In early April 2020 we came up with the idea for a virtual adventure festival. With the UK lock-down still in full swing we thought there has to be more to this ‘new normal’ than gardening, bread making and Zoom quizzes! We knew we were still on lock-down so anything adventurous would have to be from our own home. With travel past the end of your street off the cards, going on an adventure was out of the question but talking about it wasn’t! Half the fun of adventure is having the stories to tell anyway so we reached out to a few of our adventurous mates and they reached out to a couple of their adventurous mates and before we knew it we had a schedule that would fill an entire weekend with adventure chat!
In just a few days worth of phone calls we had an unbelievable line up including Elsepth Beard, Charley Boorman, Claudio von Planta, Natalia Cohen, Chaz Powell and so, so, so many more. With a line up like that though, we were in way over our heads. Sure, we had skyped the odd loved one from our travels but putting on a three-day festival meant playing high quality films, running panel discussions and welcoming multiple guests. Fortunately, we had an ace up our sleeve. A friend called Todd.
Todd’s superhuman tech skills became somewhat legendary throughout the weekend. Being backstage his identity to speakers and armchair adventurers alike was a mystery. He was even likened to the Top Gear Stig. In fact, some say he is James May’s long lost twin brother and that on Thursday’s he eats jelly with Steve Wozniak. All we know is – he’s called Todd.
So, with Todd on the team we were able to put on the show. The saying goes, “build it and they will come”, and my word did they come. We had over 20,000 unique viewers over the weekend who together amassed a total of 2,000 hours of viewing time. The event was completely free to attend but armchair adventurers were encouraged to donate to the NHS Charities Together appeal and together they raised a total of £9,643.87 (including Gift Aid)!
It was nearly ten times our initial target and truly a staggering amount of money to raise in one weekend! Needless to say we decided that we couldn’t leave the idea there so we’re continuing to grow the Armchair Adventure Festival. We’ve been running monthly film nights and will be holding another festival from 27th-29th November. We hope for it to be even bigger and better than before and of course it will again be entirely free! Sign up for your free front seat and join us here.