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Fest life Revellers celebrate as live music returns with Pilot festival in Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Sheer delight at Royal Hospital Kilmainham as revellers queue and stay in their pods to finally enjoy live music at a festive gig

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At the Pilot gig: Rachel Tierney, Laoise Gordon and Ailbhe Doolan

At the Pilot gig: Rachel Tierney, Laoise Gordon and Ailbhe Doolan

At the Pilot gig were Katie Rutter Alicia Murphy, Rebecca Carey, Emma Haddock and Naomi Cullen

At the Pilot gig were Katie Rutter Alicia Murphy, Rebecca Carey, Emma Haddock and Naomi Cullen

Amy Louise Lynch, Anna O’Reilly and Aisling
Williams enjoy the live gig.

Amy Louise Lynch, Anna O’Reilly and Aisling Williams enjoy the live gig.

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At the Pilot gig: Rachel Tierney, Laoise Gordon and Ailbhe Doolan

The sun burst through the clouds just as Ireland's first music festival in almost 16 months got underway in Dublin's Royal Hospital Kilmainham yesterday.

The 3,500 music fans were already tested for signs of Covid as they made to the site where they were assigned their pods of six people each.

At the site they were stopped at barrier controls where they had to have their tickets as well as confirmation of their negative test results and photo ID.

There were few complaints from anybody the Sunday World spoke to, despite the raft of rules which may become the new normal at concerts. For many they were just enjoying the novelty of getting out and hearing live music for the first time in many months.

Daniel McCrae from Dublin said it was his first gig in "two plus years."

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Magda Tator, Ivan Varian, Daniel McCrae and Guro McCrea at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

Magda Tator, Ivan Varian, Daniel McCrae and Guro McCrea at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

Magda Tator, Ivan Varian, Daniel McCrae and Guro McCrea at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

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Our man Neil Fetherstonhaugh gets the OK for the big gig.

Our man Neil Fetherstonhaugh gets the OK for the big gig.

Our man Neil Fetherstonhaugh gets the OK for the big gig.

"It's amazing to be here, honestly, I didn't know the line-up that well. I didn't really know who was going to be playing, but as soon as I heard a gig was happening I got my friends together because I had to be here.

"We grabbed the bit of freedom, the kids are at home, and it's heaven," he said.

His friend Ivan Varian from Dalkey said he was happy to "volunteer to be a guinea pig".

He said: "If what we do today means other people can go to gigs in the next few months, then fantastic, I'll happily be a guinea pig.

"Whatever it takes, vaccine trials or gig trials or anything like that, then I'm all for it, because I want us to progress and get out of this. There's nothing worse than being stuck at home and not being let do anything.

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Dublin finally gets a live gig as the crowd enjoyed the show.

Dublin finally gets a live gig as the crowd enjoyed the show.

Dublin finally gets a live gig as the crowd enjoyed the show.

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"We're all in this together," Daniel added, "let's do whatever it takes to make special moments like this happen, even if it means masks and tests. If it means a bit of hard work and preparation, then so be it."

Magda Tator from Brazil has been living here for 15 years, so she considers herself Irish and was "delighted to be here".

"It's brilliant to see everyone out and enjoying a gig again," she said.

"I don't mind getting tested and having to stay in a pod. I think it's important to follow the guidelines until we get out of this situation, so I'm very happy to do it."

Daniel's wife, Guro McCrea, had done a bit of research before she came to the gig.

"And you know what, it's actually faster queuing this time around than it has been at most gigs in the past. It's been really seamless, so efficient. I did a lot of research coming up to this, so I know that it's limited when they serve alcohol. It's only from 5pm until 9.15 so I think it's going to be pretty civilised.

"And I actually brought extra clothes because usually when you go to gigs you get warm because you're surrounded by a lot of people. This time around, because we're going to be in our pod, it's not going to be as warm, so I brought extra layers."

Earlier, at the testing centre, in two giant marquees in Collins Barracks, there was a steady stream of people to be tested for the gig a 15-minute walk away.

Maebh Foley from Kildare was carrying out antigen testing for Code Blue.

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Maeibh Foley tests Elaine Owens for the concert.

Maeibh Foley tests Elaine Owens for the concert.

Maeibh Foley tests Elaine Owens for the concert.

"It's been brilliant today," Maebh said. "Everyone is coming in on time and there are no queues, I think it's working really well. And the weather has held up as well, which is brilliant because nobody wants to stand out in the rain."

Kevin O'Brien, general manager of Code Blue, said only one persons tested positive and was not allowed go to the gig.

Back at the venue and Bray band Wyvern Lingo took to the stage after MCs the 2 Johnnies opened proceedings.

Everyone apparent be obeying the rules by wearing masks outside the pods and were maintain social distancing.

The joy and delight among the members of Wyvern Lingo was clearly evident as they stood in the sunshine and declared: "It is such a pleasure to be here. Opening the stage to the first festival the country has seen in a year and a half is incredible."

The feeling was mutual among fans including Eimear Witter from Santry in Dublin who was just arriving with a large group of cousins and her sisters.

It's very exciting," said Eimear. "It's great to be back.

"It's been a long time coming," added Megan.

"It was March a year ago when we last went to a gig in the weeks leading up to the first lock down, so we don't mind having to do all the testing," she added.

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