Virtual folk festival nets £21,000 for performers and WGC charity Willow

Willow supporters at last year's Folk by the Oak music festival in Hatfield. Picture: Daniel Naylor

Willow supporters at last year's Folk by the Oak music festival in Hatfield. Picture: Daniel Naylor

Daniel Naylor

A Hatfield music festival’s virtual offering has raised more than £21,000 – with half going to a WGC-based charity currently celebrating its 21st birthday.

Folk by the Oak's 'Family Nest' Fest line-up entertained folk fans online. The virtual festival has raised more than £20,000. Picture: Folk by the OakFolk by the Oak's 'Family Nest' Fest line-up entertained folk fans online. The virtual festival has raised more than £20,000. Picture: Folk by the Oak

With Folk by the Oak cancelled at Hatfield House this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers held a not-for-profit online event instead.

July’s ‘Family Nest’ Fest featured a series of exclusive performances from the likes of folk festival favourites Seth Lakeman, Richard Thompson, Nancy Kerr & Jess Arrowsmith, Julie Fowlis and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

There were also video performances from festival patron Jim Moray, Seckou Keita, Kitty Macfarlane and Spell Songs.

FBTO fans have since donated £21,056 to a GoFundMe campaign, which will be split 50/50 between the performers, so many of whom have lost their livelihood due to the recent situation, and the festival’s chosen charity, Welwyn Hatfield-based Willow.

A FBTO spokesperson said: “With no festival this year we went online with a digital offering of distilled ‘Folk by the Oakness’ to enjoy at home. ‘Family Nest’ Fest brought a little Folk by the Oak magic into your houses and gardens; an online festival filled with exclusive material from a host of incredible folk musicians, art, craft, and shared moments of well-being, all raising funds for great causes.

“Thanks to everyone’s generosity and kindness, we have raised £21,056 to be shared between the Willow charity and the participating musicians.

“We can’t thank you enough and the team here are overjoyed at the great vibes that have emanated from this event.

“You have helped to keep the positivity alive during tough and unprecedented times.

“A great big socially distanced hug to you all!”

Charity Willow arranges ‘Special Days’ for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40.

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Festival organisers added: “Although our GoFundMe campaign has now ended, you are always most welcome to donate to willowfoundation.org at any time.”

The ‘Family Nest’ Fest premiered online on Sunday, July 19.

Although you can no longer view the full ‘Family Nest’ Fest video, FBTO promoters have compiled a highlights show which you can find on the festival’s website at folkbytheoak.com.


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