A POPULAR music festival is still going ahead on Sunday - despite the coronavirus lockdown.

The Quayside Festival will be held virtually with artists performing from their homes over 12 hours and Lauren Bannon, AKA Lloren, star of ITV's The Voice, headlining.

The music starts at midday and continues until midnight and money will be raised for Dorset County Hospital's coronavirus appeal.

Over 13 years the festival has attracted scores of visitors to Weymouth harbourside.

On Sunday people will be able to watch Virtual Quayfest 2020 from their homes on the Loving Weymouth and Portland Facebook page. Dozens of professional performers will provide musical entertainment throughout the day. Viewers are encouraged to enjoy the party whilst isolating at home, sending in messages, shout-outs and of course donating.

Lloren said: "I'm really excited to say that I'm going to be headlining this and I will be on at 8.30pm. But make sure you catch all of the other acts. All of the proceeds are going to our wonderful NHS, specifically DCH, so make sure you donate generously, grab a beer and enjoy yourselves."

The virtual festival was the brainchild of Olly Coe and Billy Hutchinson of Weymouth band The Leggomen, and Andrew Cooke, who is behind the Loving Weymouth and Portland Facebook page.

Olly said: "We've had a huge response to this, and we've got over 20 acts wanting to play live on the day from their own homes. This includes the likes of Lauren Bannon and Powelly to name just a couple.

"We really wanted to do this as well to give something back to our amazing key workers in the NHS so we've created a just giving page to raise money for the Dorset County Hospital charity. The event hasn't even begun and people are already donating money to this page which is incredible."

Jack Hintze, 17, has volunteered his technical expertise to help artists with the streaming while Dan Roads of Dan Roads Photography has created promotional videos to spread the word. DJ Steve Mullins is also helping with the technical arrangements.

Andy Cooke, of the website love-weymouth.co.uk and the Facebook group Loving Weymouth and Portland, said it's important to use all resources to support the community.

"Using Loving Weymouth and Portland Facebook page as the online host for the virtual Festival seemed the obvious thing to do to support our town’s brilliant musicians, raise money for the DCH Covid-19 Appeal and keep Weymouth in the mind's eye of all those thousands of potential visitors who’ll be planning their holidays when the present crisis eases."

Virtual Quayfest is looking for local businesses to help sponsor the event, with all monies going directly to the DCH charoty. There are five sponsorship packages at £200 each, offered on a first come, first serve basis. Call 07747 724588.

*You can watch Virtual Quayfest on Sunday, April 12 at the Loving Weymouth and Portland Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/WeymouthandPortland/

Donate to Quayfest's DCH Appeal at justgiving.com/team/Virtualquayfest