Hootenanny: Back to Basics 2 – A Kindie production by Bill Childs and Stephanie Mayers


The Kindie genre is thriving, and one of its strongest aspects is the community. There have been industry conferences, such as the now retired Kindiefest, the newborn (relatively, it’s more like a toddler now) Kindiecomm, and some artist meet-ups and showcases. There is no shortage of people working passionately to support and move this genre forward. Two of those people are Bill Childs (Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child) and Stephanie Mayers (Mayers Consulting).

Bill and Stephanie are producing Hootenanny: Back to Basics 2 (“Hootenanny 2”), a one night event featuring nuthin’ but music from a solid set of collaborations covering a broad range of styles. So solid.

While Hootenanny 2 is primarily geared toward industry folks (kids’ musicians and (kids) music biz folks), it will be open to the public.

The event will be held on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at Jalopy in Brooklyn. Tickets are available here.


Rachel Loshak and Morgan Taylor (Gustafer Yellowgold)
Joanie Leeds and Dan Elliott (Pointed Man Band)
Vered Ronen and Walter Martin
Michael & the Rockness Monsters and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Jazzy Ash and KB Whirly
Ashley Albert and Tim Kubart
Danny Weinkauf and AudraRox
Sonia de los Santos and Brady Rymer
Shine (Shine and the Moonbeams) & Dan Zanes
The Deedle Deedle Dees and Moona Luna
Elena Moon Park and The Pop Ups

I was curious about the event and had a chance to chat with Bill and Stephanie a bit about it. For more on Hootenanny (and its history), check out Stefan Shepherd’s (my fellow kids music aficiando) thoughts at his blog Zooglobble.

Kids Can Groove: Tell us about your work with concert/event production and other professional efforts in this genre.

Bill: I’ve been in family music radio since 2005 after developing as a fan since my daughter’s birth in 1999. We launched Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (http://sparetherock.com) on a community station in August 2005, then moved to a commercial AAA station a couple of years later, and then, when we moved to Austin, switched to syndication, and we’re now heard on a dozen or so stations across the country, originating at our flagship KUTX.  I was a law professor when we started and I’m now back in practice as a litigator.

Stephanie: In college I decided to plan my major around music pr after a couple of inspiring internship opportunities. I landed my first music job in Philadelphia helping with the launch of World Cafe Live. We developed a family concert series there that quickly became a citywide favorite and Saturdays were suddenly the best day of my week. I had found my calling. From Philly I moved to NYC taking a job with Putumayo World Music running marketing and events for the kids division and eventually for all of North America. Then in 2010 I was thrilled to head to Brooklyn to run Festival Five Records and work with Grammy winner Dan Zanes. Recently I decided it was time to run my own show and be able to work with multiple talents so I started Mayers Consulting.

How did you first meet/collaborate? 

Stephanie: Back in 2006 when I was producing the Peanut Butter & Jams series at World Cafe Live in Philly I was working hard to learn all I could about the budding genre and so through my research I discovered Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. I sent Bill a blind email introducing myself just for the purpose of sharing knowledge. Actually Bill recently found that first email I sent and the line was “I can’t help but think there has got to be some way for us to band together in this small and growing end of the music business.” The rest is history. Our relationship developed into a great friendship and then a business eventually with our work together on Hootenanny, later Kindiefest and with our work for the Spare the Rock Record label when I handled pr for the Many Hands and Science Fair releases.

Can you briefly describe what the inspiration for Hootenanny was initially, and what the impetus was for Hootenanny 2?

Stephanie: It started off as just a way to expand a trip Bill had planned to Brooklyn — he contacted Audra Tsanos (AudraRox) about hanging out and recording a radio show while there. Then it grew to have over twenty bands, and I joined in the fun to help organize and recruit.  It wasn’t really “about” anything other than building a community, and that’s been the impetus for the new one — a grateful look back at a decade of community and a look forward at what’s coming next.

Was the first Hootenanny a paired performance/collaborative effort like this one? How are the two different, and are there things that might have changed for you/lessons learned, things you wanted to see with version 2.

Bill: It was not, at least not formally, though there were a lot of people helping each other out in that event and in subsequent events (I remember Recess Monkey backing up Aric Bieganek of the Royal Order of Chords and Keys when his band got stuck in weather-related traffic).  But we both realized that one of the things we love most about this scene is that it’s (mostly) a unified scene — a positive community helping each other out. So encouraging collaborations seemed obvious.

Brooklyn is known as somewhat of a hot spot for indie music, and emerging indie bands generally, and the presenting artists are mostly New York-based, with a few residing in Brooklyn. Was this the draw to return back to Jalopy? Did you want to showcase a thriving local (relatively) kindie scene? 

Stephanie: I think for this specific event the idea was kind of going home again. We have such fond memories of the early days of the kids music community banding together. Originally Brooklyn was the destination one, because Audra lived there and could easily coordinate the event in her own backyard and two, because yes we noticed there was such a large population in the tri-state area of family music makers and Brooklyn seemed like a great central place to bring everyone together. Plus, who doesn’t love Brooklyn?

This event is industry specific and also open to the public. What do you hope to offer (within the community) and for those who attend ? 

Bill: It’s a show for grownups, and we expect lots of people from the industry, but everyone is welcome. We’ve always done events that are about collaboration and finding new connections, and this is just more of that.  Also, we miss seeing everyone.

This event is industry focused but also open to the public (non-industry folks) which will hopefully catch the eye of some music lovers with kids.  

Bill: We are largely reaching out to industry; it’s a small enough space that we think we’ll be in good shape from that area.  But we’ve seen a lot of the artists playing encouraging parents of their kid fans to come out, and we think that’ll be great too — this is great music, period.

How did you decide on which artists to pair?

Bill: A lot of back and forth brainstorming.  We’ve worked together on a lot of concert bills, and have a pretty good history on that front — and here, we worked to pair artists we thought would complement each other and bring diversity to the event.

You cover a broad range of genres which is nice, is that something you felt was necessary and do you feel this an indication of the breadth of the genre, or both? 

Bill: Both!  We love the breadth of family music and can’t imagine creating an event that didn’t reflect that.



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