On the weekend 1st May Liverpool hosted a weekend-long nightclub event, the first restriction-free event of its kind in the UK for a year. The party at the Bramley-Moore Dock warehouse, which was part of trials to see how venues can reopen, saw around 6,000 attend over the two days, starting Friday night.
#Advice | If you’re attending The First Dance tonight @CIRCUSmusic, remember to take your first PCR test TODAY. You Twill take the final test on Thursday. Your support means scientists will have the data they need to reopen the events sector safely 💃 🕺 #HereForCulture pic.twitter.com/bwAvhCACpI— Culture Liverpool (@CultureLPool) May 1, 2021
1. The trial event
Partygoers were not required to socially distance or wear face coverings, however they had to show a negative Covid-19 lateral flow test result before being allowed in and were urged to take an at-home PCR test on the day of the event as well as five days afterwards, so that any transmission of the virus is properly monitored. Vaccine passports were not part of the city’s pilot.
Did you attend The First Dance on Saturday?— Liverpool City Council (@lpoolcouncil) May 6, 2021
You must take your PCR test TODAY (Thursday 6th May) so the team at @LivUni can capture the data and our events sector can open once again. @CIRCUSmusic pic.twitter.com/vvKUA9FRxB
The event was part of a series of government trials called the Events Research Programme, which is researching how crowds can return safely to large public events. The series will be used to provide key scientific data into how events for a range of audiences could be permitted to safely reopen (starting no earlier than June 21st) as part of the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown. For the weekend nightclub pilot scientists will look at if and how crowds mixing and dancing indoors increases the risk of virus transmission. Claire McColgan, Director of Culture Liverpool, said, “This hasn’t been an easy process, and it’s particularly hard as the night time sector hasn’t been open for over a year. Anyone who attends will not only be helping to get clubs up and running in Liverpool, they will be pioneers for the whole country.”
2. Hope for the future
Matt Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, said, “The ERP is all about getting back to doing what we love doing, safely. We’re all craving a return to normality and although we know the Covid-19 case rate is currently low – it’s still there, and new variants and international travel are still a real cause for concern. Staying in lockdown is not an option, so we need to understand what the best and safest way of reopening key events is.” He added that Liverpool should feel “an enormous sense of pride” that it is taking a national lead in the research.
Night one with @CIRCUSmusic at Bramley Moore-Dock continues, with @yousefcircus giving event goers a night to remember with a familiar favourite to many.🎶— Liverpool City Council (@lpoolcouncil) April 30, 2021
FAQs: https://t.co/DASbaJR8cp#Liverpool pic.twitter.com/vNxMZPs5FC
The First Dance club nights were hosted by club night Circus, who have been leading house and techno music events for 18 years. Speaking about the pilot, the event’s producer Sam Newson described it as “vital” after the events industry had been “decimated” over the last year. “For the last 12 months, it has been a disaster. People have moved on, I’ve got colleagues who have lost houses, it has been incredibly hard and so to try and get this back up and running is incredibly important”, he said, adding “…it is very emotional. Any event is special but with the amount of work that has gone into this and to be the first in the country in over 12 months, it is very special.”