Two jabs and it's time to party: what my first post-lockdown gig was like
About 800 people packed into the Roadmender last night for the first gig since lockdown
When I heard that Fontaines D.C. were to play the Roadmender as a special showcase event to support smaller music venues across the UK, I could not believe my luck.
I'd already got tickets to one of their gigs but the concert had been rescheduled and I was desperate to see them live.
The scheme allowing the return to the venue relies on people being double jabbed or showing a negative Covid test to allow entry.
Could anyone cheat the system, I wondered as I queued? What if one person out of the 800 people has Covid without knowing it? Am I attending what will become a notorious super-spreader event that people will in the future will shake their heads and say: 'Well, what did you expect?'
Time will tell.
Getting the NHS app was a reasonable faff. Finding your NHS number, going through several screens asking for information. Once loaded however, the mobile-based QR code passport was proof. (I'm not sure what you would do if you lost or broke your phone or were out of charge just at that crucial time - be very disappointed presumably).
The well-organised venue staff diligently checked tickets and apps ensuring everyone had fulfilled the correct entry requirements.
Once inside the bar area and concert hall were as before. An NHS banner urging people to 'Be Kind', some people choosing to wear face coverings and members of staff behind screens or with masks were the only changes from the 'BC' (Before Covid) times.
Being in close contact on a blistering summer's evening in a room with so many people felt normal quite quickly. As if the past 15 months had been a bad dream.
Not that guards were totally down.
The word aerosol passed through my mind.
Was it dry ice, clouds of sweat, or Covid in aerosol form wafting around the packed hall? It must be safe or why else would people be here? I did a test to show I was Covid-free before I came. Was anyone else feeling dodgy and ignored it?
"Life is full of risks," I said to my husband as I went to my car parked outside our house. As I went to go to the driver's door I was looking at him and nearly walked into the path of a passing Merc.
We either sit at home and never trust the vaccine, never trust the testing routines, never trust the risk assessments and never dare venture out again or, when we do finally emerge from our bubbles, the venues may no longer be there.
I love live music. No-one is forcing us to go out. This is a choice for us. As long as the musicians, technicians, roadies, and venue staff are equally protected then we can and should go out if we want to.