Last night, 10,000 people attended a gig in Falls Park, Belfast as part of Féile an Phobail.
The Diversionary Féile Music Night featured DJs Paul Van Dyk and Judge Jules and it looked like this:
Swedish House Mafia and the Féile crowd is loving it! pic.twitter.com/xNHToyGYwV— Féile an Phobail (@FeileBelfast) August 8, 2021
As you can see, there was no social distancing required.
Attendees had to show proof of double vaccination, proof of a negative lateral flow test, proof of COVID antibodies / positive PCR test. (Source).
By contrast the live events industry in the Republic Of Ireland down south has no roadmap for getting back to normality, just a vague promise to get one by the end of August.
All we are allowed to do is have events with:
200 people outdoors only with social distancing in place.
There is no plans to allow events of greater capacity to take place with PCR testing, Lateral Flow or Vaccination Certs as part of a plan.
There is no indication of when social distancing is to be scrapped.
There is no information about the capacity of live events increasing indoor or outdoor.
No information or date for when indoor gigs can return.
Oh, Dancing is still banned by the way.
There was another very disappointing missive from the government last Friday which amounted to the promise of a roadmap “by the end of August,” that will include guidelines for live events along with offices and other indoor activities.
We are being lumped in with other sectors who have already reopened in some capacity.
The government’s incompetence in addressing the live sector continues.
That press release makes a point of mentioning “consumption of alcohol which reduces inhibitions,” as a factor in public health guidelines but believe it or not, “”consumption of alcohol” is a part of normal life and are we not working towards that?
We are getting to the point of a near fully-vaccinated population (75 percent and counting) – so why is it still not safe enough to reopen the live events industry?
We’ve been asking since LAST SUMMER.
Give Us The Night and Electric Picnic’s letters to the government last week, suggested dates for the removal of restrictions.
It is not acceptable that we have to wait still.
We need details not promises
We don’t need more promises, we need details so promoters, bands, artists, clubs, venues etc can make plans to put on gigs.
I have a gig with God Knows, Denise Chaila, Bantum and more that we moved from March 2020 and I still don’t know when I can put it back on sale properly, though we have it marked for November. When am I going to know? That’s just one example.
What about all the tours for October and November that have sold tickets this year? We need to know when we can get back to normal.
Why, if we have no surpassed the UK in its vaccination programme rollout, are we abundantly cautious with the reopening of live music? It makes no sense any more. We cannot wait.
If you need proof that the government don’t care much about the livelihoods and mental health of the people working in the live music and events industry, they let 24,000 people into Croke Park yesterday. The GAA are looked after as they are considered a voting bloc but those in the live industry are voters too.
This, in the same week they hastily clarified that live music is actually allowed in outdoor hospitality settings (hotels, restaurants and pubs) because Leo Varadkar attended Katherine Zappone’s outdoor shindig in the Merrion.
Those changes came about because the politicians were directly affected.
You couldn’t make it up, but this government has been making it up for a long time and now it’s a mess.
We have not been all in this together for a very long time clearly.
While 10,000 people can party in Belfast, us in the Republic Of Ireland are still waiting for a glimmer of hope from the government.
Give us some hope.
Let us do our jobs now.
Don’t lump us in into a new roadmap for every sector, we’ve waited over 500 days, and every day is another day wasted.
We need details before the end of August so we can plan our work, and lives.