- 06 Jun 20
The event is part of a wave of COVID-compliant musical gatherings.
On Saturday, May 30, 40 electronic music fans congregated in the woods near Nottingham for the UK’s first socially-distanced rave.
Organised by the UK collective Nitty, the event was called “Forest Motive.” On the lineup were four DJs, all specialising in house music: Latmun, Ben Sterling, Dafs, and SHO.
Attendees observed COVID-19 safety precautions as they danced. According to NME, organisers distributed KN95 face masks and hand sanitiser while protecting performers by swabbing their DJ equipment between sets.
To allow for two metres of social distance, Nitty capped their guest list at 40, despite receiving interest from more than 750 fans.
SHO told Hot Press that he was encouraged by how seriously Nitty took social distancing regulations. "It goes to show we can take small steps to get back to some kind of normality," he said.
Forest Motive was part of a larger project: a documentary film exploring socially-distanced events in the UK and the effect of the quarantine on the hospitality industry more generally.
The rave was also the first in a series of similar events, and Nitty promoters told Metro.co.uk that they see the British dance scene as unlikely to return to normal for some time.
With venues suffering everywhere, Nitty are not the only group to imagine new ways to come together around music.
A COVID-complaint venue called “Lockdown Town” is set to launch in London this autumn. Backed by One Night Records, the pop-up will run in an undisclosed location near London Bridge from October 2 through October 31.
Venues in the Irish scene have also put on creative events. Dolan’s Warehouse, Cooper Developments and Limerick City & County Council have announced a series called “Dolan’s Presents Live at the Drive-In.”
The first of these drive-in gigs will take place in Limerick’s Greenpark on July 24, featuring singer-songwriter Gavin James as its headliner. Later this summer, the initiative plans to bring drive-in concerts to Cork, Kilkenny and Waterford.
But hope may be on the horizon for Ireland’s music industry. Today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced an accelerated roadmap to reopen Ireland. Under the new plan, the fourth and final stage of COVID restrictions will begin on July 20.
A new public information campaign is expected to be rolled out over the coming days – with many in the Irish music industry hoping that concerts will be able to return to normal by autumn.