From acid house documentaries to ‘Zooming’ choirs, these community causes won’t be silenced

Venues are closed, concerts postponed, community groups suspended. But, while it has stopped people coming together physically, COVID-19 hasn’t managed to silence us. Uniting people through music and supporting vital causes, an enterprising array of online initiatives are proving that the show really must go on. We’ve highlighted some of our favourites below. 

Raising money for the NHS… 


His duet with Michael Ball saw Captain Tom Moore become the oldest person in history (at almost 100) to achieve a #1 single in the UK’s official singles chart with You’ll Never Walk Alone, but Ball isn’t the only West End star supporting the NHS through music. Yorkshire actor and musical theatre star Tom Milner - along with band members from the UK and Ireland tour of American Idiot - have released a unique cover version of Green Day’s Wake me up When September Ends in a bid to raise funds for the cause. Viewers of the performance (below) are encouraged to donate to the NHS campaign on JustGiving.


Encore’s new service lets customers purchase bespoke music videos from musicians and send them as gifts to loved ones stuck in isolation. The service offers a new way to earn money while stuck at home for musicians who've lost their income from live events as a result of COVID-19, and every video purchased also includes a donation to the NHS. Find out more.


Organised by two Stockport mums, Do Your Thing’s fundraising performance sees over 60 members of the Ashton choir sing Proud in incredible virtual harmony. Viewers of the performance (below) are encouraged to donate to the choir’s NHS campaign on JustGiving, which has already more than tripled its original £1000 target.


Brewed with the women of Manchester Punk Festival as part of International Women’s Day (below), Nightingale Pale Ale was due to be served at the festival in April. With the event now cancelled, organisers are selling the beer online and donating £1 from every sale to NHS Charities Together. Find out more.

And supporting arts and wellbeing… 


Created by the Royal Exchange Theatre’s resident Young Company and Elders Company, this pioneering piece of work features over 40 participants, aged between 14 and 82, and is inspired by the desire to stay connected. Directed by Nickie Miles-Wildin and written by award-winning rapper, beatboxer and theatre-maker Testament, Connect Fest is a theatre show, music festival and soap opera rolled into one and will be made up of five individual online episodes - aired from Monday 11th May at 11am on a daily basis. It’s free to enjoy, but donations to the theatre in this challenging time are encouraged. Find out more

2020 04 27 Nhs Scrubs
Connect Fest hasn’t been the only thing keeping Royal Exchange busy; its costume department has been making NHS scrubs as part of the ‘Helping Dress Medics’ scheme


Manchester Keeps on Dancing tells the story of the city’s house music; its arrival in Manchester from Chicago in the 1980s, through to the acid house explosion of 1988 and the following 30 years of its phenomenal rise to today. The documentary film by Javi Senz - featuring Andrew Weatherall, Carl Craig, Laurent Garnier, Marshall Jefferson, Luke Unabomber, Will Tramp, Dave Haslam, James Holroyd, Krysko and many more - is currently available to stream and all funds from the £3.99 fee will go towards supporting the arts and music community during these difficult times. Find out more.


Manchester broadcasting platform and radio community Reform Radio has teamed up with Jägermeister to support the music community via grants for local artists. Successful submissions - which can include unique show ideas, panel discussions, small scale solo live gigs and other creative projects - will receive £75 plus a package of support from Reform Radio to deliver the programme.


Mancunian band The Lottery Winners are donating profits from the sale of their new single Love Will Keep Us Together (below) to Beelieve: a campaign by several  Greater Manchester mental health charities designed to support individuals, families and communities affected by COVID-19. Find out more.


Shared Harmonies CIC has launched a new interactive project where those taking part will help build and compose a song about the meaning of connection. The social enterprise - whose normal services span community singing groups and workshops to organisation team building sessions & workplace choirs - will ultimately host a virtual singalong and is still welcoming participants. Find out more.

For more entertainment, see our article on enjoying Manchester’s arts scene at home and our online events page