HOYLAKE'S Summer Strum ukulele festival is going online this weekend to raise cash for charities and give people some cheer during lockdown.

Video performances by ukulele acts from Wirral, Liverpool, Cheshire, Lancashire and beyond will be screened during a free day of music on Facebook and YouTube, on Saturday.

Among them are Liverpool bands The Splintered Ukes and The D’Ukes of Hazzard, the Secret Ukulele band and The Travelling Wannabes from Crosby, the Bowie Ukes from Huyton, and Broken Strings and the Two of Us from Wirral.

There will also be three interactive ukulele jam sessions through the day and music workshops which people can join in from home on Zoom and Facebook, as well as a live yoga and meditation sessions, storytelling, poetry readings, a quiz and a raffle.

The event is free but anyone logging on will be asked to make a donation, if they can, in aid of the festival's two nominated charities Wirral Mind and Wirral Hospice St Johns, with already more than £600 raised towards a £2,000 target.

Part-funded by the National Lottery, it is entirely volunteer-run and has raised more than £18,000 for the two charities since 2014.

This was due to be the event’s sixth year running, with more than 50 acts lined up to play at Hoylake Rugby club where last year more than 2,000 people attended over three days.

With lockdown restrictions preventing mass gatherings organisers Pat Ross Davies from West Kirby, Emma Owen from Birkenhead, and Dave Cornett from Rock Ferry, have pulled out all the stops to put on a free on-line festival instead.

Emma, said: "Every cloud has a silver lining and we are excited to be able take the festival online.

"Using the power of technology, we will be featuring performances from some of our favourite acts from the Summer Strum over the years.

"We will also be hosting jam sessions via Zoom, ukulele workshops, yoga & mindfulness, storytelling and poetry.

"We continue to support Wirral Hospice St Johns and Wirral Mind and we encourage anyone who can to make a donation via the links on our Facebook page as charities need our help more than ever.”

Three special hour-long slots will dedicated to ‘Jukebox Heroes' - musicians who have been entertaining each other during lockdown by posting videos of themselves performing at home in a Summer Strum Jukebox Facebook group.

They include the Cassidy family from Wavertree, with mum and dad Ian and Sara Cassidy, both members of the Bowie Ukes, and their three children Alfie, aged 10, Ruby, aged 8, Pearl, aged four, who have been wowing audiences with their raucous versions of rock, pop and dance tunes including as the Prodigy's Firestarter, Praise You by Fat Boy Slim, Uprising by Muse, and Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

The Jukebox Heroes also include Splintered Ukes frontman Lewis Dinsdale, a headteacher at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School in Litherland, alongside solo artists from acts such as Scottish band the Small-town Splitters and Wirral band Broken Strings.

The Summer Strum online festival will kick off with a free yoga session on Zoom from Liverpool wellbeing experts YinYan, which people can join in with from home from 9.30am.

It will be followed by a meditation session from YinYan, then a family singalong from Wirral-based music for health advocate Bexi Owen at 11.30am.

This will be followed by an interactive 'Jam & Toast' live ukulele jam session hosted by Liverpool band the D’Ukes of Hazzard, who will lead players of all ages to strum along at home with popular classics ranging from Johnny Cash's Folson Prison Blues to Erasure’s Respect, from a songbook that is available to download on the Summer Strum website.

Videos sent in by performers from across the region specially for the festival will be aired at intervals throughout the day starting with the YinYanBand, Helen Maw, El D’uke and Liverpool Ukulele Orchestra from 1.30pm-2.30pm.

Some feature split-screen band collaborations created during lockdown, others feature solo performances and archive footage from previous gigs.

Wirral due the Two Of Us will kick off the 3.30pm-4.30pm bands slot, also set to include the Bowie Ukes from Hoyton, Liverpool Music Lab, solo artist Alison Benson, and the D’Ukes of Hazzard.

Between 5.30pm and 6.30pm acts will include BWGTattoo, the Remnants, Travelling Wannabes from Crosby, Midlife Crisis, and Sebukulele from Paris.

The ‘bands stage’ finale will feature Liverpool band the Splintered Ukes, Broken Strings from the Wirral, and the Secret Ukulele band from Crosby, from 7.30pm-8.30pm and this will be followed by a jam into the night.

Anyone can tune in to watch and take part in this year’s on-line festival, from 9.30am until 9.30pm, by following the links from the Hoylake Summer Strum Facebook page and website.

Co-organiser Pat Ross Davies, a grandmother of two, took the lead in a special split-screen video created by the Summer Strum team for VE Day, singing Vera Lynn's We’ll Meet Again, which will also be streamed at the festival.

She said: "The Covid-19 pandemic and shielding through lockdown has been incredible tough and the support from the ukulele community has helped keep me going - music is like my second medicine and so it is very special indeed to be able to host the event on-line while we continue to stay at home.

“We are really excited to be able to showcase some fantastic performances from some of the best and most fun ukulele acts from across Merseyside and beyond, and hope people will log on to join in the fun throughout the day.”

For more information and to download the Summer Strum 2020 songbook visit www.summerstrum.com or find the event on Facebook @SummerStrumHoylake