Dublin city’s Whelan’s venue to reopen on August 10th
Capacity for shows to be cut from 450 to 88 as strict Covid rules introduced for performers
The venue has played host to many Irish and international stars over the years including Hozier. File photograph: Dara Munnis
Popular Dublin venue Whelan’s is to reopen on August 10th as a bar and for gigs. The date is in line with the planned move to phase 4 of the Government’s reopening plan as the country continues to grapple with coronavirus.
Whelan’s had been closed since March due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic but released a statement on Thursday confirming their comeback.
“There’s been a good reaction . . . bands are dying to play,” said booking manager Dave Allen.
As part of the changes to make the building Covid-compliant capacity in the venue is being reduced from 450 to 88 and all shows will be fully seated. Tickets will be sold in advance online by the table for two, four or six people who can order via table service.
Temperature checks will be done at entrances, lead contact information for a booking will be taken and disinfectant hand gel be placed throughout the building.
“Financially, it’s nothing compared to what we used to do . . . from March to June ticket sales were nonexistent,” Allen said.
“A lot of the international dates have been rearranged for next year and we’ve focused on making the venue Covid-safe. In the last few years live music and touring has become vital. A lot of bands rely on live gigs for 80 to 90 per cent of their income.”
Allen says this is mostly due to the very small royalties streaming services pay artists for their music.
In order to discourage excess movement by audience members, genres of music and the number of performers will be limited. A safe distance will be kept between the audience and the performers on stage. Most gigs will be acoustic and trad shows.
“We reckon a gig of this nature is safer than just going to the pub. People are more captivated during an acoustic show - they’re less likely to move around,” Allen told the Irish Times.
Additionally, bands must not share vocal mics which will be equipped with pop shields and these must be disinfected and left for three days after use.
A socially distanced dressing room will be available for bands while no more than three or four people will be allowed on stage at the one time.
Paddy Casey, Kila and Slow Moving Clouds will be among the first acts to tred on the newly spaced-out stages with more shows expected to be announced in the coming weeks.