February 23, 2020. It's Sunday. One of the most anticipated dates of the season, sold out for some time: tonight, live, Big Thief. Long last. Working on Sundays for "those like us" always oscillates between habit and that feeling of having arrived at the end of the party. It's always a bit strange.

Today, we know, will be a long day, starting with breakfast for the artists and ending when everyone is already home. At the moment it is still morning, it is 8 o'clock, whoever did not work the night before is here, giving the last check to the dressing rooms and agreeing on the last details for the reception of the band. But the atmosphere is stranger than usual.

Those who worked on Saturday are still at home, but once everything was closed, they went to sleep with a bad feeling, the evening did not go well, this Coronavirus is holding the table about which we still do not know anything, we know however that there is a zero patient, there is a city called Codogno and that football matches have been canceled due to this Covid-19, which in Italy no one remembers ever happened.

The information arriving in the last 72 hours is sporadic and chaotic, one thinks that all this alarmism is a little excessive, but the news bounces at the speed of light and there is a widespread climate of fear and confusion.

It's still morning, maybe 9 o'clock, the park is quiet but our infoline keeps ringing, between calls and first messages: people who come from other regions asking if it's worth leaving, how is the situation here, " but will the concert be held? ”. Lombardy is in the eye of the storm and the infamous Codogno is a stone's throw from the Magnolia in people's minds and therefore the doubt arises spontaneously.

The answer given is that of those who have not yet received any news: reassuring; every person is told that the concert is absolutely confirmed, Big Thief, who played in Bologna the night before, are traveling and at the moment “no news, good news”.

Time passes and our little daily preparations for the day continue, on stage everything is in its place, only the band is missing for the check, but the infoline doesn't stop playing, quite the contrary. The reassurances continue, but as the minutes pass we begin to understand that in this atmosphere of growing panic the concert is increasingly far from being possible. But, for the moment, “no news, good news”, so let's move on.

It's almost 10, a phone rings but it's not the infoline, it's from one of us, on the other end the speaker says that the Big Thief, reading the news in Italy, have decided not to come to Milan, for their own safety and that of the public. Frost. Can't that be true, just today? Just this concert? Bad luck, you know, sees very well, and so yes, just today, this concert.

This phone call is followed by others, there is a need to change the answer to be given to those who ask for information, there are general communications to be given to those who have not called, it is 11.33 on Sunday 23 February when it is official that the Big Thief concert at Circolo Magnolia will not be done.

We just have to resign ourselves. We empty the dressing rooms, bring the food back to the cells, turn off the stage lights, those who had to come to work do not leave the house, those who are there get ready to go back. It is not even lunchtime, but the news is becoming more and more dramatic and confusing, there is talk of the closure of public places, in the end they stopped Serie A, we discover the spasmodic use of the word "gathering", which is forbidden. It seems a bad dream and in the silence of the park we are still in disbelief, we do not understand what is happening around us, at noon we leave the room, close the shutters and turn off the lights. We could not have known that everything would remain like this for months and months.