A DJ and business owner said he and his colleagues were eager to welcome people to the dance floor tonight, but warned that a cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the industry.
arvan Rigby runs Star DJs, a company that runs a group of DJs and entertainers who work mainly in the greater Dublin area.
On that night of 2019, Mr Rigby said his agency had at least 40 reservations at venues across Dublin, however, tonight as nightclubs reopen for the first time in over a year and a half , Star DJs only covers eight events.
The dramatic drop in commerce overnight has been a bitter pill for all companies involved to swallow, but it has been a particularly long way back for the live events industry, according to Rigby.
The pressure felt by many was compounded this week, he said, by the late announcement of official guidelines for pubs, late bars and nightclubs.
Guidelines announced by the government and FÃ¡ilte Ireland allow bars and nightclubs to reopen late, up to 1,500 people can stand or dance at live music events and patrons can order drinks from the bar.
Mr Rigby said that while they hope today may mark a new dawn for the industry, business owners and performers are still unsure how some of these guidelines apply.
â€œOn the Bord FÃ¡ilte page on indoor hospitality, it says that shows are allowed but must be seated. So that covers all of that, but if you’re 40 and have a DJ or a band, is it a live event now and therefore are you allowed to have 1,500 people dancing at your party?
â€œSo weddings are covered, nightclubs are covered, but nothing is said about functions, social entertainment or parties. We have booked functions and events and people are treating it as usual but the fact that there was nothing mentioned someone might turn around tomorrow morning and say no you can’t do it â€ , did he declare.
Mr Rigby argued that further ambiguity exists in the definition between nightclubs, later bars and live entertainment venues and this is an area that urgently needs to be clarified.
â€œI was talking to late venues and their question is, are they a nightclub or not, how do you define a nightclub? Does a nightclub have to have a dance floor, does it have to have a late license? If you have a late bar with a dance floor, are you now a nightclub?
â€œIf you’re a pub and there is a band playing you have to be seated, but if you have live shows it means you can let people dance because it’s now a live event. So if your 40th birthday turns into a live event, people can stand up, which is a lot different than if it was held in a restaurant with 10 people seated around a table, â€he said. he adds.
Mr Rigby said that because they are a third party, the DJs will play if a venue reserves them, but the lack of clarity is impacting the potential for future concerts.
He said he was receiving site cancellations until yesterday because FÃ¡ilte Ireland’s guidelines were only released on the eve of the reopening.
This particularly affects Christmas bookings as offices and party venues don’t know what type of party can be organized, he explained.
â€œOverall we’re relatively happy, we know it’s going to take a long time to fully get back on track and there are still a lot of question marks around Christmas time. People don’t know if they are planning a Christmas party, is it a party, is it a function, is it a live event, or is it a social gathering?
â€œThere is still uncertainty among people in the party industry and also among consumers because small businesses do not know what type of events they are allowed to book,â€ he said. .
â€œThere’s nothing quite like playing in front of a crowd,â€ and that connection has been on hold since March 2020, according to Rigby. With him and others like him preparing to dust off the bridges tonight, he said this fact alone is worth celebrating, but added that more support is needed to protect the sector in the future. .
â€œWe have reservations tonight that are moving forward with optimism. Most people in the industry think it will be March of next year before things get back to normal, so we start this weekend with cautious optimism that things will pick up and we can rebuild. the company, â€he said.