At the Northern Lights Festival Boreal in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, Natalie Hastings of Gazoo Hoops hatched a plan during a soundcheck by the Joel Plaskett Emergency. She told the Enterprise Bulletin, “I’ve never had a famous person hula-hoop! I want Joel Plaskett to hula-hoop so bad.” A prominent figure in the Canadian indie rock scene and in the hooping life of Hastings and her family, when the four-time Juno Award nominee took the stage later that night, Hastings and the Gazoo crew made their way to the front of the stage. Lifting a hoop as close to Plaskett as possible, the hoop got carried away, literally. The crowd became insistent on passing it from person to person as if the hoop had done a stage dive. When the hoop finally made its way back into Hastings’ hands, however, she seized the opportunity to roll it up on stage, where it landed right at Plaskett’s feet. When he finished his song though he picked it up and tried giving it a spin, causing the crowd to go wild. Not really able to keep the hoop going very well on his first try, he then set it aside and continued to play his set. And just when Natalie thought her hoop dream had come true, a woman behind her said she was going to get Natalie up on that stage.
Natalie Hastings Hoops It Up
Hastings’ hoop journey began when her and a girlfriend took a trip to California three years ago. She told Nicole Hayard-Bishop, “We were at a farmer’s market, everyone was out hula-hooping and I tried it and just kind of fell in love with it. When I came back home I decided I wanted to make one, but in order to make one you needed to get supplies to make around 10 hoops and I didn’t need 10, so I just started selling them around to friends and it all just escalated from there.” These days the Gazoo Crew has been known to stop traffic. Hastings told The Enterprise Bulletin, “A bunch of us were hula-hooping in the park and cars were stopping to watch us and they got distracted. The lights would turn green and they wouldn’t go. They would just be staring at us.” In wasn’t long, however, before their audience became hoopers and performers themselves, only at the festival in Sudbury that night, Natalie was about to take center stage.
Back in 2010, we find the Gazoo Hoops crew hooping to the Joel Plaskett Emergency.
Making her way through to the very front, Natalie started spinning up an invisible hoop for the bass player to let him know what she was interested in doing. He apparently thought it was a great idea too because he nodded in agreement and Natalie was lifted up onto the stage by her fellow concert-goers where she grabbed the hoop that Plaskett had set aside and Natalie found herself hooping to the sounds of the Joel Plaskett Emergency again, only this time she was on stage with him.
Joel and Natalie
Gazoo Hoops Crew from left, Allison de Ruiter, Danielle Brubacher, Natalie Hastings, and Christy Munro
When Plaskett walked over to Natalie during one his guitar solos and played while she hooped, a hoop dream had truly come true. And when the song was over Joel gave the hoop another spin, only this time he was actually able to keep it going and the crowd was ecstatic, so much so they rused the stage.
After the concert was over the Gazoo Crew could hardly fathom what had just transpired. “I can’t wait to tell my mom,” said Hastings, “she is the biggest Joel Plaskett fan. I have no idea where this business is going to take me, but I am having so much fun doing it. I think every person should have a hobby that they are really into and devote their time to it.” We think so too Natalie, we think so too.