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Fundraising Festival Goes Online: We Shall Overcome Isolation Fest

7 April 20 words: Caroline Barry

Imagine a festival where the music is great, it’s dry and comfy, drinks are cheap and plentiful and the toilets are actually clean - our community editor Caroline Barry shares what’s in store at WSO Isolation Fest this weekend...

The rise in indoor activities due to Covid-19 has meant festivals like this (along with pub quizzes, drag shows, comedy and more) have become actually, well, really good fun. This Saturday 11 April, We Shall Overcome (WSO) is organising a one day online festival in a bid to raise funds to help those in need from austerity cuts. 

We know what you’re thinking - who plays at an online festival, will there be tickets and what will replace the dodgy festival chip vans? 

The festival hosts a collection of national folk artists from Billy Bragg, Grace Petrie to Attila the Stockbroker. Some of the line up also includes local artists such as Pixie Styx, Andrew Bart Hawkins from Star Botherers, and Lytisha Tunbridge and others from Nottingham's Poetry Aloud Presents collective. In total, there is a long list of over 30 artists playing 20 sets in their own living room from midday.

As for dodgy chip vans, yer on your own there. 

WSO was started as a response from the music community to the worst excesses of austerity in 2015. Since then the organisers have run more than 1100 gigs raising an estimated £500,000 worth of food, cash, warm clothing and toiletries for food banks, homeless outreach, soup kitchens, crisis centres, youth projects and refugee support. 

WSO is a national organisation, with its Nottingham activities run by Pete Yen. He explains how Billy Bragg came on board: 

“The festival started out as a Facebook post asking for folk to volunteer short live-streamed sets. Everyone on the original bill stepped up and offered to play. They'd all previously played at various WSO gigs. Some folk had been nudging us to invite him, and others nudging him to offer, so even though he missed the deadline, we couldn’t really not include Billy!” 

The WSO have another online gig lined up on the 24th of April including performances from Pixie Styx, Jack Scrimshaw, Lytisha Tunbridge, Andy Vee, Emma Ireland, Paul Carbuncle & King of Rome. The gig will support the work of Mesopotamia, a Nottingham based charity who work with those in poverty or struggling in austerity. 

Grab yer can of choice and get tickets by heading online. It’s free but come on now - donate if you can.

WSO Isolation Fest will live stream online on Saturday 11 April, from 12 noon.
Website and info.

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