Stendhal Festival hosted one of the first concerts back in over 15 months in Northern Ireland, at the festival site at Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady this weekend.
250 invited guests set up in socially distant pods or tables of four to six people enjoyed sets from four bands – ROE, No Oil Paintings, Ports and Jealous Of The Birds.
The social distancing rules saw people watch the gigs from tables and individual audience pens in bubbles of four to six people.
In place also was a one way system, hand sanitizing stations, toilet cleaning, signage and social distancing marshals.
Stendhal Festival Director Ross Parkhill said the event felt like “hope realised”. Northern Ireland currently allows for outdoor events up to 500 people
“In terms of the numbers, we could have had more people but along with getting a gig on stage this was also about getting a trial run of our social distancing procedures before we welcome larger crowds in July and August. Safety of our visitors is always our number one priority at any edition of Stendhal but it will be our number one, two and three priorities this year.
“We are really pleased with how everything went in that sense, everyone who we spoke to at the end said they felt safe, felt that the covid measures were easy to follow and more importantly, said that it gave them a bit of confidence venturing back into crowds as we hopefully are seeing the back end of this terrible pandemic.”Stendhal Festival Director Ross Parkhill
Naomi Hamilton of Jealous of the BirdsThe show was an absolute joy and a testament to the fact that outdoor music and festivals can run safely and smoothly in this time of covid recovery.Naomi Hamilton of Jealous of the Birds
Stendhal Festival are on of the festivals on the island who have extremely active trying to get back since March 2020, and they intend to run two festival events this July and August, and are hopefully that government restructions will allow the July event to have 2500 people and August to have 5000 people.
Artists announced include Lyra, Beoga, Ciaran Lavery, Kíla, General Fiasco, ROE, Jealous of the birds, Joshua Burnside and Cormac Neeson.