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WATCH: Shrewsbury Buttermarket crowd races to sing 'Everybody's Free' on first night back

Party-goers sprinted to be the first on the dancefloor after the clock counted down to 'Freedom Day' during an "emotional" night at one of Shropshire's main nightclubs.

Rozalla whips up the excitement in the crowd. Pictures: Clive Padden
Rozalla whips up the excitement in the crowd. Pictures: Clive Padden

The Buttermarket in Shrewsbury held its Unlock party on Sunday night as it opened for the first time as a club since the start of the pandemic.

And excitement reached fever pitch as dance legend Rozalla greeted the audience with her smash hit Everybody's Free (to feel good), the lyrics of which carried extra poignancy after 16 months without the freedom to dance and mix with new people.

The night started in the cellars, where party-goers gathered before making their way up to the main nightclub area upstairs.

Excited revellers then waited patiently behind the barriers as the club's new resident DJ Paul Morrell ran the countdown from 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 ,5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Pandemonium.

WATCH the countdown to 'freedom' here:

A burst of life as the dancefloor filled within seconds, confetti was launched into the air, and Rozalla belted out that iconic first line... "Everybody's free... to feel good!"

And good they did feel, especially owner Martin Monahan, who was full of praise for Rozalla, his hard-working staff who helped make it all happen, and the customers who made it a night to never forget.

"It was really quite emotional," he said. "We started the evening in the cellars, then everyone went up to the nightclub 20 minutes before the big countdown.

"The way people rushed back onto the dancefloor was amazing. There was a lot of young people about 18 or 19, and that would have been their first ever experience of a nightclub.

The Buttermarket reopened with its Unlock party
Resident DJ Paul Morrell and Rozalla. Pictures: Clive Padden

"Rozalla was phenomenal. She was awesome. It was such a thrill for Shrewsbury and Shropshire to have a UK exclusive because that song is the one that most DJs up and down the country would have been playing first.

"It was like a New Year's Eve party. The atmosphere was electric. It was a really good vibe and everyone was in such a positive, happy mood.

"After 16 months, it was a moment that will be in lots of people's memories this morning, and for a long time after.

"I'm extremely proud of each and every one of the staff. They did a tremendous job. Customers were very patient. Having people back at the bar was a bit alien, having done table service since April, but all the staff worked so hard."

The Buttermarket's Unlock party. Pictures: Clive Padden
Revellers filled the dance floor in seconds. Pictures: Clive Padden

Although revellers and staff enjoyed the joy of the dancefloor being back open, the venue and a number of party-goers have not forgotten the pandemic. Cases of the virus are rising thanks largely to the Delta variant, and some experts envisage another lockdown later this year. But Martin is pragmatic about the situation, and insists the club will continue to take a number of precautions.

"It is what it is," he said. "You can't predict what is going to happen. There were quite a number of people still wearing face masks last night. It's the Government's decision for it to be personal choice, but all of our staff are still wearing face masks. We want to keep ourselves safe and our customers.

"We still have measures in place including hand sanitiser on the entrances and exits. It's really important that we continue to be as safe as we can."

The Buttermarket owner Martin Monahan said the atmosphere was 'electric'. Pictures: Clive Padden
The Buttermarket's Unlock Party. Pictures: Clive Padden

After a stormer of a first night back, Martin is optimistic that clubbers will be keen to come back for more.

"Tickets have been selling well for this Friday and Saturday so we're expecting a repeat performance," he said. "This is the largest super club in Shropshire so it means people can be a bit more spaced out if they want to be more Covid secure. And those who just want to party on the dancefloor, they have the choice to do that.

"I want to thank everyone that came last night, they were phenomenal. The whole evening was a very emotional, and they rose to the occasion and gave us some great shapes on the dancefloor."

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