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Swedes get down and groovy during lunch hour

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Swedes get down and groovy during lunch hour
11:53 CEST+02:00
Hundreds of restless Stockholmers gathered at Kulturhuset at midday on Tuesday for an hour's worth of grooving to work off those dull workday blues at Lunch Beat - the disco while you eat.

Molly Ränge, 27, is a concept developer in Stockholm and as her two great passions in life are work and dancing, she decided to try to combine the two.

Ränge held her first "Lunch Beat" in June 2010 in a small basement by Hötorget in central Stockholm, attracting a crowd of fourteen people.

“I had imagined a group of artsy 25-year-olds who're turned on by the fight club aesthetics to show up,” Ränge told The Local.

“But two hours after that beat I got the first text, asking when the next time was, and that's when I realized that this could be something.”

Ränge and her team have since held a Lunch Beat on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, and the old worn-down garage has been traded for Kulturhuset - the main culture house in the heart of Stockholm.

On warm days, guests are elevated to the rooftop of the massive glass-adorned building to enjoy the sweeping views of Stockholm to the tunes of talented DJs. But when The Local dropped by on this chilly autumn Tuesday, the event was held inside.

But the frosty weather didn't stop people from forming a line that would have put any club in the main nightlife area of Stureplan to shame.

Molly Ränge greeted guests at the door by taking a few snaps of the mass of enthusiastic guests, and then proceeded to inform the crowd that there would be no cover fee as they had run out of food.

Normally, to attend Lunch Beat people pay a fee of 60-100 kronor ($9-15), which includes a packed lunch, and since it's a non-profit concept, a share of the rent of the venue.

Two people who did manage to get a hold of pre-paid tickets to ensure a piece of the vegetarian sub and fruit, were Kristina Lindholm, 28, and Sanne Johansson, 25, both attending Lunch Beat for the first time.

“I'd heard about it earlier and it just seemed like a great break from the computer,” said Lindholm who by day is employed as Head of Marketing at Swedish technology company My Fuel Cell.

Sanne Johansson shared her friend's view that while this was her first time at Lunch Beat, it would probably not be the last.

“I think it's great with all new culture,” said Johansson, a real estate agent in Stockholm.

Johansson thought that one positive side in comparison with other more traditional night clubs, was the great mix of people in the crowd.

Another big difference with Lunch Beat, aside from the time of day, is that there's no alcohol involved. Ränge explained this is because “work and alcohol is not always a great combination,” but that didn't seem to bother any of the hundreds of dancing lunch guests on the packed floor.

Lunch Beat is not a company, it's a concept, and Ränge wants it to spread. After only a few events in the capital, Gothenburg and Malmö, hosted their first Lunch Beats.

During Tuesday's event, there was even live streaming from a Lunch Beat in Belgrade projected on a big screen on the wall.

“All that's required is that they follow our manifesto,” Ränge laughed.

The “Manifesto” is clearly stated with 10 rules on the website, and it includes a strong emphasis on actually dancing while there, as well as not talking about work. And of course, the events have to remain non-profit.

After an hour, elated and partially sweaty people started moving out of the everyday bubble, and dragged their feet back to their various work places.

Perhaps a concept like this, which allows a joyful break during ever darkening days, is just what Swedes need.

The next Lunch Beat in Stockholm is not yet finalised, but Alingsås will be hosting one on October 28th, and Norrköping is inviting hungry dancers on November 10th.

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