The History of The Hootenanny and The Hootenanny 2013 Photo Gallery

The History of The Hootenanny

Be sure to check out the gallery of images below!

The Hootenanny has been going on for the past 18 years, a show that’s been running every year since 1995. That’s a long time going for a rockabilly type event. Some big bands and some historic ones have been playing Hootenanny for years and some new bands have been discovered because of Hootenanny. I was fortunate to get to go to the first Hootenanny back in 1995 when the Cramps played but then hadn’t gone for a number of years since. I have, however, had the pleasure of going the past 6 years to photograph the bands and car shows. The event has grown and gotten more popular and still carries the great bands they did back when it first started and the cars are getting better and better each year even though they get older and older!

I got curious to find out more about the history of The Hootenanny and how it all started and was able to get some of the prime moments from the original promoter, Bill Hardie. Just so you know Bill is still active with The Hootenanny but he also does Musink Tattoo Convention and Music Festival. Check out that event as well for a hopping good time. For a list of bands that played this year see The Hootenanny’s website or our previous post on The Hootenanny band lineup.

Below is the verbal history from Bill Hardie, and below that is a gallery of images from this years Hootenanny.


RL: Ok as far as the history of The Hootenanny, how did it start?

BH: It was sort of an unromantic birth.  I had been doing some shows at The
Foothill in Long Beach with the Rev. Horton Heat, Cadillac Tramps, Frank Black, and more
punk stuff like Sublime and Face to Face in OC (I was also showing bands like Tool and
Stone Temple Pilots, but they don’t fit into the story…).  Paul Tollett
from Golden Voice did Bored in OC  in the summer of 95. That sucked all the Sublimes and Face
to Faces type bands out of the market for the summer in Orange County. They weren’t allowed
to play anywhere else before or after that show (that’s the show that spawned Warp
Tour). So I was looking at that show, trying to plan my summer…. and
having a love for bands like the Cramps, Rev. Horton Heat, etc… I thought it might
be fun to put them all together in festival that covered more than just
music, an event that embraced a lifestyle.  Mix up the music with the cars,
beer, cigarettes, add some select shops that cater too…and well there you
have it….  a Hootenanny!

RL: Who started it, The Hootenanny?

BH: Me, Bill  Hardie.  I was going through my cd collection trying to think of a
name for the event.  I lifted it from a Replacements record.  I thought it
encompassed everything I was TRYING to do in one word.  People scratched
their heads when they first heard the name, but they got it later.  In fact
one of the guys I was working with at the time tried to change the name
right before it went to print, but I was having none of that.

RL: When did it go to the big time producers or promoters such as Golden Voice?

BH: Paul Tollett and I have known each other longer than Hootenanny,  he had an
option to be involved in the first one but gracefully declined (and I have
been ribbing him ever since).

RL: Was it always with the big promoters or just a small time thing?

BH: Well I was then, and have since become again, a small time promoter.  Things
were on a slightly larger scale when Bill Fold and I had 98 Posse (The Barn
in RV, SB arena, Soma in SD, and clubs in OC and Vegas), but I’m small time.
Hootenanny and MusInk are about the only events I’m still interested in
doing.  I’ve been VERY fortunate to work with some amazing bands from Hoot.
Ii mean the list of the pioneers: Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little
Richard, Bo Diddly, Buck Owens, Link Wray, Wanda Jackson, to their
contemporaries Social Distortion, The Stray Cats, The Cramps, Rev. Horton Heat, X and to newer bands
like Tiger Army, Nekromantix, Flogging Molly…  and of course my all time
favorite Joe Strummer.  With 98 Posse I literally worked with just about
every band you can think of, but the pioneers, the old guys that started all
of this, that still gives me chills.

RL: I actually went to the FIRST Hootenanny 18 years ago, when The Cramps played. I
rode my motorcycle there with a friend and had a blast, it sure has changed
a bit since then….a lot bigger….

BH: Yeah that was an interesting day.  I was young and a little unprepared for
what it was and turned into. We moved the box office to the opposite end
of the park mid day because parking filled up and we didn’t have the entire
perimeter secure. So I remember taking money out of cars as people were
driving down the road until they got the box office moved. I was standing in
the middle of the road walking up to cars saying “4 of you, that will be $100,
thank you- please drive though- have fun”.  It was a demanding day and I was
cursing being in the public assemblage business.  I couldn’t tell you within
500 people how many were there that day. It got dark and people stopped
asking for money, and there was some left over, so I did it again. Then
the visionary Paul Tollet of Goldenvoice came on board the next year. (See
still ribbing him!)

RL: Thanks Bill for an awesome history lesson on The Hootenanny! I’m sure it’s been a spot in many peoples lives that means a lot, including mine!!!

The Hootenanny 2013 Photo gallery

Pictured bands in order Nashville Pussy, Murder By Death, Face To Face and Social Distortion. As well as some random people enjoying themselves and some nice cars.

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