Saturday March 7th 2020 at the Village Hotel Swansea. A packed, sweaty dance floor. Ties around heads and arms aloft. Macarena dance moves and a cute singing bridesmaid. A mass, slurred singalong to Mr Brightside and wide smiles everywhere we looked. This was a typical wedding gig for Los Devitos (well maybe not completely typical – It was a Mario themed wedding after all!). We left that wedding on a high, talking about the new van we were thinking of purchasing and looking forward to the next wedding. A wedding that never came.
Obviously, we were mindful of the virus. When the first lockdown was announced (the evening before we were due to play a wedding at Margam Orangery), we expected it to last a couple of weeks. The months that followed sent our entire industry into free-fall. Following two further postponements of that Margam wedding, and with the Orangery being commissioned for use as a vaccine hub, the lovely couple that had spent months planning their perfect day decided to cancel their wedding.
We consider ourselves to be very fortunate. Yes, 2 of our band members caught Covid but we recovered quickly with no lasting side effects. All members have had at least the first vaccine. We haven’t lost any family members or friends to the disease. A few of our weddings have been cancelled but most were just postponed to an ever-changing future date.
We are also lucky in that we all had our “real” jobs to fall back on. Unlike many of our friends in the wedding industry, the band is a professional hobby for us. We each have a full-time profession: I’m a primary school teacher (Matthew, drums), Mike (singer) is a chiropractor, Jim (guitar) is an arborist and George (bass) is a sound engineer. George had to take on additional work for Tesco as Covid wiped out live music around the world.
With the sudden enforced halt to band life, we took the opportunity to spend more time with our families. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed the simple pleasures of popcorn with the kids on family film night Friday!
All the while, emails and Facebook messages kept streaming in from stressed brides and grooms. It’s heart-breaking dealing with the constant disappointment, but the worst thing was the uncertainty. We’ve hardly promoted the band at all during the various lockdowns. We wanted to keep our diary free so that existing wedding bookings could be accommodated when they were inevitably postponed.
Thankfully, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We started rehearsing again recently and the magic is still there! The Welsh Government has just given the go ahead for live music to start back up and we are raring to go! There are still currently restrictions in place with regards to evening celebrations but hopefully not for much longer.
t’s almost time to head back out onto that packed, sweaty dancefloor with your tie around your head and your arms aloft. It’s almost time for Macarena dance moves and a slurred Mr Brightside singalong. It’s almost time to hug your mates and smile as the band plays your favourite tune. It’s almost time.....