We caught up with HOON, the creators of a new all-ages Wollongong festival

On February 1st, Wollongong band HOON will be throwing a huge all-ages mini-fest called All Of Us. The event will be a culmination of music and art, with a stack of bands and visual artists all coming together for one epic show.

So before the festival kicks off, we caught up with the band behind the whole operation, HOON, to chat about how it came together, the importance of all-ages gigs, and potential future lineups.

Ahead of the launch of their new all-ages festival All Of Us, we caught up with Wollongong band HOON to chat all about it.

HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? Congratulations on the upcoming festival!

HOON: Heya Happy, going pretty good! Busy and good; thank you! it’s awesome to finally get it out into the world.

HAPPY: How will this year’s All of Us festival be different from last year’s HOON-FEST?

HOON: Well, this year is a little bit bigger in terms of how many artists we’ve got, it’s at a different venue, and this one’s all ages!

HAPPY: Was there a general concept behind the launch of this festival?

HOON: The concept was pretty well just to grab some bands and visual artists who have been around for a while doing awesome stuff, and put them alongside some bands and artists that are younger who are also doing awesome stuff. I guess we wanted to do something that brought together all of us.

HAPPY: Which act are you most keen to catch on stage?

HOON: Definitely excited to see everyone, but probably most excited to see the guys in Swells play. They’re the only band on the All Of Us bill that none of us have seen yet. Also real keen to see the Floodway guys play, we got put onto them by a friend Matt Harvey who plays in Gosh and recently with Maddy Jane. He is one of the lads’ guitar teachers and when he showed us their tracks we were sold on them straight up.

HAPPY: How important is it to have all age events on in Australia?

HOON: Very. Younger people need access to live music. It gives them something positive to do and it gives them a space to go hangout that’s safe and they can meet people that share similar interests that can influence them positively. When there were age-restricted shows we would have to sneak into pubs and venues. I remember going to a Jungle Fever show in Newtown underage. I messaged the band on Myspace (yeah it was a while ago) telling them how much it sucked we couldn’t get in. They actually responded offering to meet us behind the venue so they could give us some gear to wheel into the pub. To get around the licencing issue with venues, there have been lots of really good DIY shows in Wollongong. A lot of great house shows, we recently played a show in an alleyway under a rail bridge. Everyone involved is super inviting, supportive and passionate about live music. There’s a great, nurturing community here. Seeing gigs when we were young and impressionable kind of changed our perspective of what you can do in life. It brought us to this point and put us in a position where we can kind of return the favour. Playing live shows can give young musicians experience into what path they might want to choose and nurture their hobbies, possibly even into a career. It’s important because that’s who we’re going to be watching when we’re all washed up.

HAPPY: With the invitation extended to artists to contribute to a mural art piece, what’s the vision for this wall post-festival?

HOON: Offt, good question! We don’t even know yet hey. We’re in talks with the venue about that at the moment. Hopefully, we can display at the Youth Centre for a bit in some way or another. If the collab wall at the last mini-fest is anything to go off, this one would be an absolute shame to kept away in storage.

HAPPY: Why do you think there’s such an incredible creative space coming from Wollongong particularly?

HOON: I think it’s kind of a mix between the town itself transitioning towards being a University town, as well as live music encouraged now with all of the Yours & Owls larger events and venues like Rad Bar (RIP angel) La La La’s, and The Foundry. I think over the last 5 or so years we’ve just had a boom of creative culture with things like those happening as well as the Wonderwalls Street art festival and pop up galleries like 3d Studios, moving mountains, pretty good, teel studios and fin box.

HAPPY: Is All of Us something you hope to continue and grow? Who would you like to see on the lineup for 2021?

HOON: Yeah for sure! It’d be awesome to get another one going, maybe make it an annual thing and extend it to include some interstate bands and more up and coming local bands. Maybe a little bit of Billie Eilish, that’d be cool. We can dream, right?

Grab more info on All Of Us here.