Pilot nightclub event takes place in Dublin

Total of 450 tickets sold for 60% capacity gig at Button Factory in Temple Bar

The Button Factory on Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin ahead of the pilot nightclub event. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A pilot nightclub event took place in Dublin on Thursday night, the first time a nightclub has opened its doors to the public since March 2020.

The Button Factory in Dublin's Temple Bar hosted the event with an ensemble cast featuring DJs Cailín, R.Kitt, Sunil Sharpe, DART, Kelly Anne Byrne, Sim Simma, Breen, Cáit and Sam Greenwood.

All 450 tickets for the event, which had a 60 per cent capacity, sold out within minutes of going on sale.

There were significant restrictions on those attending. All attendees had to produce a Digital Covid Cert and a negative antigen test results. Attendees were required to attend a test centre close to the Button Factory on Thursday to undertake an antigen test.


Full contact details of those attending were required for contact tracing.

Minister for Culture Catherine Martin said the pilot event was an important recognition of the value put on club culture and its value to society.

She said it would most likely be the “most important pilot event” in advance of the full opening up of society on October 22nd as social distancing would not be available.

“This is the most complex of the pilot events. It is really important. We want this industry up and running again,” she said.

Ms Martin said she wanted nightclubs to be able to open up to full capacity on October 22nd.

It was hoped the event would help pilot the logistics of event ticketing, venue admittance, the impact of antigen testing and ventilation to ensure a safe and sustainable reopening of the nightclub sector on October 22nd.

She said the demand for antigen testing came from the venue operators themselves and not from her department.

When asked if antigen testing would be a regular feature of nightclubs in the future, she said her expert advisory group on antigen would advise on that.

"We don't see it as a significant cost elsewhere in Europe, " he said.

DJ Dart said the night was a long time in coming and many of his fellow DJs had been playing in England where the clubs have been back for several months.

“It’s good to be finally home and playing in Dublin. It’s been a long time coming. Dublin is one of the best cities for clubbing in Europe and I’m glad it is finally reopening slowly,” he said.

Promoter Will Rolfe said the reopening was “part of a process” leading on to people such as him being able to make a living again.

“This is part of our job, part of our process. We are not here as punters, we are here as professionals. Getting to this point has been a long time coming,” he said.

“Hopefully it will be a stepping stone for the 22nd. It’s been two years and something like this could have dragged on a lot longer.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times