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Hootie rocks in the rain and plans next year

The sixth Hanwell Hootie at the weekend (12 May) was a huge hit once more, despite the unfriendly weather, and organisers promptly began preparing for next year and are searching for help with funding to keep it free.

Thousands of music-lovers braved the rain to hear more than 90 bands performing at 15 different venues at London’s largest free, one-day music event. More than 400 local volunteers kept everything ticking over smoothly.

“The biblical deluge could still not dampen our spirits, and it’s been a bigger and better Hanwell Hootie than ever before,” said Ealing Council leader Julian Bell. “Hanwell has got that special, almost ‘village’ feel, and this is an expression of that really close community spirit.”

Two of the 400 local volunteers at the Hootie
Two of the 400 local volunteers at the Hootie (by Paul James)

“We’re delighted at the turn-out,” said Hootie director Faye Hamilton. “Many people from all over London have clearly made it a fixture in their diary. And somehow the rain seems to have created a friendlier atmosphere this year, if that’s even possible.”

Musical director Andy McRobbie added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from both bands and festival goers. So many bands have said this was by far their best gig of the year, and that is testament to the love Hanwell showed them.”

This year, for the first time, there was also a comedy tent headlined by Rich Hall.

‘Live music is as important today as it has always been’

The Hootie commemorates Hanwell’s link to the iconic Marshall amplifier, first sold by Jim Marshall from a shop in the town in the 1960s. Jon Ellery, managing director of main festival sponsor Marshall Amplification, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Hootie that honours the legacy of Jim. Live music is as important today as it has always been, and this community-driven event is a great example of celebrating those who love to perform.”

Press to MECO at the Kings Arms (by Paul James)
Press to MECO at the Kings Arms (by Paul James)
Funding to keep it free

This year the Hootie encouraged festival goers to show their appreciation by donating money into collection buckets at each venue.

“It’s so important that this is a free festival,” said director June Martin. “We’re hoping that, by asking for donations on the day, and through our new crowdfunding site, that we’ll be able to continue to showcase emerging talent and secure the Hootie’s future into the long-term.”

The Hootie crowdfunding page can be found at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hanwell-hootie

To see more about the day itself, visit www.facebook.com/TheHanwellHootie

Pictures at top of page by Ashlee Grant

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