On Monday, I attended a function hosted by several government ministers, senior tourism professionals, event organizers and managers, and others who have genuine insight in this dark period we are going through.
While the official speeches for the media promised a wave of optimism, the conversation on the floor was universal – “Will the return to lockdown come before or after Christmas?” Many of these are the people who will advise the government on policy and while most were optimistic for business in the run up to the festive season, all were looking at a bleak New Year.
It’s been a difficult time. Two weeks ago, everyone waited in anticipation of the new regulations which would greet a full reopening of nightclubs and concert venues and hopefully provide a pathway for those of us involved in organizing upcoming events. In the end it was somewhat vague and unclear. However, the one effect of this lifting of restrictions has been an alarming rise in daily Covid cases in Ireland. Medical professionals are now predicting that numbers could rise as high as 6000 new cases a day. At that point the hospitals go into meltdown and the situation becomes critical. While not quite Armageddon it puts entertainment way down the current list of priorities. The past week has seen reports of the reintroduction of restrictions across Europe as Ireland finally opened the doors wide – leading many to query just how long those doors would remain open. Venue owners and managers, while publicly talking things up are privately admitting that they expect to be closed again by January.
Against a background of such uncertainty its with great sadness that we have had to make the decision to put the 36th annual Vibe on hold. Not Cancelled, just deferred, until a time when we can be certain that whatever venue we book will actually be open and functioning on the day, airlines will be able to fly freely, hotels able to accept guests without restrictions, and generally the environment is a much safer place than it is at present. At this moment, the only guarantee is that nothing is certain, and you have as much chance of bringing off an event as you have of winning the weekly lottery.
We have been working hard in the background to save 2022 but with so much out of our hands we have had to finally accept defeat. Therefore the 2022 Vibe for Philo will unfortunately not be happening on the 4th of January. Having staged the event on the same day for 35 years it is a decision that has not been easy to make, and which has been taken with a heavy heart and under a wave of sadness. However, the one certainty is that this is not the end, just a brief, unfortunate, and unavoidable interruption.
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