibitions and guided tours to grilled sausages…
Culture Night was held for the first time in 1985. It was then quite unique, however, since then, many other municipalities, including some from abroad, have also followed suit.
How did it start?
Culture Group – an informal collaborative group of officials – had been planning cultural activities since the early 1980s. When Gösta John Bredberg (then president of the Music and theatre board in Lund) came up with the idea of a Culture Night, there was already an experienced planning group at hand. The inspiration came from two sport clubs, bandy and orienteering, that utilized all hours of the day for their events. Bredberg reasoned that if you can hold sporting events at night you could just as well experience culture at night. Not only said but done, Culture Night in Lund was born and the year was 1985.
During the first Culture Night, some 20 events were held largely between the hours of 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Already during the second year the number of events had increased to 80. Overall, the residents of Lund were enthusiastic and took to the idea. However, after a while, some people thought the cooking fumes were too much and it was decided that those who were selling food should do so in combination with some type of cultural activity.
By the tenth year, Culture Night had increased to 300 events in 85 locations with some continuing into the morning. A few years later, following poor weather and a low budget, there was a decline in interest, with some even prophesising the end of Culture Night. However, the Council of Lund eventually realized that Culture Night had to cost a little money and that it was alright to serve food again, thus a happy balance was struck.
Culture Night had now found its true form and it continues to attract the residents of Lund to consume culture in masses on the third Saturday in September. Each year.