The Fifth HANWELL HOOTIE, May 6th 2017
Rock heritage in west London-
It’s hard to believe that the well-heeled streets of Ealing in West London were once the powerhouse of the Britsh rock scene. Nowadays the hip and happening have moved decidedly east or north, but back in the 1960’s West London was where it was at. The Ealing Blues Club was the epi-centre of a movement that gave us the Rolling Stones, whilst down the road Hanwell W7 was the birthplace of the world-leading Marshall amplifier. In a shop on an unassuming high street (Hanwell Broadway), a certain Pete Townsend was searching for more volume. Jim Marshall, with encouragement from his son Terry, provided the solution, becoming the ‘father of loud.’ All the greats of the era, including Jimi Hendrix, went on to use Marshall amplifiers.
Five decades on, the vision of a young local man Andy McRobbie, along with the renaissance of the Ealing Club, is puting West London back on the rock’n’roll map. The first Hanwell Hootie was held in 2013, with the unveiling of a unique black (not blue) plaque commemorating Jim’s life (he died in 2012), accompanied by a ‘minute of loud,’ and a free music festival hosted across three pubs. By the fifth Hanwell Hootie the festival has grown to be London’s largest one day free music festival with 14 venues, including the busking bus, and 85 bands. Sponsored by Marshall, with Terry present and playing saxophone, and the support of local businesses and warmly embraced by the community, the festival reinvents the spirit of the sixties before music became commoditised and festivals became commercialised.
After the minute of loud, provided by local teenage (if that old) band Caffeine – who didn’t look old enough even to consume that drug, the first act on the new Viaduct Meadow stage was Ask Sally, London’s newst country-rock supergroup and the latest vehicle of the inimitable Tommy Hare, followed by Felix Hagen and Family. We also saw Michael Kilbey on the Sandy Park stage, local rockers Yur Mum at Inn on the Green, jazzy latino sounds from Gabriella Romano at the Prince of Wales, then the Big Hootie Blues Jam at the Viaduct where I got to share the stage with Terry Marshall and Ealing Blues Festival stalwart, Robert Hokum.
Sadly (or not) the pub venues filled up and we were locked out of George Eliott (not the writer, but the former guitarist of Scoundrels who headlined the first Hootie). So we headed for the final venue, St Mellitus Church for a gospel sing-along with Gospel Touch, a fitting finale to the Fifth Hanwell Hootie.
For more information:- Hanwellhootie.co.uk.