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Hoylake’s Summer Strum Ukulele Festival is going online with bands from across the North West taking part to raise thousands of pounds for two Wirral charities.
Video performances by ukulele acts from Liverpool, Wirral, Cheshire, Lancashire and beyond will be screened during a free day of music on Facebook and YouTube, on Saturday, July 4.
Among them are Liverpool bands the Splintered Ukes and the D’Ukes of Hazzard, the Secret Ukulele band and the Travelling Wannabes both from Crosby, the Bowie Ukes from Huyton, and Broken Strings and the Two of Us from the Wirral.
There will also be three interactive ukulele jam sessions throughout the day and music workshops which people can join in from home on Zoom and Facebook, as well as a live yoga and meditation sessions, storytelling, poetry readings, a quiz and a raffle.
The event is free but anyone who logs on is asked to make a donation if they can, in aid of the festival’s two nominated charities, Wirral Mind and Wirral Hospice St Johns, with already more than £600 raised towards a £2,000 target.
Three special hour-long slots will dedicated to ‘Jukebox Heroes’ – musicians who have been entertaining each other during lockdown by posting videos of themselves performing at home in a Summer Strum Jukebox Facebook group.
They include the Cassidy family from Wavertree, with mum and dad Ian and Sara Cassidy, both members of the Bowie Ukes, and their three children Alfie, aged 10, Ruby, aged 8, Pearl, aged 4, who have been wowing audiences with their raucous versions of rock, pop and dance tunes including as the Prodigy’s Firestarter, Praise You by Fat Boy Slim, Uprising by Muse, and Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes.
The Jukebox Heroes also include Splintered Ukes frontman Lewis Dinsdale, a headteacher at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School in Litherland, alongside solo artists from acts such as Scottish band the Small-town Splitters and Wirral band Broken Strings.
The Summer Strum online festival will kick off with a free yoga session on Zoom from Liverpool wellbeing experts YinYan, which people can join in with from home from 9.30am. It will be followed by a meditation session from YinYan, then a family singalong from Wirral-based music for health advocate Bexi Owen at 11.30am.
This will be followed by an interactive ‘Jam & Toast’ live ukulele jam session hosted by Liverpool band the D’Ukes of Hazzard, who will lead players of all ages to strum along at home with popular classics ranging from Johnny Cash’s Folson Prison Blues to Erasure’s Respect, from a songbook that is available to download on the Summer Strum website.
Videos sent in by performers from across the region specially for the festival will be aired at intervals throughout the day starting with the YinYanBand, Helen Maw, El D’uke and Liverpool Ukulele Orchestra from 1.30pm-2.30pm.
Wirral duo the Two Of Us will kick off the 3.30pm-4.30pm bands slot, also set to include the Bowie Ukes from Huyton, Liverpool Music Lab, solo artist Alison Benson, and the D’Ukes of Hazzard.
Between 5.30pm and 6.30pm acts will include BWGTattoo, the Remnants, Travelling Wannabes from Crosby, Midlife Crisis, and Sebukulele from Paris.
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The ‘bands stage’ finale will feature Liverpool band the Splintered Ukes, Broken Strings from the Wirral, and the Secret Ukulele band from Crosby, from 7.30pm-8.30pm, followed by a jam into the night.
The Summer Strum was set up to help spread joy and wellbeing in the Merseyside community through the power of music. Part-funded by the National Lottery, it is entirely volunteer-run, with more than £18,000 raised for the two charities since 2014.
This was due to be the event’s sixth year running, with more than 50 acts lined up to play at Hoylake Rugby club where last year more than 2,000 people attended over three days.
With lockdown restrictions preventing mass gatherings organisers Pat Ross Davies from West Kirby, Emma Owen from Birkenhead, and Dave Cornett from Rock Ferry, have pulled out all the stops to put on a free on-line festival instead.
Anyone can tune in to watch and take part in this year’s on-line festival, from 9.30am until 9.30pm, by following the links from the Hoylake Summer Strum Facebook page and website.
Summer Strum founder Pat Ross Davies is living with cancer and receiving treatment at Clatterbridge hospital so she has been shielding throughout the pandemic and is setting up a garden studio to help introduce acts with husband Ian.
She said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and shielding through lockdown has been incredible tough and the support from the ukulele community has helped keep me going – music is like my second medicine and so it is very special indeed to be able to host the event on-line while we continue to stay at home.
“We are really excited to be able to showcase some fantastic performances from some of the best and most fun ukulele acts from across Merseyside and beyond, and hope people will log on to join in the fun throughout the day.”
Also hosting will be fellow festival organisers Emma Owen who plays in Wirral band Broken Strings with Pat as well as being half of the Two of Us, and Dave Cornett who plays with the D’Ukes of Hazzard and the YinYanBand.
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