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Hockley Hustle

Posted on Wednesday 26th October 2022 at 12:00

Bethan Boast

Written by
Bethan Boast


Hockley Hustle returned for the first time since 2019 and boy did they come back with a bang! For those who aren’t aware (and have been living under a rock), Hockley Hustle is a music and arts festival that has raised money for charities since ‘06! 

This year Hockley Hustle hosted 350 acts across 30 venues - and the streets in between - to raise money for 5 charities. The fantastic charities were: Emmanuel House, Base 51, SFiCE Foundation, B’Me Cancer Communities and Imara. Find out more about them over at: hockleyhustle.co.uk 

And now, the promoters have just announced that Hockley Hustle will return to the streets of Nottingham on Sunday 22nd of October. CLICK HERE to book Super Early Bird Tickets are a reduced price!


 Bumblin' Bees, image courtesy of @elizabethgraciee 


Festival Review

The morning sun was beating down on this year's Hustlers, giving them more reason to dance in the street to the various DJs, including Nottingham Samba collective and Dohl Payler & Band Baja and refuel on delicious street food from the many venders including, Yello Yard, Plantizza Vegan Pizza and Carolinas Chilli. While the sunshine may not have lasted the festival, the fun certainly did, as nothing could have dampened the Hustlers’ spirits. 

Whilst it would be deserving to shout out all of the fantastic performances (all 350 of them), food vendors, volunteers, venues etc., we cannot do that as it would take forever. But what we can do, in the little time we have, is to express how honoured we are to be a sponsor at Hockley Hustle 2023. We would love to thank the organisers and everyone involved for helping create an amazing day over spilt with dancing, singing, eating and laughing, all in the name of music, arts and charity! 

We saw many phenomenal acts throughout the day including Catmilk, The Bumblin’ Bees, Victory Lap, Sancho Panza, Girl Band, Malindy, Damn Craters to name but a few.

And we were also lucky enough to steal a few minutes from trap metal powerhouse ALT BLK ERA and the dreamy soul-pop duo Sunflower Thieves. 




ALT BLK ERA, images and words courtesy of @bethanboast


ALT BLK ERA had been on my radar since they won the Future Sound of Nottingham competition in July. They have been described as fierce, raw & unconventional – which is undoubtedly true. 

A sister duo, Nyrobi (18) and Chaya (15), have chewed up the rule book and spat it back out, extracting all traditional expectations in the process. Their genre-bending music draws on dark strings, haunting harmonies, and chilling circus vibes which blend seamlessly with heavy basslines, electric guitars, and tongue-twisting raps. This irrepressible sound rejects definition, an unnerving yet energising experience all at once.

The prodigious pair kicked off their day at Rough Trade at 3pm. The awaiting crowd stood eagerly shoulder to shoulder some on their tiptoes, craning their heads to get a proper view all fully immersed in the power that exuberates around the room. You can’t help but smile from ear to ear when watching ALT BLK ERA

After their performance, I had the chance to speak with the sister trap-metal duo, something I became increasingly excited about I needed to know more about them. 


ALT BLK ERA, images and words courtesy of @bethanboast


Nyrobi humbly explained how they feel when they take to the stage, “It's just such an honour to be on stage in front of that many people. Like, they're all watching us and are excited by our music. We're always beaming on stage.”

ALT BLK ERA may still in their infancy as a band, having only formed in February. However, you wouldn’t have guessed this with their on-stage energy and visually and musically captivating performance.   

The pair grew closer as sisters over lockdown. When they weren't homeschooled, they were finding their sound and signature style. They wanted to rap but decided that their music needed to sound harder, so they added some badass guitar, gut-busting drums and a ton of bass. 

Nyrobi has now left school, which means they have more time to focus on their music with the support of their mom/manager, who the girls described as “perfect”. Her belief in them means that they can do this full-time. 

ALT BLK ERA have an exciting future ahead with the hopes of releasing more music and selling out headline shows. I left feeling in awe of the pair, so much so that I mentioned them to just about every person I met that day.  If you love music, raw talent and girl power, then you should absolutely treat yourselves to an ALT BLK ERA performance. 

You can see ALT BLK ERA when they play Beat The Streets on the 29th of January 2023. CLICK HERE to get your tickets! 




Sunflower Thieves, images and words courtesy of @bethanboast


Leeds-based dream-folk duo Sunflower Thieves (Amy Illingworth and Lily Sturt-Bolshaw) are at the top of their game. I had heard their name floating around for a few years but never had the pleasure of seeing them perform. Thanks to Hockley Hustle, Sunday night was the night. Doused in authenticity and honest lyricism, the pair took to the Bodega stage at 8 pm. 

Their 8 pm Bodega slot is a biggy at Hockley Hustle, which was no issue for Sunflower Thieves. While there were inevitably a couple of rowdy chats from the back of the room, they were promptly Shhh’d quiet by the rest of the audience, eager to give themselves to the musings of the Sunflower sisterhood. 

Playing tracks from their latest LP, “Someone To Be There For”, which has almost 650,000 streams on Spotify, the duo do us the honour of laying themselves bare on the stage. Enabling each listener to peer into a window of the dark and sore parts of life that we all individually and collectively endure. 

If you’d strip everything back and listen to just their melodic voices, that would be enough, but to add delicately composed piano and an onset of horns and strings, Sunflower Thieves ascend to a higher plane. 


Damn Craters, image courtesy of @elizabethgraciee 


Sunflower Thieves kindly joined me just after the performance to answer a few questions, we found a quiet spot outside in the drizzly rain. Sunflower Thieves have been friends since nursery and performing since the age of 13, where they first appeared in front of an audience at an open mic. April saw the release of their latest EP while they were supporting Lewis Watts on tour. Being big fans of Lewis, this was a big moment for them, and evidently, they picked up a fair few new fans along the way. 

Fresh from being put firmly in my feels from their performance, I wanted to know what it’s like to write and sing about the most personal parts of human existence. 

Every songwriting session is a therapy session. The majority of it is just chatting about how we feel.”  Amy mentioned that depending on the performance she can often get in her feels when performing especially when the song is intensely personal. Their authenticity is exactly what makes them so relatable. The audience is not immersed purely in the performance but because it takes them on their own self-soothing journey. “We tend to not explain to people exactly what things are about. It's nice for people to interpret them how they want to.” 

Sunflower Thieves are on tour this November with a whole band, which they have not done in a long time. With future plans to release another EP, Sunflower Thieves are a powerful force and will undoubtedly continue on this upwards trajectory. I, for one, am excited to hear where they go from here.

📆 October

22/10    Hockley Hustle – Various Nottingham Venues, Nottingham

22/10    Young Hustlers – Various Nottingham Venues, Nottingham

Hockley Hustle tickets are currently available with Gigantic.

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