WHILE many of us are struggling to fill the long days of lockdown, Lorraine Baker has never been busier. At the same time all the big festivals are cancelling their summer events, Lorraine and her team are putting the finishing touches to what promises to be the biggest weekend of music in Oxford this year.

Lockdown Festival, which runs from 11am till late on Saturday and Sunday, is a free, four-stage extravaganza with live music, dancing, workshops, classes and general fun for all ages. With about 90 quality acts, it offers a rare chance to let down our hair and party – while raising money for the NHS and Oxfordshire Mind.

The only thing which separates it from a regular festival, is the venue: our own homes.

“We are organising an virtual festival live streamed to our audience’s living rooms,” smiles Lorraine.

“We are doing it to spread some love and put smiles on peoples faces

through use of the arts. We have enough variety that there will be something for everyone. And its’ a family friendly event so all are welcome.”

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Lorraine Baker

The line-up features a mix of festival favourites, familiar names and new talent. There is live music from Madam Jesus, HUX, Call Me Tiece, Gnarly, Mixed Signals Bronwyn Leonard, Catgod and more. DJ sets by East Oxford’s iconic reggae, rocksteady and ska DJ Count Skylarkin (Disco Shed), Deep Cover (Rinse), Mr Bacon (Musical Medicine), global beatmasters El Niño, DJ Animal, and DJ Binge of the Dutty Moonshine Big Band.

Then there will be yoga, painting and drawing classes, a belly dancing workshop, guided meditation live from Cape Town courtesy of the super-chilled Nisreen, piano karaoke, a beatbox workshop and fitness classes – with a Lycra 80s Party aerobics class to help get us warmed up – helping avoid sprains and pulled muscles during what is expected to be some raucous isolated partying and dynamic dancing later on.

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Lorraine says: “We’ve got as much as we could pack into the weekend to offer as much variety as we can, given the short space of time we had to set this up.”

The fun-loving Oxford music-lover hit upon the idea when she saw the summer’s big music events being called off, one by one, because of coronavirus. She had been hoping to work as a glamping reception manager but was left searching for another way to find her festival fix.

“Normally at this time of year, a few festivals will have already happened and people would be looking forward to a summer packed with events,” she says.

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“As this year is different for obvious reasons, I still wanted to bring a full festival line-up to people from the comfort of their own homes. All the action is being live streamed from lockdownfestival.co.uk. Although it is being re-streamed to other places, this is the most accessible place as it will be easy to flick between stages and the set times list will all be in one place.

“People can also comment on the live chat for each of our stages. All posts with #lockdownfestival2020 will come up on our website so people can share pictures of themselves getting involved in the belly dancing workshop or their results after an art class! It will also help us to choose competition winners.”

Lorraine, who lives in Botley, is being helped by her close team of Hannah Davies, Ed Maier, Sam Cross and four stage managers.

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“I could not have put this together without the help of the whole team,” she says. “I’m overwhelmed by people’s responses and positivity towards the idea and how much everyone has wanted to get involved.”

And, she says, it really is one of a kind: “There have been other online festivals that have been popping up online but I like to think that ours is a little bit different and offers a really full variety of things over the two days.”

Highlights, she says, are too many to mention but she singled out a few names as unmissable.

“We’ve really got some fantastic talent,” she says. “I’m going to try and catch bits of as much as possible while overseeing the event. I think the Lycra 80’s Party aerobics class will be fun, high energy and with positive vibes. I’m interested to see if I have any belly dancing ability, so will be also checking out that workshop.

“Tessa, who plays under the name Call Me Tiece, has an amazing voice and is releasing her first solo single tomorrow, so I’ll be checking out her set too.

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“Mixed signals are doing something a little bit different, performing as a band while separately isolated, so I’m interested to see this. And they are doing a set of rave, dance, and drum & bass classic covers which will have me singing along for sure!

“I am not playing personally, but I will be hosting the event from my garden festival set up, like Jo Whiley at Glastonbury!”

And she is encouraging us all to join the festival spirit.

“Ideally I want people tuning in at home, dressed up and donning all of the glitter, sequins, sparkles and face paint they can get their hands on.

“Put up your tent, bunting and fairy lights up and grab a few quarantini’s! There will be competitions and I have had some great prizes donated from local small businesses.”

She adds: “I’m doing it to spread some love and put smiles on peoples faces and to raise money for two great causes.

“I just wanted to do something to bring friends and family together virtually, and give people something to look forward to – while reaching as many people as possible.”

Lockdown Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday and is free. See lockdownfestival.co.uk. Donations welcome to the and NHS and Oxfordshire Mind via justgiving.com.


Go to www.lockdownfestival.co.uk for a stream of the festival. Choose from the set list and click on which 'stage' live stream you want. Each stream will have the festival logo on and a live comment facility to get people interacting with each other. Please donate if you can


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Lorraine's top tips for a luscious Lockdown

  • Tahaty's belly dancing workshop should not be missed
  • Count Skylarkin' has been making people move since the 90s. He is one of the hardest-working, quickest-mixing, all-vinyl, reggae, rocksteady, ska, dancehall, dynamite DJs around.
  • El Niño are a collective of DJs who specialise in global dancefloor sounds ranging from East African highlife/benga/soukous, Afrobeat, Vintage cumbia/calypso/mambo from South America, tropical discotheque from the Caribbean islands and much, much more!
  • Nisreen is going to be live streaming from Cape Town and will be giving us a guided meditation to help you calm the mind and alleviate stress using your breath and reconnecting to your heart space
  • Lana from Love Art Workshops will be giving an art class. The techniques you will learn will be a great way to incorporate different backgrounds in a collage. You can make a festival colourful version of yourself. She will be using acrylic oil paint, different collage materials and Sharpies.
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  • Bronwyn Leonard will be performing a live set of her upcoming release 'Under Her Skin' and a few of her own songs with some upbeat acoustic covers for everyone to dance and sing along with at home.
  • Catgod are a five-piece band centred around brother-sister duo Robin and Cat. They're playing the Lockdown festival as a three-piece. Together they create 'effortlessly charming, folk-inspired songs'. Single 'Heartbeat in my Hand' was premiered by The Line of Best Fit, who described it as 'a joyously breathtaking listen, pinned down by soft piano melodies and delicate harmonies'. Several singles have been aired by Tom Robinson (BBC Radio 6) and Don Letts (BBC Radio 6). Single Someone Love, was featured by Lauren Lavern (BBC Radio 1) as her 'Headphones Moment'. She said 'I heard this and loved it'.
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