The Wokingham Paper

Readipop goes online in bid to beat coronavirus

Hannah Williams and the Affirmations Readipop
Hannah Williams and the Affirmations

IT’S ONE of the sounds of the summer and it was meant to be a big party – this year Readipop Festival turns five.

But the event, due to have been held in Reading’s Christchurch Meadows, can’t go ahead as planned.  So it’s going online.

The line-up for the Virtual Readipop Festival 2020 has been unveiled.

The three-hour live show takes place on Saturday, July 11, between 2pm and 5pm.  Music lovers can tune in via the internet and enjoy some special lockdown live sets from a host of acts including Mercury Music Prize winner Badly Drawn Boy.

There will be fun for children, a celebration of poetry, cooking lessons and a host of other surprises.

And best of all, the event will be free to enjoy.

But there’s a serious side too: the event aims to raise funds for its work providing access to music for vulnerable young people and other under-represented communities through donations and the Readipop Friends scheme.

Joining Badly Drawn Boy, will be world-renowned human beatboxer Beardyman and Jay-Z sampled soul powerhouse Hannah Williams & The Affirmations head up the line-up with Beardyman performing a live, improvised and interactive set, similar to his mainstage headlining set at Readipop Festival 2017.

And there’s a diverse array of new and established musical talent including Nigel Clark, frontman of 90s indie favourites Dodgy, eighties reggae chart topper Musical Youth, 6Music championed newcomer Freya Beer and T.S. Elliot prize winning poet Roger Robinson

Supporting local talent is a key goal of both Readipop Festival and Readipop’s charity work. The virtual Readipop Festival 2020 line-up reflects the quality and variety of local acts including powerful soul from Tabi Gazele, reggae from The Drop and Culturemix, singer songwriters Amya Ray, Siôn Sollis and Ophelia Ray, Vocal Networking’s hip hop and rnb artists and indie rockers Searchlight Sun. All of Readipop’s community bands make special appearances too.

“We were so disappointed to have to reschedule our fifth Birthday Readipop Festival until next year as it was set to be our best one yet” says Readipop Festival Director Gavin Lombos.

“However, the positive response and overriding support we received from ticketholders, artists, staff and volunteers inspired us to mark the occasion with an online Readipop Festival experience which brings together all the elements that make the festival so special.

“Over three hours, we’ll be presenting a unique mix of special lockdown performances.

“We’re particularly excited to have such strong headliner in Badly Drawn Boy, whose new album is up there with his best, Beardyman, who blew us away with his incredible vocal looping skills when he headlined our second Readipop Festival in 2017 and Hannah Williams & The Affirmations who will bring the full sound of her funk/soul ensemble through the wonder of split screen.”

In addition to the music, younger viewers can take part in a Jellytots arts workshop hosted by local art collective Jelly, Readipop’s WOMAD craft workshop and enjoy Professor Queen Bee’s puppet show. Also, budding cooks of all ages can learn how to make the perfect meatball naan wrap with award winning food stall holders The Bowler.

The virtual Readipop Festival will be available to stream at and on Readipop Festival’s Facebook page and Youtube channels from 2pm-5pm on Saturday, July 11.

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