Whilst the festival season has been all-but cancelled for 2020, one of the most innovative and ambitious digital festivals to be staged during lockdown has been announced. Reading like a who’s who of talent for the country, Nottstopping Festival will see the best of music, comedy, TV, film, poetry and more appear online across 23rd and 24th May.
Line of Duty star Vicky McClure, This is England director Shane Meadows, award-winning artist Wolfgang Buttress, BBC’s The Big Painting Challenge Diana Ali and acclaimed documentary filmmaker Jeanie Finlay will all be involved for a mammoth 150 hours of streaming and eight community connect projects to get the whole of Nottinghamshire involved, whilst TV and film actor Esther Coles will be joined by friend and fellow actor Jane Horrocks for a new comedy piece devised for the festival.
Alex Bond is blazing a trail at Alchemilla in Nottingham, where his innovative dishes have made him one of the most exciting chefs in the country. Awarded a Michelin Star just two years after opening the Derby Road restaurant, Alex will be doing a cookalong for the festival, whilst Nottingham born MC and a pivotal figure in the UK underground dance scene Bru-C will be appearing on Light Hustle - the collaboration between Circle of Light and Hockley Hustle, showcasing new and emerging artists with more than 20 hours of music livestreams.
Over on the BBC Introducing stream, Dean Jackson will be sharing specially recorded songs from Mic favourites and band of the moment Do Nothing. The Nottingham quartet have caught the attention of music industry tastemakers and fans alike following the recent release of their Zero Dollar Bill EP rapidly building a reputation as one of the most formidable live acts in the country.
An all-female line up of Kanneh-Masons will see the sisters from the talented musical family playing together on the Royal Concert Hall stage, filmed especially for the festival. Pianist Isata - who is taking the classical world by storm - will be joined by younger sisters Konya, Jeneba, Aminata and Mariatu. Singer songwriter Rob Green - who has just released his new single Life Goes On with a video featuring 100s of people living life in lockdown - will be performing a set on the stage too.
Poetry buffs are in for a treat with appearances from Lemn Sissay MBE - the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics and chancellor of the University of Manchester and Roger McGough CBE - one of Britain’s best-loved poets and presenter of BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please. Writer, poet, TV and film producer Henry Normal - BAFTA winner and founder of Nottingham Poetry Festival - will be taking part too.
More than 20 care homes have signed up so far to have a good old singalong to some old favourite songs with rehearsals underway already! Everyone is invited to join in with the Pack Up Your Troubles singalong to share a special moment with everyone living and working in the county’s care homes. Tune in to BBC Radio Nottingham at 2pm on both days of the festival to join in.
Whilst an in-depth run-down of our music highlights will come closer to the event, Nottstopping Festival organiser and Hockley Hustle director Ben Welch lent us his highlights for what promises to be a special weekend for the whole community:
1. Light Hustle
“This will act as the main Nottstopping Stream and will feature 15 Light Hustle musicians performances each day along with our picks of the festival trying to represent as many as possible! Wish us luck!”
2. Kanneh Mason Sisters (Royal Concert Hall stage
“We love all of this incredible family but we're excited to have the female Kanneh Mason contingency performing a special set for Nottstopping Festival on the Royal Concert Hall Stage. A special one for sure.”
3. Truth and Lies - MHYH international line up
“The Light Hustle stream we ran last month had people from 12 countries tune in to watch and it's an absolute honour to now have a number of DJ's actually playing the festival from all over the world. From London to Palestine, California to Notts. It's sure to be epic with Truth and Lies at the helm.”
4. Rescue Rooms quiz with Kezz
“A staple night in my Nottingham history, there's nothing better to pick you out of a muggy day than an energy filled Kezz to bring you a Nottingham based quiz. A shame we can't all share a teapot of shots while we're watching…”
5. Q&A with Jeremy Pritchard from Everything Everything
“I'm quite new to the Everything Everything scene but am fully gripped by the music so am keen to hear how they make it from bassist Jeremy Pritchard!”
6. Inspire Youth Arts: Live Stream featuring talent from all over the county
“We work with Inspire Youth Arts a lot with our festivals (Hockley Hustle and Young Hustlers) and they always produce an incredible line up of ones to watch across the county. Proud to have them invovled!”
7. I'm Not From London: Musical collaboration projects
“Will Robinson is such an important member of the Nottingham music scene and as ever he's bringing musicians together to create some seriously special content for the festival. Notts So Long Songs are a collection of 30 second songs from over 20 Notts musicians and another special treat to be streamed as part of Light Hustle!”
Nottstopping is also asking people to nominate a frontline worker close to their heart for the chance for them to receive a special gift, treat or experience being pledged by generous businesses across Nottinghamshire. To submit a nomination, post a short video on Nottstopping Festival social media saying why they are your frontline hero and hashtag #nottstoppingheroes.
The festival will be streamed in full at www.nottstoppingfestival.com. Local broadcaster Notts TV will also be presenting a special programme of Nottstopping activities over the course of the weekend at www.nottstv.com and BBC Nottingham are broadcasting a singalong at 2pm and dancelong at 7pm both days.
The full programme will be announced on www.nottstoppingfestival.com from Thursday 14 May. Keep an eye out for stories in the media, and follow the Nottstopping social media to stay in touch.