Disco Lunch in Sweden

Who doesn’t love a little dancing and dining? Well, according to a recent article at Slate.com, the Swedish are all over it.

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When it comes to lunch breaks, the laissez-faire French like to take two hours out of their workday to savor their food in the company of colleagues while workaholic Americans prefer dining solo in front of their computers. Well, in Sweden we have a whole other vibe going. Here, more and more workers are foregoing both leisurely lunches and “al-desko” dining in favor of daytime raves.

It started in the fall of 2010 when 14 friends decided to dance their lunch breaks away in their office garage. They called their gathering “Lunch Beat.” As rumors about this literally underground movement spread, more and more people joined in. Today, Lunch Beat events are being arranged by a core group of organizers at venues around Sweden, attracting up to 600 people each time, and copycat clubs are popping up across Europe. Lunch Beat events can be arranged by any individual, group or company anywhere in the world as long as the organizers respect the founders’ Manifesto, a list of 10 rules specifying, for instance, that Lunch Beat discos must be nonprofit events, take place at lunch time, have 60-minute long DJ sets, and include a takeaway meal. In 2011, “lunch disco” was officially recognized as a new word by the Swedish Language Council.

The basic idea behind Lunch Beat is that workers take an hour out in the middle of the day to let loose in the company of fellow dance-enthusiasts. The founders have dubbed it “your week’s most important business lunch” and say that they want to create a sense of community among participants. But the discos are not meant to be crass networking opportunities. After all, the fourth rule of the manifesto is “You don’t talk about your job at Lunch Beat.” Instead, the aim is to embody “playfulness, participation and community,” the founders write. It’s intended almost to be a way of forgetting about your job, so you can feel energized and inspired when you get back to your desk.

With its strobe lights, smoke machines, funky wall projections, pounding techno music, and crowded dance floor filled with fist-pumping, sweat-dripping revelers, Lunch Beat recreates the atmosphere of nightclubs. Organizers look for spaces where there are not a lot of spectators or passers by, because they want dancers, not gawkers. The party starts promptly at noon and ends at 1 p.m. sharp. And while a sandwich, fruit, and water are included in the ticket price, drugs and alcohol are strictly forbidden. Read the complete article here.

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