Written by Emma D'Arcy
The energy. The sound. The electric atmosphere. The people. The fun!
Whether dancing with friends at a packed live gig, laughing uproariously at a local comedy night, or dining with friends, sharing a bottle (or two) of wine over dinner – how much we’ve all missed these shared experiences over the last year and a half. The last gig I went to with girlfriends before the pandemic hit was a brilliant live tribute band in London’s riverside Putney – we spent the entire night dancing around, annihilating epic songs with uninhibited enthusiasm (including enroute to the train station – I’m sure the other commuters appreciated our lyrical genius.)
It’s been a long time.
So after a period unlike any other in our lives, the recent easing of restrictions has paved the way for countless families to hug like they’ll never let go, friends to finally reunite, and loved ones to appreciate these moments together more than ever. There’s nothing better than that warm, familiar, all-encompassing hug with a much loved grandparent or close friend. I haven’t seen my brother who lives in Auckland, New Zealand for over two years now – this is one reunion I am still waiting for, like so many other families around the world. (I fully intend to embarrass him with a large celebratory ‘welcome home’ sign at the airport when we are gleefully reunited!) Recent times have only reminded us about the signicance of being together. It had me thinking about the power of live experiences, from the regular to the extraordinary, which we are either hesitantly taking small steps towards, or bounding forwards with relief and excitement.
There is nothing quite like the energy when you get people together. You know the feeling I’m talking about – that undeniable, inexplicable, hard to articulate elation at being alive feeling – when you’re together in the moment?! Just thinking about it brings to mind countless special moments over the years enjoying all sorts of group experiences – a beach gig with Groove Armada and Carl Cox in Mallorca, a phenomenal London theatre performance of The Lion King, countless evenings spent enjoying good food and wine alfresco with friends and family in beautiful settings all over the world. You’ll have your own collection of moments and memories that make you smile, wherever they may be. One-on-one or in a crowd, we all need human interaction and connection (whether that’s in limited doses or the more the better these days, will naturally depend on you!).
So when I found myself sitting alongside the same girlfriends for my first post-lockdown gig of summer at Oxfordshire’s picturesque Soho Farmhouse, we were ready for it. So ready. Pip Millet, a rising British RnB and soul star, took to the stage overlooking the shimmering lake at dusk, and sang Deeper Dark. That voice! I sat back in the sunlounger with my cocktail in hand, looked over at Holly and Jess, and smiled. It felt so fun and…normal…to be enjoying summer drinks with the girls in the balmy late afternoon sunshine. A glimpse of life beyond the pandemic. A sunny soulful pick me up. A promise that we’re moving forwards.
Whilst it’s a different picture wherever you may be in the world, we’re getting there. When you get the chance to try something new or adventurous, or simply something you love to do – make the space and time for these special moments and fun experiences. Music festivals, art exhibitions, theatre shows, restaurants, and a whole world of live experiences are beginning to open and welcome us to share this dawning new chapter of our lives. So, as you suddenly find yourself laughing hysterically with friends over funny stories at dinner, or enjoying group sun salutations in your local yoga studio, or singing (off-key if you’re anything like me!) like there’s no tomorrow at a festival – take a moment and capture that feeling for yourself. Write it down in your journal, share it with a friend, post it on social media – you do you – and enjoy!