Carly Heath has been named as Bristol’s new Night-Time Economy Advisor, to lead the city’s entertainment and hospitality sector’s recovery from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking up the role at the start of April, Carly will champion Bristol’s clubs, pubs, restaurants and events venues and those who work in them, many of whom are struggling to rebuild after enforced closures due to lockdown.
With more than 20 years of experience, Carly has a track record of delivering successful projects in the cultural sector, including as the founder of Don’t Panic Bristol, a marketing agency that worked with city venues to promote their events, and as co-founder and trustee of community festival Brisfest. As well as working at the then-Colston Hall for a number of years, she has also worked on thousands of music events at all levels throughout the city and was part of the research team at University of West of England (UWE) studying the effects of the pandemic on the cultural industries.
Sitting in the City Office, the Night-Time Economy Advisor will work closely with the Mayor’s Office and city partners, and take over the chairing of the Bristol @ Night group, the independent advisory panel first set up to tackle the challenges facing the sector, to make sure the way Bristol functions at night is considered in decision making. The aim is to spearhead the recovery of the night-time economy in Bristol, offering support to organisations and allowing the wider local economy to rebuild.
Among Carly’s early tasks will be the development of a vision and roadmap to support Bristol’s world-famous cultural venues, bars, restaurants and clubs, increase dialogue and collaboration and identify and capitalise on the cultural, social and economic benefits that the night-time industries can offer the city.
Referring to her new roles, Carly Heath said: “I’m honoured to be appointed as Bristol’s Night-Time Economy Advisor. I have passionately worked in the industry my whole career and look forward to advocating Bristol’s beautifully rich after-dark culture. “This position is a unique opportunity to amplify the voice of our night-time economy and connect with businesses, city officials, developers, and the wider public. Promoting a vibrant nightlife is important for tourism, but also for the social fabric of the city as a space to congregate and share ideas. Independent restaurants, venues, bars and clubs are the beating heart of Bristol’s culture. I’m passionate about the businesses that operate from 6pm-6am and I look forward to helping guide Bristol’s night-time economy as we move on from the challenges of lockdown.”
Councillor Nicola Beech, cabinet member for Strategic Design and City Planning, said: “Having seen such a devastating impact across our city to businesses and individual talent alike, we are delighted that Carly has accepted the role. With her proven background and experience we look to quickly reverse the impact COVID has had on culture, music and the night-time economy, supporting a diverse and inclusive offer, and prioritising safety and rest alongside entertainment. With Carly acting as a champion for the sector and for the city we will rebuild Bristol’s reputation as a leading, internationally celebrated destination for both residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Marti Burgess, co-chair of the Bristol @ Night panel and owner of Lakota, said:
“It was clear from both her application and interview that Carly has a deep understanding of Bristol’s night time economy but also how it crosses over into the wider culture sector. She showed an infectious enthusiasm and passion for a sector which is so important to Bristol’s identity. I was also impressed with her awareness of the challenges the sector faces and ideas on how the city could support the night-time economy.”
Michael Kill, chief executive officer of Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said: “Bristol has established itself as one of the important cultural hubs of this country, producing some amazing experiences within venues, festivals and creative spaces. This amazing infrastructure has culminated in a pipeline of talent which will serve to further enhance the cultural status of the region. “We welcome the appointment of the nightlife advisor for Bristol and have been extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to take part in the selection process. We look forward to supporting the role both nationally and regionally.”