TRCH Nov 19

Hockley Hustle's Tommy Farmyard on Stand Out Moments, Being Eco-Friendly and Future Plans

26 October 19 words: Eileen Pegg
photos: Fabrice Gagos

Summer might be bowing out for another year but that doesn’t mean the festival fun is over just yet. We catch up with our mate Tommy Farmyard, one of the brains behind Hockley Hustle, to find out what to expect from this year’s edition of the much-loved community festival...

Can you refresh us on how Hockley Hustle started?
Adam Pickering started it in 2006. He just pottered up to me at a gig one night and told me he wanted to start this festival. I told him that it was nuts, and that he’d need a lot of help, so I ended up doing just that. It’s always been a charity event, and we’ve raised about £150,000 so far for people like Rethink Mental Health, Emmanuel House, Equation, IMARA and Notts Refugee Forum. It stays in Notts and helps people in the area.

What has been the biggest difference over the years?
We started off in 2006 with eight venues so it’s always been big but the festival has definitely grown.

We’re lucky to be supported by many in Nottingham including Confetti, Castle Rock, Nottingham BID and The Creative Quarter. The Arts Council and Youth Music sponsor Young Hustlers, people like Gigantic, OnPoint and LeftLion are hugely supportive and we are very grateful.

Do you have any stand-out moments from the past thirteen years?
There are so many! Liam Bailey singing with UFO Orchestra was spellbinding. The first time we got the Truth & Lies silent disco on was so special too. Ben Welch puts a huge amount of effort into curating the street entertainment and the carnival, which always ends up on Broad Street for a fantastic finale. I love how they’ve painted the rainbow roads there now, and Pride are actually hosting a stage for the first time this year. It’s going to be another fun, chaotic Broad Street session, that’s for sure.

Do you have a booking policy for the acts that play? 
We don’t really have a policy, but we ask local promoters to host a stage. We give as much freedom to them as possible so they can put on what they want — it’s everyone’s festival. For our stages it could be our favourite current bands, or maybe we try to tempt an old Nottingham group out of retirement. It’s a real mixture, we just make sure it’s good. We do get some national acts but it’s around 90% local. The festival is about Nottingham music as much as anything and why not, it’s worth celebrating. 

Can you tell us which promoters are involved this year?
We have Pride, I’m Not From London, Button Pusher, Gully 45, Nottingham Poetry Festival, Nottingham Comedy Festival, BBC Introducing, LeftLion, and Gigantic Tickets, to name just a few. The Poetry Festival are hosting Sue Ryder and the Comedy Festival are at Wired, so there is going to be all sorts. 

Tell us some more about the acts you have this year...
The P Brothers are DJing, Circle of Light are doing a few slots and Notts-based world champion Mr Switch is doing a mash-up extravaganza with some other wicked DJs. The Invisible Orchestra and UFO Orchestra are playing again, with lots of surprise vocalists including one I’m particularly excited about. We’re doing a Hustle Singalong at Suede, which will be a hoot, and have loads more in store. 

We ask local promoters to host a stage. We give as much freedom to them as possible so they can put on what they want — it’s everyone’s festival

What should parents know about your sister festival, Young Hustlers?
A lot of festivals are eighteen or over, but there are a lot of parents and younger humans out there who want to have fun too. We think it’s important for the kids to experience live music, as well as giving them all sorts of other cool things to do.

It is a separate festival with a range of workshop going on throughout the day and in the weeks leading up to it at NonSuch studios. Young Hustlers can get into certain Hustle venues with their parents (who have a ticket) as well, so they can dip in and out, and then pop up to Hockley for a dance. 

Any little surprises in store?
We’re going in a more eco-friendly direction. City Arts is going to be packed with environmental talks including ‘Low Waste Living’, ‘Nurture by Nature’ and ‘Let’s Talk about Coffee’, told over a bicycle-powered PA. You can get discounted travel on trams and buses with your ticket, and we’ve cut out a lot of waste and nasty materials. For every pound that goes into the charity buckets that are dotted around the festival, we’ll plant a tree afterwards too. 

It might be too early to ask, but what are your plans for next year?
The plan is to become ‘The Hustle’ and to spread out. We’ll still be Hockley Hustle, but if all goes well, we’ll start something separate and hope to trial it next year. We have some really cool people involved, with new partners, gigs and venues booked already. 

Anything else you’d like to add?
If you’ve never been before you can expect wicked entertainment curated by Notts’ finest promoters, lots of dancing, street food, a carnival atmosphere and awesome vibes. You really should book the Monday off work… Thanks to everyone who buys a ticket and enjoys the Hustle, have fun and if you fancy getting involved then please do volunteer, we’d love more help on the day. 

Hockley Hustle takes place on Sunday 27 October

Hockley Hustle website

You might like this too...

Celebrating Caterntide

You may also be interested in