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NTU Sustainability in Enterprise

Hockley Hustle 2010

19 October 10 interview: Paul Klotschkow
photos: David Baird

The Hockley Hustle, an all-day multi-venue shebang across the poncier end of town celebrates its fifth birthday at the end of October. Adam Pickering, the founder and lynchpin of the whole thing manages to spare ten minutes of his ludicrously packed schedule to tell us why it’s the most important incarnation of one of the key dates in the Notts gig calendar…

The Hockley Hustle, an all-day multi-venue shebang across the poncier end of town celebrates its fifth birthday at the end of October. Adam Pickering, the founder and lynchpin of the whole thing manages to spare ten minutes of his ludicrously packed schedule to tell us why it’s the most important incarnation of one of the key dates in the Notts gig calendar…

Remind us what the Hockley Hustle is…
It’s a music and arts festival across the nice bits of the city centre, hosted by the best promoters and creative groups in Nottingham, representing as many music genres and as many styles of everything as possible. It has raised around £45,000 for Oxfam and local NSPCC projects. Just under £22,000 of that is from last year alone, so it has grown year on year.

How did it start?
It was part of Oxjam, the music festival that was originally about lots of people putting on DIY events to raise money for Oxfam. The Hockley Hustle has always been the biggest Oxjam event in the country. When it started in 2006, I got seven venues involved and realised that I would need a lot of help, so I got Farmyard Records and Not In Nottingham involved, along with Folkwit Records, and lots of people I’m forgetting at the moment. Drop in the Ocean in 2005/6 was a big inspiration, and it really helped to wake Nottingham up to the benefits of getting everyone together. I’d been helping some acts out on the promotional side already and doing some design work for various people, so I had been getting involved a little bit for a while. I had a lot of energy that needed putting in to something and just wanted to do something positive.

How hard was it to get the first one off the ground?
It was surprisingly easy. All of the venues and promoters were really keen to help. It was just a case of going out there, having a lot of conviction and hope, and really just knowing what you want to get out of people and approaching them in the right way. As for the artists, they already had it in them. I think people were waiting for something to put their energy into and waiting for something to get excited about. As soon as you give people something like that, they will run with it. Once people start connecting with each other they start having their own little offshoot projects. Seeing what that momentum does and what you end up with is pretty exciting.

So how has it changed over the years?
We’ve always wanted to improve it and take it to the next level, and we’ve always exceeded our expectations. This year there will be over thirty venues, with events on the Friday and Saturday incorporating venues from all over town. To be honest and without sounding arrogant, we’ve actually got too big for Hockley. There are only so many venues.

What goes through your mind the night before? Can you sleep?
There are always particular tasks that invariably don’t get nailed down til the night before, such as waiting on stage times and stuff like that from various promoters. You’re just tying up the loose ends. There’s no time to stop until it’s all over. As for the actual day…pretty worn out, to be honest. There are weeks where you’re working non-stop, waking up and getting on with it, then trying to go to sleep whenever you can before getting up again and getting back on it. So I’m usually completely knackered by the actual day.

So, tell us about this year…
The main change is that we’re moving away from Oxjam this year so that we can focus on more local charities. As for the actual event, we’re bringing more of the good stuff. We are going for events on the Friday and Saturday night with loads of events all over town. There will be more variety, and more grass-roots, community-led stuff too. And bigger and better headliners, with a more diverse selection of acts.

Still looking for people to get involved?
If people have something they can bring to the table, there’s still time. Go to the Hockley Hustle website - hockleyhustle.co.uk - or join the Facebook group to get in touch.

What does the future hold for the Hustle?
We’re trying to develop; there’s a constant feeling within the team of needing to take it forward, so we’re looking at building a model for something bigger, more expansive and more inclusive, that may well include the whole of Nottingham - but details are shady at the moment. We always said that we would make it to the fifth year with the Hockley Hustle and this year feels a bit like the turning point. It’s a good time to go all out with this one then stand back to take a look at it for next year. We are already working on the next stage. It’s very exciting.

Any final words?
Thanks to LeftLion for all of the support over the years. Thanks for the people of Nottingham who have got involved in one way or another. Thanks to all of the musicians who have made the Hockley Hustle possible. We all look forward to round five.

The Hockley Hustle, 22-24 October 2010, across the City Centre, £8-15. 

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