This was my second year at Nozstock and having just left, I can say that not much has changed since 2012… which is fantastic.
The same warm smiles and friendly faces scatter the green fields, waters and forests of this small but very picturesque festival. The beer is still cheap (at £3.20 a pint), the entertainment diverse and the toilets clean. Although one noticeable difference was the presence of rain this year which was heavy at points but this only seemed to cause for more smiles when the sun came out time and time again. What I didn't notice last year were the sometimes steep slopes dotted around the place, being that the festival is housed in VALLEY truthfully I should have seen this coming but when the rain came down these made for some slippery journeys and treacherous trekking between the campsite and the stages but the organisers were only a stone’s throw away laying down straw and wood chips over night to make it all better. These little touches are evident throughout the festival and this is what makes it so special. There was a Human Fruit Machine, which I had to play; archery and belt making – to only name a very few!
Inside the festival there appeared to be a lot for kids to do and plenty for the adults too. The days were easily filled with comedy and music, this year saw Howard 'Mr Nice' Marks grace the comedy stage with some trademark tales and bands I'd never heard of owning the main stage (Orchard Stage) such as Tako Lako from Denmark (who I now CANNOT wait to see again next year, I think the lead singer might be a new hero of mine) and The Wytches who had a great sound as well as acts I was looking forward to like The Electric Swing Circus. The Orchard Stage was also the setting for yet another memorable performance from The Correspondents; ‘Mr Bruce’ never seems to fail the crowd! It was just as good as last year!
It’s so easy to kick back and soak it all up in the sun on the farm but it it's at night when this one really kicks into gear. The sun goes down, the volume goes up and the masses come out. Friday night saw, By The Rivers, an original 6-piece reggae band, light up the Garden Stage. I had never heard of them but had received strong recommendations – I was not disappointed at all as they played a lovely sounding reggae to a packed crowd. Andy C was the highlight for me, having appeared to enjoy his time at the cubicles (Nozstock’s dedicated dance area) last year so much that he brought his crew this time, with Loadstar and Wilkinson also delivering big beats into the small hours. A late night/early morning trip down to the coppice is a must as there's nothing quite like a trance skank-out in the forest before bed at dawn.
A great thing about Nozstock is the size, it is one of the smaller festivals but with so much going in really doesn’t feel very small; a problem with larger festivals can be the lack of phone signal, this was not the case but most of the time it was not needed as I always found myself bumping into the same festival goers over the weekend.
The more I go to Nozstock the more I love it. There's just something remarkable about listening to a huge stacked speaker system in a graffitied barnyard on a weekend afternoon with a pint of locally sourced beer or cider. If you can manage the drawn out trip over to this remote spot I would definitely recommend it. Just watch out for the slippery slopes.
Review by Sam Walsh
Photos by Paul Taylor