Twenty-six of our very own undergraduates were among the volunteers staffing London’s biggest free independent music festival, the Hanwell Hootie.
The Hootie was launched in 2013 in tribute to the creator of the Marshall amp, Jim Marshall, who died the previous year. Marshall’s first shop at 76 Uxbridge Road in Hanwell, along with the legendary Ealing Club which hosted the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Pete Townshend, give this part of West London a serious rock pedigree. Artists hailing from Hanwell include Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay and the Magic Numbers.
For this year's Hootie on Saturday 11th May, bright sunshine brought around 30,000 people to Viaduct Meadow, Sandy Park, St Mellitus Church and nearby pubs, where they could choose between more than 100 new and unsigned bands. Young four-piece punk band Queensway won a competition to open the event with the customary “Minute of Loud”. MDX second year BA Popular Music student Bruno Giacomazzi, who has built a career as a singer-songwriter in Brazil and now in London, was on the bill at the Fox pub.
Third year Music Business and Arts Management students Becky Merchant and Krzysztof Bryll are interviewed for London Live.
Third year Music Business and Arts Management student Krzysztof Bryll, who volunteered at the Hootie in 2018, managed the food vendors this year. He approached 50 different companies to choose 14 who would fit the festival vibe and cater for every taste.
“I really, really wanted to experience the whole process” he says. “It was a great opportunity to convert my knowledge into practice”. A Pink Floyd and Foals fan who is a drummer in several different bands, Krzysztof worked on festivals in his native Poland from the age of 12, although before the Hootie he thought he wanted to go into the recording side of the business.
He has loved his experience studying at Middlesex, he says – the quality of the facilities, having "space to study [and] people to bring our ideas to life. I could find help on any level I wanted.”
Third year Becky Merchant was in charge of artist liaison, handling contracts for all the participating bands and needing to chase artists who were slow at coming back to her (the secret is in “the way you word your emails” she says).
Second year Aidan Hepworth, who provided support for a London Live crew filming at the Hootie said, “I knew experiencing a live event was something I wanted to do. It was really good to get a behind-the-scenes view”. He’s interested in pursuing music journalism and particularly admires Peter Robinson of long-established pop music blog Popjustice.com.