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Irish industry “devastated” by unexpected restrictions

Audiences at indoor concerts must be fully seated from 22 October under new rules set out by the country’s government

By James Hanley on 19 Oct 2021

3Arena, Dublin, Ireland

3Arena, Dublin, Ireland

The Republic of Ireland’s concerts business has been dealt a blow after the government announced new restrictions on standing at indoor live events.

As part of the latest phase of public health measures in the country, the Irish government has today said that audiences for indoor live music, along with drama, live entertainment and sporting events, must be fully seated from 22 October, with standing permitted only at seats.

The move, which follows a rise in Covid-19 hospitalisations, will impact any standing-only events booked by promoters. Covid-19 digital certificates will also continue be required for indoor activities.

Shane Dunne, of Ireland’s biggest promoter MCD, says the development is “devastating” news for the domestic live music scene.

“There’s a bit of spin out there that there’s some good news here [but] make no mistake about it, today is a devastating day for the commercial live music business in Ireland,” he writes on Twitter.

“Make no mistake about it, today is a devastating day for the commercial live music business in Ireland”

The country’s National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended that masks and social distancing remain in place until February next year.

From 6 September, indoor events and mass gatherings in Ireland were able to take place at 60% of a venue’s capacity where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months).

The government had previously set out its intention to effectively end all restrictions from 22 October.

BD Festival, which was due to take place this weekend in Glendalough, Wicklow, had already postponed to next spring following comments by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.  A statement on its Facebook page said: “The lack of clarity and resultant uncertainty reinforces our decision to postpone the event until April 2022. BD Festival cannot operate with any hint of social distancing or public health measures. Unfortunately BD Festival was planned and tickets were sold on the basis that there would be no restrictions or any public health measures in place.

“This edition of BD Festival was two years in the making. To say that we are devastated and heartbroken is an understatement.”

Several promoters have told IQ that cancellations of existing shows are now imminent.


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