17 May 2022

County Derry lorry driver keeps people dancing through lockdown

'Big Dee' has created quite a stir from his Ballinascreen home.

County Derry lorry driver keeps people dancing through lockdown

A County Derry lorry driver is raising spirits during the Covid-19 lockdown by bringing the feeling of a Saturday night out to people’s living rooms.

Damien Groogan has been performing a marathon three-hour DJ set on Saturday nights since the lockdown regulations were introduced over a month ago.

The Ballinascreen man told the County Derry Post how he decided to make the most of the collection of music he had amassed.

He said: “I’ve a good bit of music gathered up so I thought I’d give it a go. I got a good slot on a Saturday night and I’ve stuck to it.

“There are a lot of lorry drivers there who would follow it for the craic and a lot of friends here and in America have shared it too.

“A pile of people started sending me friend requests and I got messages telling me to keep at it, that I was raising people’s spirits.

“The first week I had around 300 followers and by the second week it had grown to nearly 900.”

Lockdown may have dragged for many people, but Damien has been keeping things light and doing his best to please those who are tuning in to hear his set.

“I try and keep it good and lively and not slow it down, just a mixture of everything – 70s and 80s and things for all ages,” he said.

“I’m trying to play the right sort of music and keep everybody happy. I set up every Saturday night and the feedback has been great from people and other entertainers.

“It’s about having a party in your own living room, lift the spirits and keep everybody up and going. I’ll keep it going as long as everyone enjoys it.

“There are people up in Cavan that I deliver from in the lorry and they’re all watching it on a Saturday night with a drink in the house.”

The lorry driver says he is trying to replicate the feeling of a Saturday night out and is encouraged by the many people interacting with each other on the Facebook feed.

“Getting people to talk among each other is great, it seems to be everybody’s highlight on a Saturday night.” said Damien, who is known locally as ‘Big Dee’.

“People would send me messages looking for shout outs. I’d spend a good half hour beforehand reading through them and looking for birthdays and anniversaries and the like.

“It’s great when you get the feedback through Facebook, especially afterwards when you see how many people have liked it, shared it and viewed it.”

Damien broadcasts live on his Facebook page – damien.groogan – from around 9.00pm every Saturday night and freely admits to enjoying himself during the set.

“You’re living a Saturday night out but from the comfort of your own living room,” he said.

“I do a three-hour set but if flies in because everybody is enjoying it. I might even take a wee beer myself during it!”

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