Tommy Farmyard Gives Us The Hockley Hustle Lowdown

Interview: Lucy Manning
Friday 29 September 2017
reading time: min, words

October in Nottingham pops off on a regular. What miserable glimmers we had of summer may be well and truly over, but the city shakes off the rain and comes out in such force that we’re crowned the UK’s Festival City for the entire 31 days. Adding to the mass of joy and wonder is the formidable Hockley Hustle; the charity music festival that transforms the cobbles of Hockley into a hedonistic paradise, all in the name of dobbing some worthwhile causes some cash.

This year, they’ve gone all out to bring the party to Hoodtown’s pint-sized partiers, and they’re proud to present, for the first time in the festival’s ten-year history, Young Hustlers. We had a word with festival kingpin, Tommy Farmyard, to find out more...


How has the festival grown since last year?
Blooming loads. We’re introducing a family element to the festival in the form of Young Hustlers, which features drumming workshops, DJ workshops with Mr Switch, poetry writing and workshops with Nottingham’s Young Poet Laureate, and songwriting with Rob Green.

There’ll be live music, including a gig from the Robin Hood Youth Orchestra featuring Mr Switch, craft and science activities, and a family rave hosted by Big Fish Little Fish over at Nottingham Contemporary. We thought about running the two festivals on separate days, but we wanted the youngsters to be able to get the Hockley Hustle vibe, too. We have to say a massive thanks to Arts Council England for supporting this project.

Outside of the thirty-odd grown-up ‘Hustle venues, there’s a huge amount of street entertainment for the Young Hustlers and adult Hustlers to get stuck into. We’ve started a project with the Nottingham Music Hub, teaming up the sixty-piece UFO orchestra with six Notts vocalists including Liam Bailey, Harleighblu and Natalie Duncan.

We’re also moving down to Market Square in the afternoon cos the Spiegeltent will be back in business, especially for the ‘Hustle. Expect a typically eclectic Hustle lineup, including The Hackney Colliery band. It’s bonkers, and brilliant fun.

Who’ve you got headlining?
We don't really like the idea of headliners. All the lineups are great, some acts are just on a bit later than others. Ronika is coming up from London for LeftLion; Georgie is on the Hockley Hustle stage; Harleighblu and Congi will be on the Confetti Live stage; we’ve just booked young cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and the Invisible Orchestra will be closing the LeftLion stage. We love being able to stick bigger name acts in small rooms and vice versa, it’s a huge part of the Hockley Hustle charm. But if someone wants to build a 1,000 cap venue in Hockley, we won't say no. Also, we’re planning a wicked after-party at Suede.

What are you most looking forward to?
Seeing the ‘Hustle come together on the day is just such a great feeling. I’m really looking forward to the Jiallo Jazz Jam on the Phlexx stage, a project we started a few years ago where we team Nottingham’s funkiest jazz band up with various Notts MCs and vocalists.

I can’t wait for the street entertainment; the orchestra project; the Broad Street silent disco hosted by Truth and Lies featuring lots of great DJs; the food from Nottingham Street Food Club; the carnival parades; and launching Young Hustlers. There’s too much good stuff to choose from.

Any surprises you can fill us in on?
Surprises? No, then they wouldn’t be surprises. However, I was woken up at 5am by a mosquito and then I killed it, but not until 7am. I’ve called it The Dead Graham, and he’s definitely dead.

Who are the charities you’ll be supporting?
Framework, Rethink Mental Health, Refugee Forum, and Equation. And we’re encouraging people to bring nonperishable food donations to the wristband exchange on the day for Himmah Food Bank, as well as clothes and sleeping bags for Emmanuel House.

Hockley Hustle and Young Hustlers takes place on Sunday 8 October, in venues throughout Hockley.

Hockley Hustle website

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