As Sunday night turned into Monday morning, インクルード ロンドン nightclub Fabric threw open its doors for a night of clubbing unlike any seen at the venue since March 2020.
Billed as “an immersive world of artistry, expressiveness and innovations”, the underground electronic music night at the Farringdon club was attended by hundreds of young ravers. At venues across England, at least a dozen similar “freedom day” club nights, leading to scenes of stuffed clubs and scores of people queueing outside venue.
“I keep thinking ‘is this illegal?’”, said Jake Jeffery, 24, a recent film and TV graduate from the University of Nottingham.
“This is our first time inside a club in ages. You could have a night out sat down with a DJ but indoors, proper clubbing, it feels really strange.”
Jake was one of many who said he “wasn’t afraid” of getting Covid or passing it on to others. But Covid was a concern for some.
“It’s a gamble,” said Josh Lee, a 25-year-old UCL student from Singapore, attending the event. Lee had twice tested negative for Covid-19 the day before. But leaning over the staffed “dedicated water bar”, he expressed anxiety about “the hygiene” of the glasses of water being left out for people to take.
“The government’s spent so much money on propping up the economy that they can’t afford for nightclubs and hospitality to be closed any longer," 彼は言った.
If cases did rise over the next few weeks, Lee said, it would be “unfair” to place too much blame at the clubs’ doors (“everyone shut their mouth about Covid during the Euros”) and that while he would be taking precautions he expected most would not be. “If the government gives it the green light, then the majority of people will take that as permission to do what they want," 彼は言った.
At no point were clubbers asked to present proof that they had tested negative and vaccination passports were not required. Government guidance encourages use of the NHS contact app but it will not be a legal requirement, and the same goes for showing proof of being vaccinated.
Those queueing were told that if they could produce evidence of a negative Covid test taken in the last 48 hours then they were eligible for the “VIP queue” 50 metres up the street. Would the test need to be PCR or would a lateral flow suffice? No one was quite sure. To the obvious irritation of many, being fully vaccinated would not grant you the same privilege.
“We had in the region of 900 there last night … Operators feel in an impossible position trying to implement and communicate effectively. それにもかかわらず, we’re very pleased with how this early event went as a prequel to our big reopening this weekend.
しかしながら, most in the red glow of the underground cavern seemed to be unaware of safety concerns. “It’s unreal to be honest,” shouted Katy Jebson, 19, from Greenwich over the music. “I’ve not been clubbing for a year and a half.”
Dylan Talfe was out clubbing for the first time at Fabric after turning 19 先週. He said he was enjoying spending the night “mainly in the techno room” after spending most of his first year as an adult “sitting around outside”.
“To a degree it felt like my life was on hold … it’s great to be out dancing and feeling free.”
Robert, 25, moved to London from Germany last August to work as a teacher for the year but said he couldn’t leave the city without attending at least one night at Fabric. “I’m overwhelmed by how many people there are here," 彼は言った. “It’s a bit risky being so carefree with no restrictions, but we’ll have to see what happens inside.”
彼が追加した: “There’s this apprehension. It feels like the first day of school.”
In the smoking area, student Beth, 24, said she was “so emotional” as she had not been back since her 18th birthday (the reopening event is only for those aged 19 オーバー). Standing next to her is Lois, 22, a graphic designer. They met at a rave three years ago but hadn’t seen each other since.
“It’s bare weird,” says Beth. it feels like I forgot how to dance. But it’s coming back.”