Local band ‘over the moon’ about return to weddings

Changes to Covid-19 restrictions at the start of next week will allow live music indoors at weddings, with legal restrictions on dancing also being lifted.

Before this, dancing was prohibited and music at weddings was only allowed outdoors, leaving many weddings with little or no music.

Leah Bell from Athlone, singer and co-owner of Bowtie Band said that she, her brother Ian, and the whole band were “over the moon” with the lifting of restrictions.

“This has been a very challenging time and most recently a frustrating time for everybody involved in the music industry,” she said.

“Our sector, as most would agree, has been hit the worst during the whole pandemic. Thankfully our voices have been heard and bands are back on Monday!

“Every couple can now have the entertainment they deserve on their special wedding day in a safe and regulated environment.”

The 100-guest restriction remains in place, and while she is happy to see the removal of the ban on dancing, Leah says they were measures which the industry had to follow to adapt to the pandemic.

“Every business in the country has had to adapt to this pandemic,” she said. “They succeeded and made it work, so music and dancing at weddings in my opinion is no different.

“Musicians stuck to the guidelines, while still entertaining couples and their guests and keeping everyone safe in the process.”

Low-volume music was allowed to play at music before the recent easing of restrictions, which Leah heard “didn’t work too well because you can’t beat the buzz and joy of live music and entertainment.”

Bowtie has been operating for over six years, travelling nationwide for weddings, corporate, pub, club and festival events. Leah also runs a beauty business in Athlone, so during lockdowns she was able to keep going financially.

“I am one of the lucky ones, but losing Bowtie definitely hit me a bit financially and mentally,” she said.

“For any full time musician it was a very tough time not being able to do the job you love and to earn a steady income. I know I can speak for every musician when I say that music is part of our souls, and it definitely took its toll on all of us at different stages through lockdowns.”

“Thankfully there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel for the music industry,” Leah said.

The band has had lots of corporate and club enquiries since the government announcement, and has weddings to look forward to from this week onward.

“We also have been in talks with a venue or two in Athlone, which we are very excited about. There is nothing like playing in your hometown.”

She finished by urging the public to get out and support live music as it returns.

“I know people are crying out for some live entertainment, so I urge everybody to get out and together we will bring the soul and craic back into this beautiful country of ours.”