June 2010 fourteen Swedes wanted to do something different during their lunch break. They had decided to spend that time dancing to music while enjoying their lunch. This was the first Lunch Beat and it was held in a garage complex in the city of Stockholm.
Lunch Beat started to catch on in late 2010. More people wanted to take part of this exciting new way to enjoy their lunch break with music, dancing and food.
“Some will only dance and chooses not to devote time to eat during the event,” said Molly Ränge, founder of Lunch Beat.
The first event outside of Stockholm was held in Malmö 2011 in the spring. This had a snowball effect on the whole movement, seeing it receiving more exposure in the Swedish media, resulting in developing a strong establishment in Gothenburg.
“That we have a fantastic dance floor ready after three minutes when the doors have opened is one of our strongest success factors, and I think there are few other clubs that can outdo that feat,” said Molly.
It becomes clear that their main focus is the dancing, as the first rule of Lunch Beat is: “If It’s Your First Time at Lunch Beat, You Have To Dance.”
“Lunch Beat is an alcohol free environment to make it clear that it is an event which has its focus on dancing, not drinking beer, talking about work, which can be done every other day, lunches and evenings during the week if you wish,” said Molly.
Fast forwarding to 2012, Lunch Beat is now not just a happening around Sweden, it’s also having success around the world. Seeing it popup in Finland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal and even all the way across the pond in the US.
The Lunch Beat concept is very simple. It is held during the day, preferably around lunch time. The idea is to dance, enjoy your lunch and have fun. There is an entry fee, but that is to cover the rent for the place it is held at, the DJ and the food provided – as the event should be non-commercial and non-profit.
“If Lunch Beat had run a commercial, license-based business model, less people had dared to pick up the concept to test it, then we would lose our original impetus; to reach out to all, and instead end up being a less well-established business available for fewer,” said Molly.
It is however possible to arrange a semi-commercial Lunch Beat as this support The Branch Bank, which can provide funding for non-profit Lunch Beats.
Molly adds, “For semi-commercial partners that are interested in arranging Lunch Beat, eg companies, network meetings, conferences, etc, we work with a donation model called The Branch Bank – this is based on the possibility to arrange lunch Beat in exchange for a donation which is then used to support non-profit [Lunch Beat] startups across the world.”
To learn more about Lunch Beat, where it’s happening, how to start your own and lots more, visit: www.lunchbeat.org
NB: Originally written for OWT, but it was never published, until now.