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05th Jul 2021

Opinion: Why is there so much negativity surrounding the pilot festival?

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Why you gotta be so cruel?

The country saw its first festival in 16 months over the weekend – but along with it was so much negativity.

People are very much entitled to their own opinions, and while the festival wasn’t the same as the pre-pandemic world, these negative comments about it seemed to outweigh the good coming from it.

And the funniest part about these comments was the majority of people making them weren’t even at it.

I managed to get a press pass to the pilot gig at Royal Hospital Kilmainham for what turned out to be much better than anticipated.

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There was real live music, the sun made an appearance and seeing people dancing and singing to their hearts content was a feeling so familiar and very much missed.

It didn’t matter that you had to stay in your pod of six or get antigen tested before heading in, those thoughts disappeared the second the first act came on stage.

When I say the thoughts disappeared, I don’t mean it literally. Everyone in the crowd stayed safe and to themselves the whole time, sticking with the guidelines set out.

Everyone from Lyra to Denise Chaila gave it their all on that stage (and looked so glam while doing it), and their energy radiated back to the crowd. Everyone who was there was genuinely so happy and appreciative just to experience something like this again, even if it wasn’t what we’re used to.

But along with all the good the 3,500 people there were experiencing, once videos and pictures hit social media, there was a wave of negativity from those who weren’t at it.

Across Twitter and Instagram, people were calling it “grim”, asking were they meant to be happy about it and saying it was a “sad sight.”

Many also added that they feared that this is what gigs will be like going forward, complaining that they didn’t want to go near one if it meant they had to abide by these rules.

Gigs will eventually be back to the way we once knew, but for now this is the best we can do. If standing in some railings means we get hear some really great live music again and have a taste of something pre-Covid, then I’ll always welcome it with open arms.

I was there and I can tell you this, the biggest disappointment from it was that out of the three different food trucks I went to, there wasn’t one veggie option. And if that’s the worst thing about it, it really says a lot.

It seemed that those who didn’t get to experience couldn’t find it in them to be happy about something opening up, that they were almost jealous they weren’t there, resorting to hateful comments.

The talent that was put on that stage was some of Ireland’s best, people sang at the top of their lungs just like we always did at gigs, for something not quite so normal, it truly felt like we got a piece of normality back.

Leaving that gig, I had a smile on my face, my voice was strained and my legs were so heavy, it was a feeling I had missed so much. To later see the internet tearing it down was so diminishing.

Of course it wasn’t the same, it couldn’t be the same, not yet anyway. But something was far better than nothing and it seems that people are quick to forget what a struggle the last year has been.