Social distancing and face coverings went out the window at a warehouse rave of 3,000 clubbers.
Extraordinary pictures from what was billed as The First Dance on Friday evening, April 30, give a glimpse of life beyond Covid-19 restrictions and the return of bustling nightclubs.
Liverpool's Circus hosted the first of two events over the bank holiday weekend at Bramley Moore Dock warehouse, as part of the national Events Research programme (ERP).
The ERP will collect key scientific data from the two nights, looking into how events for a range of audiences could be permitted to safely reopen on June 21 as part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
Ticketholders had to take a Lateral Flow Test at a community testing site 24 hours before the event and had to produce a negative result in order to gain entry, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Reporter Jess Flaherty said: "Before arriving, I was surprised by how nervous and anxious I felt.
"Seeing crowds of people gathering without face masks caused a pang of anxiety, even though I knew they had to provide proof of a negative Covid test and had been thoroughly checked upon entry.
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"Entering the warehouse, I was bumped into by multiple people all dancing and losing themselves in the music. It was a jarring experience after a year of zero contact with strangers."
A queue had already formed ahead of the club's afternoon opening time of 2pm on Friday.
Music came from Djs Sven Väth, The Blessed Madonna, Jayda G, Yousef, Lauren Lo Sung and Lewis Boardman, with Fatboy Slim headlining Saturday's event.
Reveller Haidee Booth, 26, said: “Social anxiety was in the back of my mind but they’ve been really well organised – everything from booking of tickets, getting your test, queuing and checking your negative test, so we were put at ease.
“We got constant emails reminding us about the event and when we needed to get tested by which I really liked. We’ve seen them going around and sanitising everything so it’s been great so far.
“They had specific allocated testing centres for Circus and they’ve given us two PCR tests too.”
A University of Liverpool student admitted the event was worth the health risk.
Becca Gray, 22, originally from Leeds, said: “It’s amazing so far, I was a little bit nervous about coming here and I wouldn’t be surprised if I get coronavirus but it’ll be worth it."
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