Coronavirus: Bristol DJ’s ‘virtual festival’ for NHS is online hit

coronavirus bristol djs virtual festival for nhs is online hit - Coronavirus: Bristol DJ's 'virtual festival' for NHS is online hitImage copyright Gareth Welch
Image caption Gareth Welch assembled more than 70 fellow DJs and musicians who all took part from their homes

A DJ who staged a virtual festival to cheer people up during the coronavirus outbreak wants to hold the event for real once restrictions are lifted.

Gareth Welch, from Bristol, assembled more than 70 fellow DJs and musicians for a 12-hour event complete with different virtual stages.

He persuaded legendary DJ Mikee Freedom to perform live and also involved The Voice contestant Tony Billitteri.

Lockdown Live FTP (For The People), was watched by more than 60,000 people.

Mr Welch decided to hold the festival, which raised money for the NHS, on Easter Sunday after DJing live on Facebook for friends and family.

“I was just trying to make people happy and play requests and do shout-outs,” he said.

“The reaction was amazing, I had so many messages saying it was lifting people’s spirits. I thought right – let’s do this on a larger scale.

“I have a lot of friends who work at the RUH in Bath or the BRI in Bristol and I’ve realised what a strain they are under so I wanted to combine the festival with raising money for them.”

Image copyright Gareth Welch
Image caption Mikee Freedom, whose song I Wanna Give You Devotion was a UK top 10 hit in 1990, performed the track live
Image copyright DJ Gareth
Image caption Lockdown Live FTP involved different virtual stages and performers from across the UK, Spain and Bulgaria

After getting in touch with his contacts, Mr Welch put together the line-up in three days.

MC and vocalist Mikee Freedom, whose song I Wanna Give You Devotion was a UK top 10 hit in 1990, performed the track live.

Lockdown Live FTP involved people from across the UK and even Spain and Bulgaria, all performing from their own homes.

“From DJing in my conservatory in front of a shower curtain to my friends to holding a huge online festival, it was a rollercoaster,” said Mr Welch.

A second festival is planned, to raise money for mental health charities, and Mr Welch says he hopes to get all the performers together for a physical event for NHS staff and other keyworkers when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

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