Most gigging musicians can tell a story or two about ‘unforgettable moments’ from their own personal experience…
This particular story relates to gig from the late 1980’s with my first band.
At that time we were working with an organisation set up by our drummer’s parents and had been booked to play a gig at a small church in Hastings, Kent.
Back then it seemed that often the folk planning these events gave little thought to promoting them – almost as if they expected the general public to subconsciously detect the fact that something was being planned with them in mind and would magically turn up on the day in question.
Inevitably many of these events were poorly supported as a result.
So it seemed to be on this particular day; we arrived mid-afternoon, set up the PA and our equipment and ran through our sound-check before wandering off to grab a bite to eat. On our return there wasn’t much in the way of a buzz about the place but we checked our instruments and then went ‘backstage’ to prepare ourselves mentally for the gig.
Finally the moment came, just before we were due on stage. We peered through from the back room into the hall we were about to enter and saw a small puddle (rather than a sea) of faces and, sitting bravely on the front row, knitting in hand and presumably absolutely no idea what to expect, three dear old ladies – there, presumably, to support ‘the young folk’.
Fortunately there were some ‘young folk’ there but really only a dozen or so.
It was into this setting that one of the guys from the organisation we were working with bounded – springing to the microphone centre stage and yelling as if, in his minds eye, addressing the massed hordes in front of main-stage Glastonbury, “Helloooo Hastings!“
I don’t remember anything more from that night, but that sadly deluded cry has remained with me ever since as a coded phrase to describe any under-promoted-under-supported event….
…and we’ve been to a few more ‘Hello Hastings’ events since.