Every January, Dublin’s famed Temple Bar district erupts with music and joy, as TradFest — a five-day celebration of Irish music and culture — draws top bands and massive crowds to historic churches, castles, pubs, and other iconic venues. TradFest 2020 beat the Covid-19 pandemic by mere weeks, wrapping up just before live music everywhere came to a screeching halt.
When it came time to plan TradFest 2021, the virus was on its second rampage, and prospects for live performances had worsened. Science had established that SARS-CoV-2 was airborne and that singing was especially risky. Worldwide, music festivals were cancelled. But Martin Harte, CEO of The Temple Bar Company, the not-for-profit organiser of TradFest, wasn’t having it. After all, Tradfest, Ireland's largest festival of traditional music, had run annually since 2005.
“I said, ‘No, the show must go on,’” recalls Harte. And it did. In the throes of the pandemic, TradFest delighted fans with a scarce commodity: music performed live and indoors. The audiences weren’t live, of course; the concerts were streamed. But the artists performed within the storied, stone walls of Dublin Castle, a fortress that dates back to 1230 and, just for TradFest 2021, was outfitted with Novaerus medical-grade air dis-infection technology from WellAir.
Over five days, some 50 musicians and crew members gathered to rehearse, pose for photos, and perform amidst rococo ceilings and portraits of Irish viceroys — all the while breathing air cleaned by sleek, white Novaerus devices, out of camera range.
VIDEO: Martin Harte, CEO of The Temple Bar Company, explains how TradFest Temple Bar reimagined their iconic event with the help of Novaerus air dis-infection technology from WellAir.