Monday, July 19th 2021. A date that will go down in history for the UK as we begin to come out of one of the most testing periods of our time. Many of us were not alive during the great battles for independence all those years ago, and so the easing of COVID 19 restrictions is one of the most significant turning points in our history. It represents hope for the start of a new era.
Some do not like the ‘freedom day’ terminology; however, it is certainly a term that serves a purpose for hospitality. After a brutal 16 months, the sector finally opened its doors to the dancefloor last night as the clock struck 00:01.
Mandatory mask-wearing lifted. Social distancing removed. The heavy chains that have strangled the nightlife sector dislodged. The pandemic may not be over just yet, but there is finally a glistening ray of light beaming hope down on us all.
Partygoers flocked in number last night to shuffle away those freshly varnished wooden dance areas. DJs blew away the densely collected dust from the mighty sound systems that we have all missed so much.
00:01 was a sight to behold.
In London, there were tears of joy at EGG LDN. Circus frontman Yousef (the man who fought so hard in the name of hospitality) took to the stage, sending the super-club into its next musical chapter. An opening full of emotion.
Just a few miles away in Farringdon, Fabric embarked on their post-COVID journey with an intergalactic experience. ‘Never not making noise’ is the club’s motto, and last night it finally returned to its brand identity.
Venues all over the UK welcomed back an army of revellers, all desperate to reboot their livelihoods and offer a haven to create memories in the dance. Scenes of jubilation in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle as venue doors swung open. That bone-shaking sound of heavy bass sent vibrations through walls and streets once more.
First train home missed, ears tingling and sweat-drenched clothing. Raving returned.
Uncertainty remains around the pandemic and the strength of its transmission. In such times, we all need to remain positive and take back the time we have lost.
Michael Kill, NTIA CEO said:
“It was extremely emotional to see clubs and venues reopen, with people dancing and listening to music into the early hours of this morning and sharing their passion for these experiences across social media, particularly how much they have missed them.”
“Great to also hear from customers on how safe they feel in these spaces and understand how much the sector has worked hard to get to this point.”
“As an industry we have had to work extremely hard with limited time to deliver safe environments for our customers and staff.”
“The last 17 months have been very tough, many businesses have been lost, and the ones who have survived are now overburdened with debt and desperate to be able to remain open, but have many years of building back financial stability ahead.”
“In many respects relief has come from the end to uncertainty, but it’s hard to shake the nagging concern over a winter surge resulting in further restrictions being brought in from October, and nightclubs being the scapegoat.”
Life brings tears, smiles and memories. The tears dry, the smiles may fade, but the memories last forever.