A COUNTY music festival is going ahead virtually this summer with big names already signed up.

Woo Fest, which will be streamed live due to social distancing, will feature a mix of live and pre-recorded sets hosted by Richard “Hursty” Hurst.

The festival has secured big name acts including Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Grant Nicholas from Feeder and Toyah Willcox along with Nigel Clark from Dodgy and Andy Bennett, formerly of Ocean Colour Scene.

The family-friendly festival, which donates every penny to St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester, was set up in 2015 by Luke Simons and his sister, Ria, in memory of their Dad, John. Last year Woo Fest was named Best Small Festival at the UK Festival Awards in London.

Mr Simons said: “We’ve been blown away by the response from artists keen to take part in a virtual festival this year and support the care that St Richard’s provides locally at the same time.

“With the help of our friends at creative communication agency DRPG, who are streaming the event live on their website, we’re hoping to bring some festival fun to those missing live music events and so much more this summer.”

Since its inception, Woo Fest has raised more than £57,000 for St Richard’s Hospice. Mr Simons added: “It won’t be a ticketed event this year - anyone can watch online for free - but what we do ask is that people dig deep and make a donation to St Richard’s while they watch.

“Donations can be made quickly and easily online, by text and by phone. Let’s come together to celebrate some great music and make a difference for local people at the same time.”

Tricia Cavell, fundraising director for St Richard’s Hospice, said: “It’s a worrying time for charities like us with fundraising events cancelled and charity shops only now beginning to reopen.

“With three quarters of our funding coming from generous fundraisers and supporters, we’re having to think of new and innovative ways to fund our care.Without amazing community support like this, we simply couldn’t continue our care for patients and loved ones when they need us most.”

Woo Fest runs from 3pm until 10.30pm on Saturday, July 4 and will be live streamed via DRPG at https://virtualwoofest.drpg.events

To find out more, visit www.strichards.org.uk/event/woofest