So what is it they say – great things happen in times of adversity.
One of the best things to happen during these crazy lockdown times, is that is has allowed people time to reflect and focus on what is important in life and try things they always wanted to do, be kinder, find ways to beat the boredom and ultimately connect with like-minded people and make new friends without actually going out.
The Pub – for so long the place to meet people, have a few (or a few too many) drinks, have a laugh, listen to some music, have drunken pub arguments about football and music etc. But what happens when you can’t go to the pub? What happens if you want to let off some steam? Well it sounds easy but why not create your own pub – what about creating a #VirtualPubCrawl? Well this is what IndieRob decided to do and quite frankly its been a revelation and has grown and grown on social media these last few months.
But what about the man, the myth, the leg end that created it – what do we know about IndieRob? Well I decided to ask him some questions…….
So who are you and where are you?
I’m Rob Dignen and I’m from Hartlepool in the sunny NE of England.
When did you first have the idea to do the VPC?
I’d seen loads of ‘virtual’ ideas during lockdown and I wanted to go on a pub crawl and couldn’t so decided to have my own ‘Virtual Pub Crawl’, listening to my own jukebox and have a drink in every virtual pub (room) in my house.
When was the first one?
It was Friday 10th April Good Friday.
How many have you done thus far?
We have had 9 so far.
Were you surprised with how quickly it grew and the engagement you got from Twitter?
The VPC has grown and evolved so much. After the first one loads of people wanted another.
Can you tell me about the Hospice you are supporting? Why are they important to you?
Greg who is the fund-raising manager at Alice House Hospice, Hartlepool got in touch and we had a chat. He explained because of COVID that their yearly beer festival had been cancelled and much needed funds had been lost. I’d been to the beer festival in previous years and they were brilliant.
Hospices do a wonderful job and two of my friends have passed through them in the last few years, so thought it was a great charity to support.
What was the original amount you wanted to fund raise for them? How much have you raised thus far?
I wasn’t sure we would raise much to be honest because it’s a local charity so I set up a local hero page with a target of £500. As it stands, we have raised more than £6500.
What do you think about what you have raised?
I’m blown away really. I never set out to create this so I’m just riding the wave. I’m very proud of what we have all achieved.
How did you get the likes of Brands in the Air involved, DJ Redders and Radio Matlock?
As it grew, I knew I would need help, but I didn’t need to look, people wanted to help. Russ from Brands offered to do the logo and flyers. That was followed by Redders and Radio Matlock offering to do a radio show although I wanted to vet the playlist to avoid any Bon Jovi tracks. Following that Shiner Sam joined leading the VPC introduces show.
How did the excellent merch come about? Who designed the logo etc?
Again, this was Russ at Brands in the air. I originally was looking at bulk buying t-shirts, but Russ put them on his website at cost price.
Moving onto the actual live event – when did you decide this was something that could work?
I really can’t remember; I just know there was so much chat about a get together. We looked at various options but dragging 100+ people around loads of pubs was never going to happen. The best solution was a gig.
Whats the response been to the gig?
Absolutely brilliant so far and tickets are going fast.
How did you get the bands involved?
At the start I just got messages off bands wanting to get involved and support. They provided merchandise for prizes, live videos and recorded tracks. Unfortunately, we have limited space but have managed to get Ascendo, DDE’s, The Cavs, Columbia and Citylightz on the line up who are all incredible.
With a name like IndieRob – you obviously love indie music, but what are your favourite bands, artists, albums, gigs etc?
I have loads of favourites and its difficult to pick just one.
I’ve been to some incredible gigs……. Oasis, REM, The National, Richard Ashcroft? Should I go on?
Albums….. The Clash – The Clash, Oasis – Definitely Maybe, The Charlatans – Some Friendly
What are you plans for VPC after the live event? Do you want to continue it forever? (I assume it takes a lot of work to prepare it)?
We area already looking at things and will continue as long as people want it.
Whats been your proudest moment so far regarding the VPC?
A few actually. The first time we trended in the UK and have been as high as number 4. Hitting the £5000 for Alice House. Mark Morriss (The Bluetones) doing a live acoustic track for the VPC. Having over 800 listeners on Radio Matlock.
Funniest VPC moment?
There have been so many moments when I’ve literally cried. Some guys cross dressing, Flamingos, #RimGate and Mike Crowes Bez Dance are all personal favourites.
Is there anyone else you want to mention/shout-out to that has helped you along the way?
There must be a huge thanks to the VPC team Redders, Russ and Sam. Who work so hard behind the scenes. Also Radio Matlock (Ash and Lucie) for hosting the shows.
Thanks to everyone who donated to Alice House in particular Matt and his art, Ady Hanson and Chippy.
Thanks Rob – I know your super busy preparing the next VPC and organising the live event.
What a great thing to do and I am just one of many that owes Rob a few drinks at the bar for making this such a great event. The live event should be amazing and I suggest you buy your tickets fast before they are gone. Details can be found below.
See you at the next one – bring your Flamingos.
BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE
You can also donate to the charity here:
Finally – you can follow Rob and learn more about the #virtualpubcrawl below…