Hope Fest is a not-for-profit multi-venue music festival taking place from 18th to 20th September 2015.
This year’s festival is bigger than ever, and features over 200 bands and solo artists performing at 15 venues across the region.
Hope Fest is unique in that instead of asking festival goers for money they take payment ‘in kind’ in the form of donations of items that directly benefit the homeless community in Liverpool (such as food and clothing).
As you’d expect, there are plenty of acoustic performers taking part, including Liverpool Acoustic’s Derek King who’ll be hosting at Sound Food and Drink on Saturday 20th September from 3.00pm until late.
We work in conjunction with homeless services in Liverpool such as Crisis, The Big Issue, The Choir With No Name, The Whitechapel Centre and The Basement Advisory Centre to create a list of required donations (including food, clothing and toiletries) which we call a ‘Hope Pack’ for collection and to distribute these to those homeless people who need them after the festival. Music is the perfect way to engage the public in donating to the homeless community in Liverpool as well as raising awareness and breaking down barriers.
We have a proven track record that this is a successful venture. This is our second year and the 2014 festival was a huge success. The festival was held in 5 venues across the city centre and we gave out over 400 wristbands in exchange for ‘Hope Packs’. Venues were packed out, and the spirit of kindness echoed throughout the city.
Hope Fest also runs training and development programmes for the homeless, through festival work experience positions. We run training programmes on skills such as stage management, artist liaison, festival ambassador, promotion and general administration. The skills taught will then be put to use during the planning of the festival and the festival weekend itself. This goes towards integrating the homeless back into ‘normal’ society and helps to break down barriers between the homeless and the general public. As well as skills and experience, this will help build confidence and self esteem and hopefully inspire those involved to make positive changes towards finding shelter and employment.
We are also providing work experience roles to the general public including Liverpool’s university students. The training we provide will also feature specific elements on how to deal with any potential issues raised by the homeless and how to deal with sometimes tricky situations.
Furthermore, this year we will be reserving performance slots for the homeless. Crisis’ resident band will be performing, as well as the Choir With No Name and many more acts by those who have experienced homelessness.
We founded this festival as there is a homelessness crisis in Liverpool and numbers of homeless people continue to rise. Levels of rough sleeping have risen sharply recently, with the national ‘snapshot’ count showing a 38% increase between autumn 2010 to autumn 2013 (DfCLG, 2014). ‘Hidden homelessness’ in the form of overcrowded, concealed and shared households has also increased recently. Whitechapel is the leading homelessness charity for Liverpool City Region, based in Liverpool, providing assistance to a spectrum of homeless clients including some homeless families, although the majority will be single homeless, rough sleeping or vulnerably housed. Whitechapel noted that a record number of 2,286 Merseysiders used its services in 2012/13 –– a 27% increase from the previous year (Whitechapel Centre, 2013).
The organisations we work with such as Crisis, The Big Issue, The Choir With No Name, The Whitechapel Centre and The Basement Advisory Centre will also be on hand to give advice over the festival period as well as their service users being involved in the arts and music workshops which we will be putting on for them over the weekend.
Hope Fest is a Community Interest Company/CIC Number: 9589568
Liverpool Acoustic is the only website of its kind in the UK. It was founded by Graham Holland in April 2008 as a central resource for the vibrant and exciting acoustic music scene in Liverpool and the Greater Merseyside area. The website publishes news from the local acoustic music scene, previews of upcoming events, reviews of music releases and gigs, and the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight podcast. This content is available for free via email subscription. The diary lists acoustic events including festivals, theatre concerts, folk clubs, showcases and open mic nights.