Interview: Hoot & Howl

Interview with Hoot and Howl girls Melanie Dymott and Julie Jenkins from Bondi Beach about their events, clubs and community initiatives

So, what is Hoot & Howl?

We are Hoot & Howl – two Bondi gurls with music events background using our powers for good, namely with our first event ‘Winter Warmers’.

And what does the name refer to?

Having a right ole knees up.

Who are the people behind it?

Melanie Dymott and Julie Jenkins are Hoot & Howl. We have worked in music events for over 30 years combined - from international and national music festivals to touring international artists and various club nights in Sydney and the UK.

What is your connection to Bondi?

We’ve lived here for over 20 years.

Your new ventures are based at the Beach Road Hotel – can you tell me a bit about the venue and your partnership with them?

The Beach Road Hotel is a stalwart in providing fantastic entertainment in various guises for the local community. Having worked with them in March on the last minute Beachender – an event they kindly helped organise after the cancellation of the Weekender festival we found that they were awesome to work with. They’re really supportive to new ideas and especially from the community charity vibe. Plus they didn’t say no to any of our out there ideas ranging from Winter Warmers, Scooter Meet, Knitty Gritty Knitting Club, Secret Mothers Society and Favourite Things indoor markets. We keep thinking surely they are going to say no to the next suggestion and they don’t! Well apart from the petting zoo..

What is the drive behind the new community ventures and events?

It’s winter and it’s cold. We see a lot of charity events helping people overseas but not so much for youth in need where we live. After the Garage Sale Trail we had a mountain of surplus clothes and didn’t want it to end up in landfill so called around a bunch of local charities. Not many would take donations so we started to look into the plight of homeless kids and started investigating which organisations actually dealt directly with youths on the streets. We chose 3 organisations who help kids in different ways, Father Chris Riley accepts clothing donations and feeds homeless kids nightly on the streets. Bondi Youth Accommodation – we thought it was important to support a local organisation who gets overlooked, they help find housing for kids on the street as well as the hidden homeless - young people who are; couch surfers, youth refuges, unsafe at home, seriously overcrowded, squatting or camping. Open Family Australia are an outreach program who actively go out and find homeless kids in squats, railway stations, on the street and find them shelter and offer support.

Why the charity aspect of your ventures?

We have always wanted to give back to the community and in particular kids who have had a rough start in life. It stemmed from a surplus of clothes and the fact that its winter and rather than taking them to an op shop we wanted to make sure that they went directly to youths on the street. This idea morphed into an event to raise funds and awareness as that’s what we do, which then grew into spin off events.

Can you tell me a bit about Open Family Australia and the Longest Night Appeal this Thursday?

Open Family Australia have been operating for over 30 years and they are an outreach organisation who support youths on the street by finding them accommodation and support in getting their lives back on track. They have workers who go out on the streets who seek out homeless kids in squats, streets and red light areas.

They also operate a food bus called Nosh and an outreach bus called Chatterbox where clients can get warm, have internet access, help with health issues etc.

The 21 Challenge is an initiative which is raising awareness and funds to the longest night 21 June whereby they are encouraging people to give up something for 21 days and be sponsored.

Many of the ventures seem family friendly and focused – is this in response to a changing demographic in Bondi?

We have tried to cater to a variety of people but yes you are right, there is a focus on family and kids. Mel has a 19 month old and can see the need for more family based Bondi activities such as the Favourite Things Markets and Secret Mothers Society. Saying that, Winter Warmers and Knitty Gritty are events which are social and based around music.

If my skills are more ‘drop one’ than ‘purl one’ can I still join the Knitty Gritty Knitting Club?

Ha, this is open to everyone, we do have a couple of experts to show you how it’s done but basically its a social gathering and is an excuse to have a glass of red, get out of the flat and have a natter. We are amazed how many men are into it, we think it’s under the premise that they think they might meet a winter warmer at one of the meets.

How does ‘Favourite Things’ markets differentiate from the ever-popular Bondi Markets?

Firstly its indoor, on a Saturday and in a pub! We are focusing on vintage, handmade and up and coming designers and no imports with our markets. We are also making it child friendly, the Beach Road have changed their license so that children can come upstairs until 5 pm and we are taking over the band room, bar and outside area (for food). We are also going to have yoga classes there in the morning on Sat 30 June as a trial.

What would success look like for Hoot & Howl in 5, 10 or 20 years?

Ha, we haven’t thought that far, these events only started as an idea 2 weeks ago and here we are. We had events rolling before we even had a name for a company, its just happening organically.

Hopefully we will both have a veggie patch and chickens and our lives will be filled with love and laughter. In all seriousness who knows where we will be, we are really enjoying working on these soul satisfying events and would love to get the support of the local community to make them become established.

Thanks gals – any final words?

We have a bunch of fun events on to cater for everyone and hope to see you on the 30th.


Love Is A Four Letter Word – Photo exhibition & fundraiser

Secret Mothers Society – weekly mum’s meet up with food and music

Knitty Gritty – A social weekly gathering for witty knitters and crafty cats

Favourite Things – Weekly Indoor Vintage & Handmade Markets

Scooter Meet – Charity Scooter Cruise & Music Event

Winter Warmers – Mini Festival Fundraiser at the Beach Road Hotel


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