Restarting sessions after Covid-19

Restarting sessions after Covid-19

In the US, we’re starting to get a large number of people vaccinated, and hopefully the same is true globally. As pockets of players around the world start feeling comfortable sharing cramped spaces again, I know most of us are really looking forward to being able to play together! What can we do to make this happen as fast as possible? How can we know where and when new opportunities are opening up again?

I’m curious if others are starting to take action: for people who organized sessions before the shut-downs, or who have relationships with pubs that didn’t go out of business, are you starting to reach out to the publicans to grease the skids? Are they receptive? Have any actually started, or are there plans?

What about This has been our most valuable resource for information on sessions, but for over a year, just about every session in the whole database is closed, but none of them are marked as such. Is there any way to update the database to mark sessions as "post covid active?" Is there some convention we could agree on that would make it obvious which have started up, versus which are dead and not refreshed? Can we start a community effort to cull out pubs that are gone, or that haven’t reopened for sessions? Perhaps our host, Jeremy, has ideas for an attribute that could somehow be added for searching and filtering? Would a few donations help the cause?

What about a grass-roots effort to organize and jump-start things? Even if we can’t do it on, could someone (maybe me…) build a site where we could register post-covid sessions? (if I did it, I’d hope Jeremy would be willing to take the data at some point to reconsolidate—I like having this central point of community info.)

Would people be willing to make an effort to 1) get info from pubs, 2) record new sessions somewhere (tbd where) and tag them so we can find them (tbd how), and 3) get the word to their friends, both locally and remotely, to help do the same? We’re a pretty tight community, and if there’s a simple process and people are willing to chime in, maybe we can get the engine started again.

I’m hoping this sparks some discussion to get ideas on the table, and if it does, maybe some of us can use this forum to form a plan and gather support. I know it’ll eventually happen on its own, but wouldn’t it be nice to work together to rebuild this shared global resource so we can get back to playing around the world?


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Re: Restarting sessions after Covid-19

I agree, and it’s already happening here in Southern California.

The Sunday afternoon session at The Auld Dubliner in Long Beach, CA has already restarted, I’ll be co-hosting there on the 2nd Sundays of the month starting on May 9th.

The rest of California will be exiting from COVID-19 restrictions on businesses on June 15th, 2021, at which time, in theory, all sessions could immediately re-open, including I’m hoping my long-running local Tuesday night session I co-host at The Ould Sod here in San Diego. I’ve heard some stories from others about possible restart dates for other sessions throughout the state, but no specifics yet.

I’ll add entries in the session listings for the sessions I co-host as they open, it would be great if other session hosts would do the same!

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In Glasgow the pubs may be opening soon though probably till, say, 6 pm and not serving booze. I suppose, now weather getting a wee bit better, sessions might be feasible - if U can do without beer, whisky etc etc!

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How long-running/well-established should a session be to be (re-)listed here? I like your idea @Brink but the situation re the pandemic is far from stability in various parts of the World. Say, the central sessions in both Moscow (at Vermel) and St. Petersburg (at Shilling) are gone now. There are regular sessions running in the both cities just at new locations. I’m confident the two sessions aren’t get listed due to the fact that organisers of the sessions still feel the partnership with their respected publicans as immature and unstable.

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Pubs in England will be able to serve seated customers outdoors from Monday, in maximum group of six, indoors from 17 May. We’ll be trialling sessions again next week on that basis, weather permitting, as we did last summer. The limitation is that we have to sign up who’s going to play in advance to avoid the over-crowding.

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Brink, I’m sure that session leaders will post status changes on this site. Just look up the sessions you’re interested in, and use the button under the comments to receive an email when someone posts there.

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While I was encouraged to see that the Doolin Folk Festival has rescheduled for September this year, rather than cancelling or going online, I’m not sure I believe our government here in Ireland re: their optimistic forecast for when the bulk of folks will be vaccinated - they’ve switched from an occupation based system to an age based one, and going by that, people in my age group will supposedly be able to get vaccinated starting sometime in late May. Because our coalition government here, who I fondly refer to as "The Three Stooges" couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery I’m not counting on that actually happening. On Monday they’re finally lifting the 5km travel restriction so we’ll be able to travel within our own county but we’re a ways off from sessions happening in the pubs again unfortunately.

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In ‘England’, including London, the Government’s ‘Roadmap’ out of lockdown plans to lift all social restrictions by Litha (Mid Summer’s Day, 21 June 2021). This is only ten weeks away. If the ‘Roadmap’ goes to plan, this will come round very quickly! And, on the way to that, by May 17th six people together sat at table inside a pub will be allowed. Even this may even facilitate some sort of sessioning!

Below is the summary of the roadmap:
Step 2 - not before 12 April
Business and activities
Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.

Step 3 - not before 17 May
Social contact
As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

Business and activities
Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen - and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Review of social distancing
Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.

Step 4 - not before 21 June
Social contact
By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Business, activities and events
We hope to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.

Re: Restarting sessions after Covid-19

I’m so glad to see that things are starting to open up in other places (and now I wish I was going to San Diego instead of Portland in July.) It sounds like some places in the world have clearer guidelines than my locale, which might make it easier to plan ahead.

@Mars: I believe it’s up to the session organizers to decide when a session is stable enough to justify posting. I’ve seen a few over the years on here that didn’t seem to last more than a handful of occurrences. I think if the organizers are sensitive enough to think about such things, they’re probably diligent enough to update/close the entry when a session closes. For my own way of thinking, in unstable times it might be better to get the word out so people can tell where action is happening so they can reach out for more info rather than having organizers be so careful that people can’t find their sessions.

@Jerry O’Donnell: Over the next couple of years, I’m sure it’ll eventually get back to that sort of "normal," but for a lot of people that approach won’t work very well, at least for a while. There are thousands of sessions in the database. Many are likely to restart without any updates to their entries. Many existing entries are for sessions that no longer exist—these two categories are indistinguishable. Also, I often use the map feature to find sessions in a general area I’m considering visiting. If I’m considering several destinations, there could be dozens of sessions I’m curious about. Signing up for email notifications on all of them in hopes that someone will update their entry immediately afterward is a lot of work for low probability of gain. I was imagining that our global community might benefit from a concerted effort to nudge the entire database back to current/useful information a bit faster than might happen organically.

At this moment (April 10,2021) our session database isn’t very useful. Efforts from people like Michael Eskin described above will improve things in locations where leaders make an effort to update entries, but if the search function can’t distinguish between current and pre-covid/obsolete entries, then we’re reduced to searching through dead ones in the hopes of finding a gem. It’s like finding the right "Smith" by going through the entries in the phone book and calling each one (without knowing the right one is even listed.) It’s better than the old days (going to the yellow pages under "Pubs" and calling them to see if they know what a trad session is), but it’s not back to where we were before the pandemic.

All that said, maybe I’m just excited/impatient. Before TheSession, we didn’t have anywhere to get all that information, and people still found each other. So I’m sure we’ll find each other again one way or another.

Even just hearing the comments so far on this thread is encouraging. I live in rural Texas, and until this had heard almost nothing about live sessions starting to happen (though there is one today in Denton).

I’ll be interested to see whether this thread takes off or not. That’ll be some indication of whether there’s enough grass-roots interest to even worry about it.

@triplet upstairs: Wow. I thought our government was knotted up over this… it sounds like things are even worse back in the "old country." I’ve been under the impression that the pub industry was struggling due to smoking laws anyway, so a blow like this might have driven most of them out of business. But what you say makes even house sessions challenging for a while to come. Ouch.

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I know not everyone is on Facebook, but if a open session is restarting somewhere, either they are already talking about it on Facebook or someone knows someone who can get you the status of nearly any session.

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To be honest, over the years, I’ve received much more info about local sessions via FB than I ever have on this site.

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Just a reminder: any member of The Session can edit the details of any session listing. So if you find out some info about a session via Facebook, it would be nice to update the listing here accordingly. You don’t need to be the person running the session to edit its details or add a comment.

If everyone took a little time to make sure their local listings are up to date, that would be great!

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@Michael Eskin

I’m really eager to hear of the restrictions on wind instruments and sessions (by extension singing too).

Have the returning sessions generally had limitations on that?

I’m worried about the idea of ‘windless’ sessions.

Also - Yhaal House - in the U.K. I’m not holding my breath for sessions this year inside (certainly in the cosy wee pub where I mostly go). I can’t help thinking the June date is a ‘post-truth’ comment that’s already slipping from its ‘loose’ position. Though I’ve seen a socially distanced fiddles only session in the states online…. oh well…

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Choons: I’m very optimistic that it will come to pass. There are plans for an event at a local theatre involving ‘folk’ music in May (following all the rules of course) and by June, although it may not be ‘back to normal’, it may be ‘nearly normal’. If you look at the statistics, it’s very encouraging!

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Regarding "windless" sessions…

My request to our local players that come to the sessions I co-host is if you want to play winds in the session, please be immunized. No, we’re not going to "card" anyone, we’re all adults here, I trust the locals to "do the right thing" after playing together for 20+ years.

That being said, we are a very fiddle and accordion heavy scene at least in San Diego, I’m one of the few wind players in San Diego, generally whistle for the occasional tune when I’m not on pipes or concertina/box. The wind players in the L.A. area I know who would come to the Long Beach session are vaccinated.

The challenge is going to be what to do if a random visiting whistle or flute player shows up? Do we ask them if they are vaccinated?

If we ask them, and they are not, do we ask them not to play, or to sit farther away?

What if they get upset and go complain to the venue management, will the venue back our choices? The venue also has to deal with liability issues if the players don’t follow whatever public health guidelines that may still be in place.

We’re still trying to understand our options and collectively decide how to deal with this.

There were previously some specific CA state guidelines on wind players in entertainment situations as far as distancing, but all that goes out the window on June 15th when the state fully opens.

My sense is that flute/whistle players know that vaccination status is going to be a make-or-break perception issue for their continued unchallenged participation in sessions, so most if not all are getting themselves vaccinated.

We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get there and make some decisions in advance on policy which we can clearly communicate in our invitations and session listings.

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I think the re-opening will be interesting for sessions…

In the U.K. (if as planned) we’re now allowed 6 meeting outside, May 17th will allow 6 indoors, 21st June will allow many people indoors.

I think there’s a risk to opening sessions now by upsetting/ruining the friendly community we’ve fostered online.
How do you handle which of the many drop in/drop out attendees from zoom (and “the before times”) become one of “the six” allowed each week, and how do you fairly decide…

Personally I’m considering that the risk of creating tension/ruining the comradeship (which is the whole point) of our group means we should wait until everyone can meet inside before restarting (even occasional outdoor six person sessions), to avoid people being excluded/feel isolated/not wanted.

I’m also trying to work out if there’s some clever way we could temporarily include an iPad and speakers in our future sessions to allow people to continue to participate once we move back to a physical place, incase we have some people who still may not want to risk attending in the medium term.

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In my Ceildh band not all the members have been vaccinated. We are not planning in person rehearsals until at least September.

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Brink wrote:
"I believe it’s up to the session organizers to decide when a session is stable enough to justify posting."

No, that’s not true. Anyone can add a session. Anyone can edit a session (to update its schedule and/or mark it as defunct).

So, again, even if you’re not the organiser but you know that a session is starting back up, please add a comment.

Even if you’re not the organiser but you know that a session is no longer happening (because the venue closed down for example), please add a comment and update the schedule to deselect any previously selected days.

Even if you’re not the organiser but you know of a new session that isn’t listed here, please add it.

Please don’t assume that the organiser of the session will do it.

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Here where I am the "home session" pub lost the battle. Gone now. Thanks Jason for the good years. For one I’ll miss this.

Now in this underserved climate we’ll have to start over. In almost all of Utah only one city still has a mask mandate and judging from the "Covidiots" I see daily I kinda get it, inside at least. As a fluter I’ve reshaped a face shield as best I can with some added fabric in the hope that I won’t be shunned. I hope it will be enough even I’m aware it’s a stretch at best. My sanity is at risk here.

So … wherever you are I hope you have the best of luck and find the camaraderie this tradition brings with it.

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Here in the UK it really does feel like a restart will be in September at the very earliest for a number of reasons, first is slightly political (and this site is not the place for such discussions) but in easy to understand simple terms if our PM’s lips are moving its bound to be a … . Second we’ve seen so many twists and turns with Covid that with any of the many variants that are out there a delay/upset any or all of HMG’s plans do appear likely and personally will expect the likes of 6 to a table etc etc to carry on way beyond ‘The Johnson’s’ optimistic plans for those ‘back to normal by’ dates. Judging by the huge efforts made by many landlords round here to provide ‘new’ semi outdoor seating areas there are quite a few in the trade who are not at all convinced this will all be done and dusted as soon as this government makes out as well. Finally what’s the rush we’ve gone on this far without sessions and a few more extra months won’t make a huge difference to me especially in the summer months when the sun is shining and there are plenty of other things to be getting on with - come the dark winter months … . let’s session please.

As for ceilidh’s well our band was asked to do one in early July (re-scheduled one from last year), after about a nano second of thought a social distanced ceildh did not sound like too much fun to any of us and the deposit was returned with a “thank’s but no thank’s”.

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Even if the wait has seemed endless, vaccinations are swiftly progressing in the US. The vaccination availability sequence is reasonable, passing from older and compromised, through health and essential workers, to younger demographics by mid-Summer. There are quite a few Covidiots and an active anti-vax dis-information campaign in some quarters, mostly for political reasons. Infection rates in the US are coming down quickly aside from social demographics with difficult access to vaccines or some people using anti-vax-ism as a political posture.

Consult your health authorities, but it increasingly appears that most of the vaccines are effective against existing variations of the virus.

@MichaelEskin "The challenge is going to be what to do if a random visiting whistle or flute player shows up? Do we ask them if they are vaccinated? If we ask them, and they are not, do we ask them not to play, or to sit farther away? "

It isn’t just the wind instruments; regular and/or heavy breathing indoors for an extended period is the way aerosol infections spread.

What’s the phrase? "Haters gonna hate."

I know we have an inordinate fear of confrontation, but we are not doing anything so sensitive as accusing the flutes or violins of bad intonation, nor the accordion of playing off tempo. If someone is a-hole enough to make masking or vaccinations a badge of dis-honor, maybe you don’t want to hang out with them.

I’d say make sure your personal and group "boundaries" are consistent, obvious and demonstrable. You can do that in a courteous but clear way. For example, simply ask everyone each week about their vaccination or previous exposure status. Joke about it (Do you haafff a multi-paass?), have all the core members wear a lanyard with their vaccination cards, tattoo it on your forehead, whatever. It is your personal right NOT to be exposed to germs, and your right to have confidence in living in a healthy environment.

Yes, SOME people have compromised immune systems which might prevent getting vaccinated. If you think about it, that makes it even more important that you help protect them by making sure the rest of the group is safe.

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Tom, you’ve given me some great stuff to think about for our restart… They do sell all kinds of little rubber "I’ve been vaccinated" bracelets on Amazon, was thinking about getting a bunch of them to hand out at the sessions:

Regarding vaccination availability to younger demographics, at least here in California, anyone over 16 will be able to get their shot after April 15th, with some counties, like Los Angeles starting even earlier.

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Regarding "windless sessions": During the summer I read serious scientific articles on aerosol generation by symphonic musical instruments. IIRC flutes were found to generate no more aerosols than breathing, whereas brass and reed instruments generated quite a lot.

That led me to believe that the generation of aerosols is caused by a wet vibrating surface: vocal cords, one’s lips in a brass mouthpiece, a reed in a clarinet, etc. That mechanism seems almost absent with a flute and completely absent with a whistle. I’d think they were safe. Even bellows-blown pipes would seem to be safe, although perhaps mouth-blown pipes might not be.

I’ve told this to my best whistle playing friend (who is now fully vaccinated) but she is, if anything, excessively conscientious. She will not do indoor sessions, which I think is a great shame.

But our weather is improving. I hope to try to restart some outdoor sessions soon.

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"My sense is that flute/whistle players know that vaccination status is going to be a make-or-break perception issue for their continued unchallenged participation in sessions, so most if not all are getting themselves vaccinated."
Yes, Michael, 100%!
"Data on size, distribution, and amounts of aerosol droplets generated by breathing, speaking, singing, coughing, and sneezing that are small enough to stay afloat in the air and be dispersed in indoor spaces vary widely. Despite these variations, there is ample evidence that indoor dispersion of aerosol droplets occurs."

"To conclude: Aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is possible and should not be disregarded."

"The challenge is going to be what to do if a random visiting whistle or flute player shows up? Do we ask them if they are vaccinated?"

This is up to each individual session & how it decides to communicate with members and visitors. There is no answer for all the different sessions. Having said this I prefer the session host decides on any matter regarding visiting players.

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It’s not just fear of aerosol transmission with flute. Remember the old jokes here about how you shouldn’t sit to the right of a flute player, because the flute will drip into their glass of Guinness? Condensation is a thing with flutes and also whistles. It isn’t "spit," but it’s fluid leaving the instrument that could freak people out.

One of our local sessions is doing a trial start-up in mid May, in the usual brew pub but in a separate area away from the other customers as a trial run. Most of this group is older and will probably be vaccinated by then, but there may be one or two younger folk who haven’t got the jab yet.

Myself on flute and one other person (a whistler) are the only ones who might need to play without masks, but at least I can sub on mandolin if nobody feels comfortable with that. Frankly I’m not sure the usual session ambience will work unless everyone is un-masked with the the usual banter, calling of tunes, and sipping drinks. We’ll just see how it goes.

I will also be inviting friends I know who are vaccinated to a house session soon. I just have to clean up the house after a year of not having to care about visitors!

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Conical bore, I think you are conflating fears/old jokes/etc.; if you follow my drip. 🙂

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@AB, yeah but the drip is real for us fluters. 🙂

I remember a few years ago being in the front row of a Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely duo concert. A small venue, we were all close to the stage. Towards the end of a two hour gig, I was seeing droplets flying out the end of Kevin’s flute towards the audience. That’s just the nature of the instrument. At the time , I thought that was cool. He’s really driving that flute!

Now, yeah… it’s a little different. But I would still love to attend another concert like that, and in the front row when everyone feels safe enough.

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The drip is real and you have to blow it out occasionally to be sure the flute stays playable.

It’s the same with a whistle too, over time condensation sticks on the inside and the instinctual fix is to cover the wind hole and blow hard through it/shake it to your side, to clear it. This (by design) makes droplets fly out of them. Hopefully there’s an alternative, less sprayey method!

Whether this actually poses a risk to anyone vs being in a close pub for hours in the first place, I have no idea, but I can manage the “perception” from others will be the issue/will be that it poses a risk and there being a kind of “disapproving vibe” from other pub goers in a session if you turn up with a whistle or flute for a bit…

It’s why I’ve tried to learn another instrument over lockdown so I have an alternative.

I think, realistically, people will accept them over time, but (hopefully I’m being pessimistic) not in the short term and not if (as expected) we have to deal with milder covid waves every winter.

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This is a great discussion. I hope my original rant doesn’t scare people away from the good content that’s accumulated along the way. It’s really helped me get a sense for what’s going on in the world, and not feel so in-the-dark about what’s happening outside my own little bubble.

I know the thread will peter out, and this sort of content becomes stale very fast, even though it’s highly relevant for the moment. Hopefully new similar threads will hit the wire every 3 or 4 weeks so we can all have a sense of progress.

Barring that, let’s all go to San Diego!! ;)

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Well, as planned, pubs in London opened yesterday for outdoor/ beer garden service.
It was great to drink a pint of actual proper draught Guinness (or three!) again for the first time since Dec!
It was unusual weatherise in as much as it snowed yesterday morning!
But the afternoon was clear and sunny and temperature at about 10 degrees.
This felt like a gentle but positive step towards sessions starting up again.

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Conical bore mentioned that he will tentatively begin a house session soon. Here’s my experience. Make no mistake about the virus and its sequella (death is the most serious) should be taken very seriously. That said, diving under the bed to hide out is probably an overkill. One of the two regular house sessions has never stopped. Instead we have all been incredibly aware of, and respectful of, our individual situations. A couple of players have dropped out completely (returning now that all have been vaccinated). All of us are over 50, at 75 I’m the oldest. One woman was sick but non-covid and she still stayed home. Two of the remaining 4, including the host, were positive and stayed away for a couple of weeks. They didn’t get it from our group and responsibly didn’t spread it to the others. I have have never been positive, never sick. I think it was/is because I have always been mindful of the 3 D’s … density, distance, and duration … and carefully limited my exposure. That and I always, say it with me, always wear wear a mask indoors except for when I play my flute. I get that there are varying opinions about aerosol spread and flutes so I kept myself healthy so if I did spread some they weren’t Covid-cooties. My behaviors are shaped by a quarter century of working in hospital intensive care units often with highly contagious diseases and not by the nightly news drama. It is my belief that if everybody used their heads instead of their lizard brains we might have all been better off. Sadly that ain’t gonna happen.

By the way, being vaccinated doesn’t mean you can’t get it (thought you are much less likely to die from it) and doesn’t mean you can’t spread it. And, a negative test today doesn’t mean you won’t have it tomorrow. Situational awareness and reasonable caution are your best defenses. Let’s look out for each other. We play together and like each other’s company so it’s the least we can do.

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Thanks for the last paragraph ross, especially the part about vaccination. The way some people were posting about vaccination above I was wondering if the USA had more data on transmission by vaccinated people than we have in the UK.

So far as has been reported so far I will work on the basis that me being vaccinated reduces the chances of me getting very sick more than the flute player opposite being vaccinated does.

Outdoor sessions again for me this summer I think. Hasn’t snowed since yesterday…

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Recent (2 April 2021) US CDC study data about vaccine protection against asymptomatic infection and related topics:

Even though I’m fully vaccinated (woohoo!), I’ll be continuing to wear masks when it makes sense to do so and as a courtesy to others. I think I’ll wait a while before playing flute or whistle in a session, will stick to pipes and free-reeds.

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Just received a message from a friend today, inviting me to her back garden at the end of next week to play some tunes (max of 6 people allowed): this will be a first since everything was suspended in March 2020. Still quite a way off from pub sessions but a small step in the right direction. It may involve my first trip on public transport in over a year too. Have had my first vaccination and hope for the second any day now. Now we just have to hope that the Scottish weather will play ball!

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In ‘England’, in four and half weeks, six people will be able to meet indoors and play tunes. Starting on the same day, six people will also be able to meet inside at a table in a pub. Presumably they will be able to play music and, presumably, the six sat at the next table will also be able to. That sounds like the makings of an indoor pub session to me! That’s only 4 1/2 weeks away.

Re: Restarting sessions after Covid-19

Here in Sweden we’re still waiting for live music restrictions to be lifted in the pub. There has been a "no live music" regulation here since december.
Yes, pubs are open here, but only until 8 pm and maximum 4 people at one table (and of course a gap to the next table).

Re: Restarting sessions after Covid-19

During 2020 a new slow session started in Mansfield, Texas, USA on a monthly basis. Originally held at the back of a cafe outside in the parking area, it’s now moved inside to: Dirty Job Brewing, a microbrewery. This has been every month on the 3rd Friday, 5pm-7pm without fail except for when Texas had it’s week of snowmageddon in February. The number is around 5-9 people. Texas has been declared open since the beginning of March this year and mask mandate lifted, so the masks are optional. I’ll add this to the list of sessions as it seems to be settled into being a regular event. It took a long time to find an indoor venue that was suitable.

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Re: Restarting sessions after Covid-19

The pubs are still most definitely shut in the 26 counties, though might open towards the end of May in the other six. The difference is down to the progress of each domain’s vaccination schedule.

Willie Week will most definitely be online-only ( Joe Mooney week in Drumshanbo isn’t happening ( and neither is the S. Sligo Summer School ( The Fleadh Cheoil, due to take place in Mullingar, ain’t going to happen either.

Frankly, I can’t see any pubs reopening this year here in the Republic until August or September at the earliest.

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Re: Restarting sessions after Covid-19

In Santa Fe, NM we are resuming sessions outdoors. While we used to play indoors and in the evening, we now play during the warmest part of the day on a Sunday, (we are a mile high so it’s still cool most of the year). We are now all vaccinated, as far as I know. We just shift around our location, depending on the wind. It has been a real boon to our popularity. We were covered by the Santa Fe Reporter, and were surprised to see an audience of about 60 that week. Everyone seems to feel that music is the best therapy anyone could ask for.