“He has given everybody something to look forward to” – DJ is one of Nottinghamshire’s unsung lockdown heroes

A Nottinghamshire rock DJ, well known in the Mansfield pub circuit, has been keeping the blues away with weekly virtual gigs, quizzes, and even cooking competitions, for pub-goers during lockdown – and it is still going strong.

Thursday, 30th July 2020, 11:59 am

Gary Newey, 35, otherwise known as DJ Arockalypse, would usually take to the stage once a month at The Navigation pub in Nottingham, known to regulars as ‘The Nav’, to host ‘Rock the Nav’.

However, whilst the pub has been closed, Gary, who has DJ’d at a number of Mansfield pubs, has moved his set online and broadcast live streams of rock music throughout lockdown to keep The Nav regulars rocking.

He has even been conducting virtual quizzes and cooking competitions to keep the punters busy.

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Gary Newey at The Navigation in Nottingham.

Jen Richardson from Mansfield, a regular at The Nav and friend of Gary, said: “The quiz was done over the Kahoot! app where you would enter a code to join in and earn points for being the fastest one with the correct answer.

“The cooking competition was a fantastic idea as it soon brought people together not just on the stream but also at home and encouraged the listeners to come up with an entry and cook the meals together.

"Each week Gary would come up with a theme and then the viewers would take pictures of what they were making and send them in, during the show he would show off what had been made and people would vote for the nicest looking meal in the comments.

"We’ve had themes such as ‘fakeaway’, favourite childhood meal, BBQ food, pies, Sunday roasts, and many others.”

The stage at The Navigation pub.

The music, quizzes and cooking competitions soon sparked up interest from elsewhere and Gary ended up having international appeal when he was asked to run another virtual pub stream.

Gary said: “Usually what we get is anything from 12-40 people watching at one time depending on time but many flit in for a bit and then back out but unique visitors regularly goes in to the many hundreds.

"We even get people like Jeff and a couple of others listening in from the States, but also regular listeners from Canada, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, and The Netherlands.

"It’s weird DJing though when I start to get tired at the end of the show and people like Jeff are just firing up their BBQ in the middle of the afternoon whilst tuning in.

Gary has been taking the pub to the regulars by live streaming his DJ sets on Facebook.

"As people get back to work it’s quietening down but it’s still going stronger than expected.”

Gary hosts the virtual pub streams on Tuesday nights from 7-11pm and ‘Rock the Lockdown’ on Saturday nights at the same time, and his girlfriend Sandra and two children often get involved.

Dylan Hughes, landlord at The Navigation, said: “Gary has been a star and kept our group of friends together socially through his streams while the lockdown was on, keeping people in contact, and having fun during a difficult time.

"Now we're open we can't wait to get him on for a live Rock The Nav.”

Jen Richardson added: “Gary has been doing all of this off his own back with no payments or anything, just using his own spare time and the goodness of his heart.

"He is truly an inspiration and has brought a lot of people together in this rough time, not only keeping the friendships alive, but also helping those in the group with low mental health who would otherwise be home alone with nothing to do.

"He has given everybody something to look forward to at the weekend and truly deserves some recognition for his efforts.”

You can view some of Gary’s lockdown streams, and keep up to date with his upcoming events, by visiting DJ Arockalypse on Facebook here.