Thousands log-on for Rugby Live
RUGBY'S first online festival celebrating the best of the borough's music, arts and heritage attracted nearly 15,000 viewers.
Rugby Live, organised to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, streamed live sets from bands and solo acts playing at the Benn Hall, together with a series of pre-recorded performances and demonstrations showcasing dance, poetry, theatre, art and social history.
The free festival, streamed over the weekend of 31 July to 2 August, attracted an audience of nearly 15,000 viewers over the three days, with more viewers still watching the festival footage on 'catch-up' via the Art Gallery and Museum's Facebook page.
Jo Bailey, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's arts development officer, said: "Organising an online festival was a real step into the unknown for us but we've been thrilled by the support we have received, both from the borough's artistic community and the audience who watched at home.
"While it was important for us to mark our 20th anniversary despite the lockdown, it was equally important to support Rugby's artistic community which has been denied the opportunity to showcase its talent during the coronavirus pandemic."
Handball Alley, one of the bands to perform at Rugby Live, released debut album The Moon's Not Real during lockdown and the festival gave the duo a first opportunity to play the songs live.
Singer-songwriter James Grady said: "It's been a very dark time for music and while playing to an empty room was strange, it was better than not playing at all.
"It was so nice to play the songs back-to-back and deliver them to people."
The festival streams can be viewed on the Art Gallery and Museum's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/artsinrugby
Cllr Jill Simpson-Vince, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: "The team at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum have worked hard to overcome the obstacles presented by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, creating innovative online content which culminated in Rugby Live.
"The success of Rugby Live and the skills developed to make it happen mean the team has already started to explore a number of new ideas to complement the Art Gallery and Museum's work with unique online content.
"Now the Art Gallery and Museum has reopened, together with the World Rugby Hall of Fame and Rugby Visitor Centre, we're delighted to be welcoming back visitors and moving closer towards 'business as usual'."
To book a visit to Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, and to find out information about events and exhibitions, visit www.ragm.co.uk