Willfest20: it wasn’t the norm, but what a show !

What does a normal Willfest look like? Well, usually there are hundreds of people; there’s 8 hours of loud, live music; there’s comedy; there are local businesses selling all sorts from lip balm to burgers; and  there are always conversations about Will and warm hugs. It’s a great coming together to celebrate Will’s life.

So what do you do, when we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and social distancing means we can’t get within 2 meters of each other?

Well, you go online.

With a little bit of vision, and a huge helping of technical know-how, we brought together performances by local artists and had our first YouTube Premiere.

There were performances from bands in their garage (Baltimore Jacks), in the countryside (Acoustic Union), and even in their spare bedroom (Lee Brown). We had hilarious performances from Will Marler and Ian Eckloff and we joined Megan and Jess and Pete and many others in various rooms in their homes. And it was all topped off with a staggering performance from SPG that can only be described as enthusiastic!

With the help of our supporters we also brought messages of self-care (Beth Morton Riley), and the importance of talking (Ben Taylor) throughout the event: after all, WTF aims to help young people in particular, make more informed decisions about their own well-being, and Willfest was a great vehicle for this.

Willfest is our biggest fundraiser of the year so we had to get creative with how to do this online – and throughout the video there are reminders of ways to donate. Huge thanks to everyone who donated, continued to donate, or encouraged someone else to donate. We do appreciate every donation: every penny will help us pay for books and resources in our Well Being Libraries.

Huge thanks go to every performer, and every supporter of every performer, who helped come up with innovative ways to perform. Thanks especially to Will Marler whose idea it was to try the Youtube Premier and who tirelessly and brilliantly put the whole thing together. (You can link to the replay on the WTF Youtube channel here).

It was an incredible show and something WTF are enormously proud of.

Next year? Let’s wait and see…

Our gratitude and thanks to all the following performers:

Peter Holsworth
Acoustic Union
Richard Jenkins
Will Marler
Kingfisher Blue
Megan & Liv
Lee Brown
Liquid Brass
Baltimore Jacks



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