I’ve been attending festivals for over twenty seven years. In that time I have fallen in and out of love with different festivals for a variety of reasons, however over the years one that has always remained a consistent favourite not just for me but the whole family is Nozstock.
Reviewing it over the years and the fact it’s on the doorstep has made me feel more attached to the festival so when I was recently invited to come and have a look around the farm and have a chat with Ella Nosworthy, I of course jumped at the chance.
So last Friday with my Nephew, a singer, musician, photographer and a regular at Nozstock in tow, we headed off to the farm.
The first thing we noticed when pulling through the entrance we both know well was how strange it is to see the fields empty of tents and cars. It is quite disorienting when something that you feel you know well can look so different. We followed the farm track to the farmhouse and that is where we met Ella.
With one child close to her legs and another in her arms and a dog circling them all yet, still managing to greet us and show us around the entrance. The first thing I noted about Ella is that like so many mums she is juggling motherhood with work and life and absolutely smashing it. It is really is not to be underestimated how much work, time and emotion must go into running a festival and to do it with young children must be challenging at the best of times. I asked Ella how the children and the animals manage the festival and she explained they find it to strange having home change so much so they generally spend time away for the most of it.
We headed into the office for tea (and sweets for the children) to have a general chat about the festival and the farm. Whilst the children played and the dog had his tummy tickled we carried on talking about how different the farm looks without all the festival in full swing and about the possibilities of making Nozstock bigger, Ella’s view on it was “never say never but we can only work with the space we have and that is all in use, we have a great relationship with the neighbours but we are not in a position to use the land”. I found this quite interesting as I thought them turning the farm into a festival for a few days ever year would cause issues but as Noz himself explained “it started with a bbq with neighbours who were friends and it’s never really stopped”.
Last year was a scorching festival but I can remember in the past some really wet ones. I know from working at festivals you have to put in so much extra work when it’s wet but I hadn’t considered the cost as Ella explained “A wet festival is so much harder for us and terrible for financial reasons, having to put down wood chip on paths and things like tractors to get people out that are stuck can make things really difficult” so fingers crossed for Sun this year.
I’ve been seeing a lot of news from Glastonbury regards how much better the farm was left this year. Less rubbish and of course less tents. Being that Nozstock is a working farm and it’s such an important issue, I wanted to ask Ella how they will be tackling the issue this year, “it has always been important for the farm to keep it as clean as possible. We have to check the ground for glass as it could obviously hurt the cows and things like cigarette butts take years to break down in the ground. We want to give it a real push this year and have set up the ‘keepin it green’ campaign. People have got better over the years but if it’s a wet year we still have issues with people taking tents home as when tired and wet on the Monday removing the tents is the last thing they want to do and the problem with pop up tents is even when left on site they can’t be given away to reuse”
This year the festival has some amazing acts and one of the things I love about Noz is just strolling around and listening and falling in love with music you have never heard before. I asked Ella who she is looking forward to seeing but like me (when she can get out of the office) she is just looking forward to it all.
Whilst sat In the office we had a visit from Noz. A wonderful man that really just loves his tunes and his friends and family. He spoke of the great relationship he has with the neighbours and how they always support the festival. His love for the festival was obvious and he loves the size of the festival and the fact it’s not corporate.
All the Nostock team have worked together for years. The festival is of course very much a family business. Whilst walking around the farm we met Rob who was busy making and creating pieces for the site, But the family seemed so much bigger than that. The artists painting on site, the builders, the PA all felt like family. I asked about who runs the social media and it was lovely to hear it’s someone who was initially taken on as a apprentice but they kept him on and he now does all the social media. The artists on site come back year after year and when needed they take art students from the local college. Ella is very keen to keep the festival as local as possible and explained she will always try to work with local companies before going further a field.
I have always felt Nozstock is like two festivals over one weekend. The festival in the day is very different to the festival in the evening. Often people arise from tents around 6pm ready to take it on till the following morning. Ella agreed and also like me feels it’s a good thing and it is important it has that mix. I loved how Noz described it “it is like a village fete in the day and at night it is like Rio de Janeiro”
This year the theme is the Wizard of Oz. Ella explained picking the theme is always really important to them and it always amazes her how so many people make such a effort with it. My nephew said one of his favourite bits of the festival is arriving on the first day and checking out what has been done with the entrance based around the theme. We both now know what it is but I absolutely can not share! I’m also intrigued to see how they manage the yellow brick road as from what Ella said it’s proving to be a tricky one to plan.
As well as having a sneaky peak at the entrance gate into the festival we got to have a walk around the site with Ella and several gorgeous dogs one of which actually wears sun glasses due to light sensitivity, only at Noz could a dog be so cool he wears shades. I’m limited to what I can say about the stages current appearance, don’t want to give anything away. Some of the stage structures are amazing, they have really gone to town with the building on the stages this year. The stages are in the same place but the tractors that many may remember have long gone. I asked about the sofas that get spotted around site and Ella said they get so many donated every year to the point they have to decline them so expect the sofas again this year.
Due to the wet weather at the beginning of this Summer a lot of work has been carried out on the paths and bridges. Ella explained it was work that needing doing and it had been put off but the recent bad weather has given them the push to get it all sorted. Extra cover has been built around the bandstand stage which hopefully will just be needed for shade and not rain cover. This year the children’s area will have more of an area for the teens. Things like graffiti art workshops. A great idea for the children around my sons age (10) that want something a little bit different to what’s offered in the children’s area.
Nozstock has some of the best art work and it was great to be able go and check out some of the work for this year. I asked what happens to the art after the festival. It either gets recycled, a few pieces sold or given away and some finds it way home with the festival visitors.
I had the best day I can remember for a long time walking around the farm and chatting to Ella and her family. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to of been invited into their home. Such a lovely welcoming family who have created in my opinion one of the best small festivals around. At the time of writing this they have some tickets left but not many. Last year it sold out and its near to it this year. It’s looking great and I really think it’s going to be a real good one. So get a ticket and the ruby slippers on its nearly Nozstock time!
*Nozstock festival kicks off on the 18th of July in Bromyard, Herefordshire. Pop on the following link to get a ticket https://nozstock.com/tickets/buy-tickets-online/
Last year’s review for more details … My type of festival