COVID-19: 'Safe rave' rooftop DJ says his sets are 15 minutes of freedom

·3-min read

In April 2020, Sky News met Nkosi Inniss, a wedding DJ from Manchester. 

Due to restrictions under the first lockdown, all his gigs had been cancelled.

So, along with neighbour Rich Salisbury, he held a series of 'safe raves' from a rooftop terrace to entertain people in their block of flats, as well as raise money for charity.

Eight months on, Manchester is still under the toughest COVID-19 restrictions.

We returned to see how Inniss, AKA DJ Coast2Coast, was coping ahead of one final Winter Rooftop Session.

He said: "It has been a really weird year, a strange combination of things really.

"There have been cancellations and rescheduling which has been frustrating but I've also been being a dad to my son Kassius which is great, and my wife Kym is pregnant so we've got another one on the way.

"It's been a bit crazy having a two-year-old running around the flat but it's nice to spend that time with him watching him grow and develop."

For Inniss, DJing is more than just a job.

He said: "It has been annoying that I've not been able to DJ. I got a little bit down to be honest for about four months... with no sight of playing.

"This isn't just my job, I love it, it's what I do.

"It's just like when anybody is a professional at anything, if you are not doing what you are meant to be doing, you get a bit demotivated, you get a bit bored.

"I was doing a lot of livestreams in the beginning but then there was just this big phase when there were no bookings coming in, everything was cancelling.

"Even now, everything is moving to 2022. So it looks like next year's business will be gone. I'll be losing two years' worth of business.

"But you know, it is what it is.

"And at the end of the day, my job as an entertainer is to raise morale. I did have to give myself a bit of a kick, and say 'Wake up! Get going!', which is what every DJ should be doing.

"All DJs that are feeling a bit down should give themselves a kick and know that we are there to motivate people, to make people happy. And that's the job that we've chosen.

"It's the only thing I know how to do to be honest!

"But you've just got to get on with it.

"It'll all be okay, eventually."

Inniss has been widening his skill set so he does not have to purely rely on income from DJ gigs.

He said: "I've just focussed my energy on other places, I thought why not try and learn something else?

"So I've started learning graphic design with the hope that I don't have to be so dependent on my DJing.

"That's where I'm trying to get hope for the future and balance everything and just try to make sure that I keep developing and growing as a person, a father, as a DJ - and I'm going to have start practising again!

"These rooftop sessions are like 15 minutes of freedom.

"Being locked up in a flat all day, here in the city centre, the least you can do is just dance. A lot of people are like me, being a bit demotivated.

"You need to move, get moving. Because things are going to move on and if you don't move again you'll be left behind.

"And for me, this gets me going.

"Because you see people, hear people dancing and singing along.

"And it makes you feel like you are not alone."