On 7 April Vans For Bands announced that it was offering its entire fleet of state-of-the-art luxury sleeper buses to NHS hospitals for front-line staff to use for the duration of the current COVID-19 crisis.
The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge and Whittington Health NHS Trust in north London, Lewisham Hospital in south London and North Tees Hospital in Stockton-on-Tees have been the first hospitals in the UK to take advantage of the offer with sleeper buses parked up on site.
In order to boost donations via the JustGiving page and enable them to continue to cover only the running costs of keeping these buses parked up on site Vans For Bands, in association with DIY Magazine, will be hosting BUS-TIVAL, a 10 hour live streamed event, between midday and 10pm on Saturday 25th April.
The free-to-view and ground breaking event will be hosted on Vans For Bands’ Facebook page and will not only feature an eclectic mix of new and established artists taking part including Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols), Frank Turner, Will Varley, Willie J Healey, Soph Nathan (Our Girl), Skinny Lister, Whenyoung, SHVPES, Colin Macleod, New Pagans, Yonaka, Grace Petrie, Malena Zavala, Caro, Alex Paterson (The Orb), Oscar Pollock (Sundara Karma), Seil Lien, Low Island, Matt Wilson, Jess Guise and The Sad Song Co but also live link ups with NHS doctors and nurses on board the buses.
DIY will be sharing these performances simultaneously in their live feed to their 450,000 Facebook followers.
Ed Thomson, director and co-owner of Vans For Bands, says:
“Despite the fact that the live music industry has been decimated by the effects of social distancing due to COVID-19, we are so pleased to see the music industry coming together to bring BUS-TIVAL to the public free of charge. A huge thank you to our partners at DIY Magazine and indeed the artists themselves without which this exciting and ground breaking event would not be possible.”
Rupert Vereker, director of DIY Magazine, says:
“When we were approached by Vans for Bands and heard what an amazing thing they were doing for frontline NHS staff, it was a no brainer that we would help raise awareness of this incredible cause and be media partner to the live stream event. This is wonderful example of people in the music industry, all with different talents, coming together to do something really important, despite their own industry being destroyed by the virus. There have been huge sums raised for the NHS, but this is a fundraiser to ensure frontline NHS staff continue to enjoy the rock star treatment they deserve, here and now.”
Singer song writer and voice of his generation Frank Turner says:
“Seeing the music industry come together in this unprecedented and scary time to use its skills and resources to help our NHS is a wonderful thing. I’ve worked with VFB for years, travelled and slept on most of these buses, and it warms my heart to see them being used by frontline workers. I’m more than happy to lend a hand raising funds to make sure this continues.”
Alan Sheppard, Chief People Officer for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said:
“COVID-19 is the biggest threat that our generation has faced so far, bringing with it uncertainty for us all. That said, NHS staff from across the country have come together and risen to the challenge to keep the local communities safe. But this sense of togetherness goes beyond the healthcare service – businesses, public sector organisations and charities have all transformed their daily operations to support this national fight. Vans For Bands are no exception, this innovative offer of respite for our clinicians is a lifeline for all. BUS-TIVAL will really lift the spirits of our staff, not to mention the vital fundraising that will contribute towards the running of the buses.”