Festival Review – Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, Herefordshire, United Kingdom

I love music festivals, but I never heard of Nozstock (July 20-22, 2018) until a friend told me about it this year at the beginning of this year. Nestled in the Herefordshire countryside, it is in a beautiful farmhouse near the town of Bromyard.

Nozstock is led by the father and daughter of Pete and Ella Nosworthy. What began in 1998 as a modest one-step barbecue has evolved into a full-fledged festival with 11 stages and a varied program of music, comedy, film, traditional arts and even burlesque .

Impressed by this year’s stellar cast (including Chase & Status and Goldfrapp), I decided to watch it myself.

Who goes to Nozstock?
Nozstock is a relatively small festival that can accommodate around 5,000 people. The crowd is a true mix of young devotees and families who succeed in living and dancing in perfect harmony. What really impressed me in Nozstock is the good atmosphere. The people were friendly and respectful, with almost constant smiles.

Smiling faces in Nozstock
Smiling Faces in Nozstock (c) Andrew Moss
It’s no surprise to Ella Nosworthy, said The Travel Magazine: “I do not know if it’s because Nozstock is small, simple or rustic, but it’s different from most of the festivals I’ve ever been to. I participated. ” is special, as if the family has invited you to a big party. ”

If you like costumes, Nozstock is the festival for you. Among the glittering youth, we saw a man dressed in TARDIS, a young woman posing as Gandalf and another dressed as “The Mask” Jim Carrey, from head to toe.

Nozstock is a camping festival and the main campsite is right next to the festival entrance. There is also a family campsite and Van Haven for caravans. You can cook your own food and drink your own schnapps on campsites. There is also a camping shop, an animal protection area and a 24-hour convenience store on site.

How is the music in Nozstock?
We arrived late Friday night, just in time to see The Selecter, an incredibly sweet band whose stylistic lyrics covered everything from sexism to racism to the pressures of success. Other highlights of the scene include a crazy, veteran electronics show, the Dub Pistols, and a cheerful and fun-filled dance hour as an ecstatic pirate for Mr Tea and the Minions. I was also pleasantly surprised by the elegant and silky voice of Jalen N’Gonda, whose music is inspired by her father’s collection of jazz, soul and hip-hop classics.

The future singer Jason N’Gonda
The next singer Jason N’Gonda (c) Andrew Moss
Echoing the theme “Nozstalgic”, which celebrates the ’80s and’ 90s, the main stage was built to resemble an eighties cinema, with plenty of fluorescent light and list heads that stood at the top of the stage as movie titles. ,

The first star, Chase & Status, prodigy of drums and bass, attracted one of the biggest crowds of the festival. The atmosphere was electrifying and the crowd began to fall into a whirlwind of manic dances as the first beats were heard through the speakers.

The second star, Grandmaster Flash, DJ and hip-hop artist, was a real treat for the crowd, although I personally found his conversation a little repetitive. I prefer the ethereal and surprisingly competitive performances of the electronic duo Goldfrapp, whose lead singer, Alison Goldfrapp, is the queen of old-school freshness.

Nozstock main stage
The main stage was built to look like a 1980s movie theater (c) Lucy Woods
Elsewhere, the “Garden Stage”, designed to resemble an old-fashioned game console, hosts a wide range of acts from reggae to hip-hop and jungle – a kind of hardcore electronic music favored by Ravern. The Garden Stage is cleverly placed at the corner of the main stage, allowing festival goers to jump easily between the two. An impressive acoustic design prevents the overlap of the music.

Although relatively small, Nozstock is full of scenes, making it a good idea to get away from the main area and enjoy the music in the distance. This includes the “Cabinet of Lost Secrets” scene, which you can only cross through a tiny doorway and follow a labyrinth-like mirrored labyrinth.

It is interesting to note that the latest addition is “Elephant’s Grave”, appropriately decorated with elephant heads and (mistakenly) a mini coaster. This area was an event of the younger crowd, which happily swung for several hours at the rhythm of electronic beats.

Elephant falls in Nozstock
Elephant falls to Nozstock (c) Andrew Moss
Another thing that really impressed me at Nozstock is the attention to detail. The theme “Nozstalgic” has been beautifully portrayed by statues and paintings of favorites such as Super Mario, The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Thomas the Tank Engine.

The experience also made it clear to the Nosworths that festival goers like to relax and recover from an hour of dancing, so they provided useful sofas in front of the scenes. It was lovely to snuggle up in the sun on a sofa, listen to music and enjoy the atmosphere.

What else is going on?
In addition to music, there is plenty to do to entertain the masses in Nozstock. The Department of Cultural Affairs organized a series of acts of theater, comedy, poetry and circus during the festival. My personal highlights were “The Fetch”, a selection of individual puppet shows of people with learning disabilities and a fabulous late-night burlesque show with dazzling performances featuring comedies (hostile to the family) .

Giant chess in the “The changed state” area
Giant chess in the field “The changed state” (c) Andrew Moss
For those in need of some rest and relaxation, the Wrong Directions cinema offers an excellent escape from the heat, with plenty of couches, free popcorn and many thrilling art films. There were also various craft stalls in “The Altered State” offering art classes and wood carvings at the lowest prices. We had fun making our own wooden mushrooms for only £ 2.50 per pop.

Unlike most music festivals I attended, Nozstock strives to be child-friendly. There is a separate family camping area and the Little Wonderland Children’s Area offers free daily activities and craft workshops. They even offer a bottle warmer service for the little ones.

Nozstock Little Wonderland children’s area
Children’s Zone of Little Wonderland Nozstock (c) Andrew Moss
The party ended with fireworks accompanied by fire dancers and the ritual fire of the “Bowser Tower”.

Food and drink
Festival-goers can bring their own schnapps to the Nozstock campsites, but not to the festival itself: Pin’s beer and cider costs only £ 3.80 and wine, cocktails and spirits are also available at a cost relatively low. In an attempt to reduce plastic waste, you pay £ 1 for your plastic beer glass and reuse it throughout the festival (swap it for a clean glass if you wish).

Tip: bring some money because the bars are only cash. There are ATMs on site, but we have £ 5 for the pleasure of using them (ouch!).

Super burgers in Nozstock
Superb Burger at Nozstock (c) Lucy Woods
The food in Nozstock was by far the best I have ever tasted in a festival – even our “Bunga Bunga” burger at £ 8.00 with blue cheese from Super Tidy Burgers was worth every penny. I also liked the cheese fries deliciously with garlic salt and chives from Pimp my Fries.

Nozstock has managed to make the impossible almost impossible: to organize a festival with an intimate and atmospheric distribution. The food is delicious, the drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is extremely positive.

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