Trial concerts and fans at matches: what’s on and how will it work?

Outdoor music concerts, spectators at sports matches and nightclub event part of trials

The Government is to trial a number of outdoor events from next month, such as music concerts and sports matches with spectators, so what’s on, and how will it work?

First, what events are happening?

The outdoor pilot events will start with a James Vincent McMorrow concert for 500 people in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin city on June 10th.

On June 11th, Leinster will play Dragons in a rugby match at the RDS, in front of 1,200 spectators.

On the same day, Shamrock Rovers will play Finn Harps in a League of Ireland match at Tallaght Stadium, with 1,000 fans permitted to attend, while Cork City will face Cabinteely in front of a smaller crowd of 600 at Turners Cross.

Later next month, the Camogie National League Finals will take place in Croke Park on June 20th, with 3,000 spectators attending.

The first indoor event, an opera for 519 ticket holders, will be trialled at University Limerick Concert Hall on June 23rd.

Other sports matches will include a Shamrock Rovers v Drogheda game on June 25th, with 1,000 spectators allowed into Tallaght Stadium.

An outdoor music festival with 3,500 attendees is set for Phoenix Park in Dublin on Saturday, June 26th, which will be a fully seated event.

The Athletics Ireland National Championships will take place on the same day at Morton Stadium, in Santry, north Dublin, with 400 spectators.

There will also be a small indoor music concert at the INEC Club in Killarney, Co Kerry, with 200 attendees at the fully seated event.

Towards the end of June a race meeting in The Curragh will be able to accommodate 1,000 spectators on one of the events three days.

Events in July will include a trad music night in the Roisin Dubh pub in Galway, comedy in Vicar Street, and later in the month a nightclub event in Jam Park, Swords, north Dublin.

Why are these events going ahead?

The trial events are part of the Government’s latest phase of reopening society and the economy, as the Covid-19 vaccination rollout continues to gather pace.

The pilot events will allow venues to assess what arrangements and protective measures are needed, ahead of a further return of live entertainment and spectators at sports matches.

The trials will allow organisers to spot and solve teething problems early, such as how to avoid bottlenecks of people entering and leaving venues or stadiums.

How has this worked out elsewhere?

In April, the British government trialled a similar limited return to stadiums and music venues, following significant progress vaccinating its population.

The events included 4,000 fans attending the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in early April, with 21,000 spectators attending the final in May.

An indoor rave went ahead in Liverpool for 3,000 people, with attendees not required to socially distance or wear face coverings.

Before attending the events people had to take a PCR test, and also produce a negative lateral flow test result.

The British government later stated just 15 confirmed Covid-19 cases had been linked to the events, which were attended by almost 60,000 people in total.

How do I book tickets?

Venues will be in charge of allocating tickets for the trial music concerts and sports matches, but there is no word yet on exactly how that will work. Details about tickets, and what measures will be in place to guard against Covid-19 at the events, will be released in the coming days.

What about Electric Picnic in September?

Don’t buy your wellies and cheap camping chair just yet.

The organisers of the three-day music festival in Stradbally, Co Laois, have said they believe there is “no reason” it cannot go ahead this September.

However, with nearly 70,000 tickets sold, such a large event going ahead would heavily depend on the progress of the vaccination rollout, the feasibility of pulling it together at likely short notice, and the behaviour of the virus as the country continues to reopen.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times