Did you get your stetson on this August? Rootin tootin fundraisers and chaps-laden revellers once again stopped traffic to raise awareness and funds for Headway Jersey. The inaugural Halkett Hoedown in 2014 raised over £11,750 for Headway Jersey but with totals just in, the generosity of the Jersey public made sure the second event this summer smashed last year, raising over £34,000!
The Hoedown was the brainchild of David Stokes proprietor of Bean Around the World together with Niall MacFirbhisigh of Stoked Music & Louise Stirling of Headway Jersey who came up with the idea as a way to create an amazing street party in the centre of town and in the process raise funds & awareness for Headway Jersey’s cause. David went on to win 2015 Community Champion of the Year at the Pride of Jersey Awards for his work with the Hoedown and other fundraising events.
The Hoedown took place on Sunday 30th August and saw Halkett Place closed to traffic as town really met country, with straw bales and Western themed decorations all round. Tommy Titshall & his team of volunteers from Beau Construction once again built & decorated jails, stores, stocks, bars and signs which set the scene perfectly. Wild West Fancy dress was the order of the day and a small army of volunteers helped make The Halkett Hoedown happen & entry was by voluntary donation.
Although the rain threatened and fell briefly, this year The Hoedown was bigger & better allowing for an increased capacity of up to 3,000 music fans enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend listening to an array of live music in the centre of St Helier. At times the entire street was completely full of locals & tourists, families & friends, music fans young & old, jumping & dancing to the sounds of local favourites Frankie Davies, Rick Jones, ‘Joe Young & The Bandits’, ‘Sula’ and ‘The Blind Drivers’ to name just a few.
The event was made possible by the hard work of many volunteers, businesses and organisations, but could not have happened without the help & support of the Parish of St Helier & Jersey Arts Trust. The Constable Simon Crowcroft again welcomed the crowd, which was at almost 2,000 strong within an hour of opening.
Upbeat live music was performed all day and into the night with Country, Americana, Folk & Blues being the main themes. Other activities included: Line Dancing, Western themed games, face-painting, caricatures, prizes for best fancy dress (children & adult categories), food stalls, outdoor bar, Jersey cider, homemade cakes, toffee apples, candy floss and much, much more. The children and family area was expanded with even more activities and games that proved so popular the previous year.
The Hoedown operated not just one, but two stages in 2015, working alternatively, so that the music played non-stop throughout the day. The second stage was set up, manned and operated by youngsters from Youth Arts Jersey (formerly La Motte Street Centre) who did a fantastic job. Young acts who cut their teeth with YAJ also performed such as Kaiya Campbell & Brice Harrison all of whom received a warm response from the growing audience. Students Ben Hogben & Andy Le Page also took to the main stage and received rapturous applause for their smoking, bluesy set.
Once again the 50/50 raffle proved very popular (a raffle where proceeds collected are paid out half to the winner – half to Headway) this years winner took home a top prize of – £4375.00.
The organisers would like to thank everyone involved with the 2015 event for their help and commitment. The musicians, the sponsors, the volunteers, the carpenters, the sound crews, the bar team, those who set up stalls & games and of course the very generous general public. Sadly the Hoedown will take a break in 2016 to plan for an even bigger event in 2017 and they’re looking for sponsors. if you’d like to support this amazing event, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.