The First Dance – the pilot offering a return to normality for the UK’s clubbing scene

It’s been a long 14 months, and it’s probably summed up best in the words of Marea Stamper, better known as The Blessed Madonna – “This year we’ve had to lose our space, we’ve lost dancing. All these things that we took for granted”. While her track with Fred again might yet become an anthem for the generation that suffered the worst global crisis since WW2, the good news is we’ve found dancing again, and it’s going to come in the form of The First Dance, an event in Liverpool which she’s due to headline.

The work of Liverpool legends Circus, The First Dance is part of a UK government pilot scheme which will see 6000 people across two nights take to Bramley Moore Dock for an event which will see no social distancing, no masks, and something of a total return to normality. While the event itself will be like a pre-Covid event, there is some science behind it – attendees must be from the Liverpool city region (Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Knowsley, Halton, and the Wirral) and registered with a GP to provide a negative Covid lateral-flow test before the event. The stakes may be high, but with Liverpool currently seeing incredibly low case rates and Liverpool hospitals seeing under 20 people admitted in the last week, the city is the ideal backdrop for such a pilot.

The First Dance isn’t just a pilot event designed to see how we can gather data for a return to normality either – this is a lineup that would be jaw-dropping at the best of times. The first date on Saturday April 30th sees Sven Vath, The Blessed Maddona, and Circus chief Yousef headline, with support from Lauren Lo Sung, and Lewis Boardman. Day two on May 1st sees the legend that is Fatboy Slim, Hot Since 82 b2b with Enzo Siragusa, Heidi b2b with Jaguar, Yousef himself, and support from James Organ. Worth saying again, that’s a lineup that would sell out in a busy summer a few years ago, in a venue that has a sound-system so powerful it gets into the core of your soul.

Speaking of the event, Circus head honcho Yousef said “The First Dance is going to be a historic moment for electronic music and all events across in the UK. As the date nears and the weekend of events becomes closer to reality, me and the team at Circus all share an almost overwhelming feeling of pride, emotion, excitement and of course responsibility for what lies ahead.”

Perhaps most importantly The First Dance is exactly what the title implies. For the vast majority of the population the past year or more has been something we never thought we’d have to see or experience. Most people have lost someone they know, everyone has lost things they took for granted. But the future is close, and a reunion that promises to be the start of a new dawn. As Marea herself says “What comes next, will be marvellous.”

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