Thousands stay home for 'virtual' festival raising thousands for Pendleside Hospice

Thousands stayed at home - and raised thousands of pounds for Pendleside Hospice - thanks to a morale-boosting virtual concert.

By Dominic Collis
Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 9:30 am

Popular Pendle singer Josh Hindle performed live on Facebook, alongside more than 40 other acts.

Listeners from as near as Colne to as far away as South Africa joined forces and tuned in last weekend to party at home in the virtual lockdown festival, which helped to raise nearly £12,500 for the hospice.

Josh (28) of Foulridge spent just two weeks rallying his contacts in the entertainment industry after a quick "light bulb moment" to put on a festival weekend that people could enjoy from the luxury of their living rooms.​

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Virtual festival-goers

Josh created a Facebook group which essentially would be "the field" where thousands would gather to enjoy top class entertainment from over 45 acts of all varities.

The group managed to reach 8,153 people and on Friday at 3pm , Burnley FC's Jay Rodriguez offically opened the virtual gates and the festival was alive from the off!

Josh acted as host/compere for the weekend but not before throwing in a few performances of his own by kicking off the action at 3-30pm.

He said: "I managed to put together a top dollar line up of acts which featured local names such as Matt Whatley, Baxter Rhodes, Frankie and Steve, Russell Shaun and more to even bigger names such as Benidorm's number one comedy act 'Pablo Bloom' who all live streamed a 30 minute set into the group where those who were part of the group could watch from home. Some even used technology to cast the stream to their televisions.​

Scarlett and Josh

"To make it even more interesting, I wanted to encourage people to dress up like they were going to a real life festival, to decorate their homes like a festival camping area and to send videos of themselves in dancing and singing along to all the acts."​

During the lead up to the festival, the group grew by the thousands every day and Josh jumped on Facebook Live to provide fund-raising updates and more.

Hundreads of photos were sent in of beautifully decorated gardens, while Josh and the team even organised and sold t-shirts with their specially designed logo on the front.

Flower crowns were sold and delivered around the area, while fesitival dresses were sold and delivered so people could wear them on the day. Josh even arranged to have bespoke beer kegs made, designed and delivered to auction and raffle off!.

Josh added: "We really wanted to get busy organising something during these sad and strange times. I'm usually on the go none stop travelling around the UK singing and organising events and we thought if people buy this idea and go along with it, it really will take people's minds off what is going on in the real world and it did!

"I had the help from my girlfriend Scarlett who was incredibly supportive and worked hard keeping the fund-raising board up to date and also my uncle Steve who although was working as a front line worker all weekend, was also very supportive and helpful in the admin side of the Facebook group.

"It was a lot of fun and we were incredibly proud of what we achieved and I'm also very proud to say I'm from the Pendle area. The people were so supportive and we simply could'nt have done it without their love, enthusiasm and imagination!"​

Anyone who would like to donate can still do so until the end of the week at JustGiving.com/fundraising/hospicefestival​

"I would like to personally thank everyone who 'took part' and I'm happy that even only for three days we managed to bring joy, laughter and love to people in these tough times and re-unite people, albeit over the power of social media."