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Pilot music festival gets go ahead to serve alcohol

Gavin James will headline the outdoor gigs at Royal Hospital Kilmainham early next month.

Image: Dux Croatorum/Shutterstock
Image: Dux Croatorum/Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

IRELAND’S FIRST MAJOR music festival in almost 16 months has been granted a liquor licence after a judge was given a detailed account of organisers’ measures to prevent the spread of covid-19 at the event.

The outdoor gigs are due to take place at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin, on Saturday, July 3 next.

It is a pilot music festival in the reopening of live entertainment which had been shut down due to the coronavirus.

The event has been organised by promoters MCD in association with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Office of Public Works, and Dublin City Council.

MCD applied to Dublin District Court today for an occasional licence to serve alcohol at the over-18s event which 3,500 people will be allowed to attend.

The event on the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art is expected to feature a line-up including Gavin James, Lyra, Denise Chaila, Sharon Shannon, Wyvern Lingo and Wild Youth, each performing full sets.

The gigs will be hosted by the 2 Johnnies.

Dorothy Collins BL, instructed by solicitor Ursula Courtney, for MCD, told Judge Marie Quirke the one-day event which will run from 2 pm to 10 pm, and organisers will have a range of precautionary measures in place.

Detailed evidence of the planning of the festival was given by covid compliance officer Margaret Connolly, event controller Eamonn Fox and Ashlee Dickinson who will be in charge of the bars.

They outlined how the event would be run in accordance with government guidelines and will encourage social distancing. Rapid antigen testing of ticket holders will take place at a nearby location, and all staff will be tested as well that day.

Once they are negative, they can enter the venue.

There will be two entrances, and signage telling them to wear masks, and hand sanitiser will be available at the bars and toilets.

Tickets will be sold in pods of four or six people.

Staff have undergone training to monitor the crowd and an isolation area will be set up; if anyone displays coronavirus symptoms, they will be given medical attention or sent home.

There will be up to 3,500 ticket holders on-site while prior to the pandemic the capacity at the venue was 23,000 people.

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Four sections

The promoters have asked people not to attend if they have covid symptoms; if people are ill, their tickets are fully refundable. Organisers have co-operated with gardai and the fire officer in the planning, the court heard.

The area will be split into four sections, each with its own bars and toilet areas.

Event organisers and gardai will liaise with local residents and will send them a newsletter detailing the arrangements. Security inside the venue has been doubled.

Concert goers will get an information booklet with the rules to ensure “total clarity”, Judge Quirke noted.

It follows James Vincent McMorrow’s pilot concert at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin on June 10, where 500 people were allowed to attend, but alcohol was not served at that show.

Granting the occasional licence, Judge Quirke noted it was the beginning of the resumption of music events. It was a special occasion and would be a wonderful celebration of music, she said, adding that she wished them good fortune.

In a statement, Minister for Arts Catherine Martin has said the festival “marks a significant step forward towards larger gigs in the coming months, subject to the public-health situation”.

Some 500 free tickets were set aside for frontline healthcare workers “as a gesture of thanks for their hard work and dedication during the pandemic”.

About the author:

Tom Tuite

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