The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Gamble on trad music gig paid off

- Hoolie At The Hydro Ovo Hydro, Glasgow, December 9

When Gary Innes booked the Hydro for three shows across three years, he knew it was a huge gamble. TheRadioSc­otlandhost­wantedto stage a trad music gig in the country’s biggest arena, and despite lots of nerves and last-minute worries, the inaugural Hoolie At The Hydro last December was a resounding success.

He said: “I wanted to book it for three years, with the view that if year one went well, I had the chance to do it again the following year. The dates go so quickly at the Hydro, especially a Saturday evening in December, but I wasn’t 100% convinced I would do it again.

“Last year took so much out of me personally, and was such a huge financial gamble, but the resounding success of the night, and the number of people who said they would come to the next one, gave me confidence, so here we are.”

Gary, who is a founding member of moderntrad­bandManran,hadfeared his dream gig might never happen.

“Covid happened, so the date kept being shifted, and then on the day before the gig, Scotland basically closed down due to the weather, so rightuptot­helastminu­teIwasstil­l thinking it might not go ahead.

“But it did, and being on stage and feeling the atmosphere, seeing how much love there was for the music, was the most special part.”

Thosewhosa­idlastyear­thatthey would come to the next Hoolie have been true to their word, with an extra 1,000 ticket sales purchased this year – almost 9,000 seats have already been sold.

Headlining this year’s gig is a special collaborat­ion to celebrate 50 years of Runrig, which features the band’s drummer, Iain Bayne, and keyboardis­t Brian Hurren, alongside well-known musicians such as Julie Fowlis, Duncan Chisholm, Capercaill­ie’s Karen Matheson and Donald Shaw, as well as Gary.

“This year’s finale is giving me more nerves than last year’s show, because I want it to really hit with Runrig fans and traditiona­l music fans,” continued Gary, who hosts Take The Floor and Your Request shows on Radio Scotland. “Everyone asked was delighted to take part. Myself, Julie and Duncan performed with Runrig at their Last Dance shows at Stirling Castle, and I was on the front cover of their album in 2007, swinging my shinty sticks. Donald and Karen were support at Runrig’s famous Loch Lomond gig in 1991.

“And Coinneach MacLeod, the Hebridean Baker, who is hosting the night with Julie, sang on stage with the choir at Runrig’s final performanc­es. I’ve been trying to grab the threads and pull it all together, as they each have their own stories related to Runrig.”

Also on the bill are Manran, Wolfstone, Trail West, Skerryvore’s Alec Dalglish, Britain’s Got Talent’s Cammy Barnes, social media star NATI and Irish musician Eamon Doorley.

“The idea is to be seen to be moving forward, which is what we’re doing with the first four or five acts, while celebratin­g the guys who have done the road miles. We would never be in a position to put on a show like this without bands like Runrig and Capercaill­ie, bands who put in the road miles around the world to global audiences.

“Next year is guaranteed – we have all the bands booked already. This feels like the start of something that will only grow bigger and bigger.”

rock festival features a packed line-up of veteran acts and newcomers, including the Michael Schenker Group, Massive Wagons, Tyketto, Chantel McGregor, The New Roses and FM.

 ?? ?? Musician and broadcaste­r Gary Innes at the OVO Hydro as he launched the world’s biggest ceilidh last year.
Musician and broadcaste­r Gary Innes at the OVO Hydro as he launched the world’s biggest ceilidh last year.

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