by Beki Dover
Haddstock was a one-day music festival that took place on Saturday 24th June 2017. Around 1500 people filled Haddington’s cafés, bars and halls to listen to live music performed by local bands and musicians. The public donated generously by putting money into the musician’s red top hats.
It occurred to me at the start of the year that there are many talented musicians in the area, but that Haddington doesn’t have as obvious a music scene as Dunbar or North Berwick. I thought it would be fun for Haddington to have a musical celebration and to provide a platform for new bands in a community environment. It also struck me that there hadn’t been a music festival of this kind during my time in Haddington. So I asked musicians and venues if they might like to get involved, and people responded positively.
John McMillan was very supportive from the start, and directed me towards Visit East Lothian and Haddington and Lammermuir Area Partnership for funding. Following a Facebook post inviting musicians to play, 50 acts responded; youth bands, experienced singer songwriters and even bigger names like Aaron Wright, The Banjo Lounge 4 and Aberfeldy.
50 acts played across 10 venues: Place D’Aubigny, The Victoria Inn, The Tyneside Tavern, The Loft, The Railway Hotel, Diggory’s, Jo’s Kitchen, Jabberwocky and the Bridge Centre. Friends volunteered to steward each venue and we had PA systems and professional sound engineers looking after musicians. Ewen Ogilvie kindly let us use his retro van as help kiosk with all the line-up details and other festival information. Venues were packed with locals and visitors of all ages. They came in their droves to enjoy folk, jazz, bluegrass, rock, blues and acoustic sets, in most cases set up in the corner whilst people supped drinks and enjoyed their lunch.
The atmosphere was buzzing, people seemed to have a great time and it was a good day for local business too.
There were interactive family events at Jabberwocky, including a ukulele sing along where 100 kazoos and ukes were handed out to children and their families so they could get involved. There was an open mic session and a uke jam at The Railway Hotel where people could bring along instruments. Music was performed simultaneously throughout Haddington all day and night so folk could wander between pubs and cafés sampling all sorts of sounds.
The Town House hosted rock bands in the afternoon and the headliner gig in the evening which was the ticketed finale. Aberfeldy, well known and loved my many since the 1990s are from Haddington and were supported by Haddstock & Friends, mylittlebrother and The Banjo Lounge 4. Vic Galloway of BBC Radio Scotland introduced the bands and before we knew it, the night was in full swing. The crowd was a mix of locals and people from Edinburgh, East Linton, Dunbar, Manchester, Perth and the father of the brothers in the band Aberfeldy came from Kansas! They showed their appreciation by dancing the night away and enjoying drinks provided by Gary McFarlane and Mike Pisanek’s pop up bar.
Robert C Brady has made a short video that captures the flavour of the day – https://www.facebook.com/haddstock/
A music review was also written for Mumble – https://mumblemusic.net/2017/06/26/haddstock/
Photo credit: Ruby Smith