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Who is the Hootenany?

The Hootenany is a group of musicians who come together annually to facilitate a full evening of live music in as many Downtown Hastings venues as are willing to participate. Think of the Hootenany as a band – only this band has enough members and equipment to play at 8 or more establishments on the same night, at the same time – all volunteer, all grass-roots, all free live music for the community.



What does the Hootenany do?

The Hooteanny sets up a sound system at each venue and schedules a different act each half-hour from the start of the Hoot until a given venue closes. Since year 5, we have also facilitated a fundraiser for Hastings Middle School music programs and local youth musicians. So, while the event is free to attend (a major tenet of the Hoot), there is a $20 suggested donation at the door of participating venues or you can now also donate online via PayPal, available at (last year we started a 501c(3) called “River City Music & Arts Education Foundation” to enable tax-deductible donations online, as well as sponsoring scholarships for HHS graduates, visit for more info.).



Where does the Hootenany take place?

Hootenany musical activities take place completely INSIDE of the downtown establishments, this is not a street dance or event taking place in a public area. Any and all regular ordinances for downtown (parking, public drinking, etc.) on a Saturday night are the same as any other weekend evening. That means, NO DRINKS OUTSIDE OF BARS/RESTAURANTS – alcohol is not allowed anywhere it isn’t normally allowed – the Hootenany does not change any of these dynamics of attending a live music performance at a Downtown Hastings establishment, this is the personal responsibility of attendees*.


*Wristbands: the evening of the Hootenany, at the door of each venue, you will encounter an individual with a donation bucket (opportunity to donate, $20 suggested, any amount appreciated) as well as ID-ing for 21+. If you are over 21, you will get a Hoot wristband at the door. This is UNRELATED to if you have donated or not – this is not a ticket or wristband for admittance – it is only to more quickly ID 21+ across 8+ venues that night, to expedite the process of needing to ID repeatedly at different spots. You do not need a wristband to enter a bar, only if you plan to drink, as a way for bars to know you’re 21+.



When is the Hootenany?

Over the past few years, we’ve slated the Hootenany for the LAST SATURDAY OF APRIL annually, which is the plan for the foreseeable future. 



Why did the Hootenany start?

The Hoot started with about 10 musician buddies at 1 bar in 2010 – playing brisk 25-minute sets, all on the same equipment, with brief 5-minute switches between acts, which is a format we have preserved since – the brisk pace is a designed element of Hooting, it keeps music going continuously throughout the night at each spot, plus helps get as many different musicians involved as possible. This started as a celebration of local music and business, and has grown much more, including a fundraiser.


How do you sign up or register to play at the Hootenany?

As soon as the previous Hoot is over, we start to get inquiries from new acts about playing the next year. We begin forming that list of interested bands/musicians right away, which gives each a shot at snagging a Hootenany slot (in the order the inquiry was received).  That list, in addition to the returning Hoot acts list, means we tend to fill up rather quickly (usually 2+ months before the Hoot), but don’t finalize a schedule until 1 month prior. It does happen that an act or 2 cancel along the way, so we do keep a waiting list going up until the Hoot.

There’s no formal “sign-up” or “booking” – just word of mouth (since the beginning), either message the Hootenany on Facebook, or e-mail at: – we do like for Hoot acts to have a close or loose tie to the Hastings music community, generally musician friends of Hoot musicians. Need to know the total # of people in the band, type of music, if you use drums, and if everyone is over 21. Also, please describe how you heard about the Hoot (attended, know other musicians, played, etc.). HOOT ON!!!

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