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Live music returns Lucky attendees says Kilmainham's pilot music festival 'like reality returning'

We’re actually going to a concert’

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Amy Louise Lynch, Anna O'Reilly and Aisling Williams at The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Amy Louise Lynch, Anna O'Reilly and Aisling Williams at The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Amy Louise Lynch, Anna O'Reilly and Aisling Williams at The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Antigen testing, social distancing pods and contact tracing are all components of Ireland’s very first pilot music festival taking place in Dublin today with attendees describing the event “like reality returning”.

The sun is shining down in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham as 3,500 people gather to hear acts such as Gavin James, Wild Youth, Denise Chaila, Sharon Shannon, Wyvern Lingo and Lyra once again take to the stage after a long 15 months.

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Edwin Cummins and his dog 'Whitney Houston' pictured at Kilmainham as the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend.
Photo by Steve Humphreys
2nd July 2021.

Edwin Cummins and his dog 'Whitney Houston' pictured at Kilmainham as the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

Sarah Dungan has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Aoife Roche before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Sarah Dungan has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Aoife Roche before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Reporter Neil Fetherson taks a covid antigen test from tester Georgie Banim before the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Reporter Neil Fetherson taks a covid antigen test from tester Georgie Banim before the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Journalist Ciara O'Loughlin at the set up of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few bands performing this weekend at Kilmainham.
Photo by Steve Humphreys
2nd July 2021.

Journalist Ciara O'Loughlin at the set up of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few bands performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

Rachel Tierney, Laoise Gordon and Ailbhe Doolan at The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Rachel Tierney, Laoise Gordon and Ailbhe Doolan at The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Amy Louise Lynch, Anna O'Reilly and Aisling Williams at The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Amy Louise Lynch, Anna O'Reilly and Aisling Williams at The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

The set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham.
Photo by Steve Humphreys
2nd July 2021.

The set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey from MCD pictured at the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham.
Photo by Steve Humphreys
2nd July 2021.

Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey from MCD pictured at the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

The set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham.
Photo by Steve Humphreys
2nd July 2021.

The set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

The Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

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Edwin Cummins and his dog 'Whitney Houston' pictured at Kilmainham as the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

Unlike festivals in the pre-Covid world, there is strict social distancing in place as pods of groups of four and six are separated by metal barriers.

Each festivalgoer has to receive a negative antigen test result before gaining entry to the gig, which took place in Collins Barracks yesterday and today.

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Pat Egan, Eoin Geoghan, Sean Egan, Ciara Egan, Liam Egan and Anne Egan enjoying Ireland's first pilot festival in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

Pat Egan, Eoin Geoghan, Sean Egan, Ciara Egan, Liam Egan and Anne Egan enjoying Ireland's first pilot festival in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

Pat Egan, Eoin Geoghan, Sean Egan, Ciara Egan, Liam Egan and Anne Egan enjoying Ireland's first pilot festival in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

The Egan family, from Kingswood in Dublin, couldn’t believe they were lucky enough to nab tickets for the much sought-after festival.

"We are so excited, it has been so long since the last gig,” Anne Egan says as she and her family enjoy a pre-concert drink.

Her sons Sean and Liam say they are delighted to be witnessing live music again as the last time they did was at Electric Picnic in 2019.

"It seems to be really well done,” Ciara Egan says. “We know [antigen testing] is not as perfect as getting full proper Covid testing, like we can’t just use that as giving a green light for every single thing that everyone wants to do under the sun, but it’s like a filter through.”

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Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey from MCD pictured at the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham.
Photo by Steve Humphreys
2nd July 2021.

Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey from MCD pictured at the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey from MCD pictured at the set up continues of Irelands first big music festival featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

“It’s like reality returning,” says Pat Egan. “Hopefully, the Health Minister takes into account everyone going for the antigen testing and it feeds into the bigger picture of the country for everybody and not just the selected that are here today.”

The first act, Wyvern Lingo, took to the stage today at 3.30pm. Unlike the James Vincent McMorrow pilot gig, alcohol is being sold at today’s festival, however, not until 5pm, with quite a small turn-out of festival-goers before this time.

The crowd is broken up into quadrants and each quadrant has a bar, a food stall and toilets. Attendees have to wear a face mask when travelling through the arena but can take them off once they’re in their pod.

Best-friends Ciara Fitzmaurice, from Four Roads in Roscommon, and Karen Ridge, from Ballygar in Galway, are elated to not only enjoy the live music but to be reunited with one another after a long year apart.

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Sarah Dungan has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Aoife Roche before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Sarah Dungan has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Aoife Roche before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Sarah Dungan has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Aoife Roche before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

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"It’s great, we are so happy to be reunited,” says Ciara. “It’s so cool. It’s a bit weird being in here and being in these pods but we’re just so happy to be out and be here. We are dying to have a dance,” says Karen.

Healthcare workers Angela Sullivan, from Galway, and Claire Campbell, from Ballyshannon in Donegal, say it’s emotional to be back at a gig after a hard year and a half of looking after patients.

“We are very excited, we are so excited to be back doing anything, like we’re actually going to a concert,” says Angela.

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Elaine Owens (21) from Ceilbridge has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Maedbh Foley before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital  . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Elaine Owens (21) from Ceilbridge has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Maedbh Foley before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Elaine Owens (21) from Ceilbridge has a Covid antigen test taken by tester Maedbh Foley before attending the Pilot music Festival in the Royal Hospital . Picture; Gerry Mooney

“It wouldn’t be my main type of music but I don’t care,” says Claire. “But I was just so happy to be going, so we’re delighted! We are so excited to listen to a bit of music and sit down and have a drink.”

The festival is one in a series of pilot events that are being provided for by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. It aims to test the logistics of using antigen testing and other measures such as social distancing and contact tracing at a larger festival.

It is the first event of its kind that will test the logistics of antigen testing.

Yesterday, owner and founder of MCD Denis Desmond told Independent.ie that there’s an “element of hassle” of using antigen tests for the event.

"People are getting tested today and tomorrow so you have to get tested before you gain entry to the show,” he said.

"There’s an element of hassle to it but it needs to be done and the positive to it is you get tested and your fine.”

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The set up of Irelands first big music festival in Covid-era featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

The set up of Irelands first big music festival in Covid-era featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

The set up of Irelands first big music festival in Covid-era featuring Gavin James and Lyra to name a few band performing this weekend at Kilmainham. Photo by Steve Humphreys 2nd July 2021.

He added: “It’s emotional, it’s been a very long time. The artists are looking forward to getting back to doing what they do best which is getting on stage and putting on good performances.

"Obviously, we were the first to close as an industry, and sadly we will be the last to open. But, this is the first step and it’s a positive move.

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