Friday 1st August – 3rd August – Nozstock the Hidden Valley
It was a short but incredibly fun packed day for us at Nozstock this year. We only managed to get to the hidden valley full of dinosaurs and cave folk for the day this year but still had a brilliant time. Keeping myself and Dylan company was my sister in law and my niece, both experienced festival ladies who jumped at the chance of spending the day with us.
Arrival to Nozstock is simply and painless. Lots of stewards to guide you into parking and the entrance onto sight was quick and queue free when we arrived. As we were not camping we did not have all the kit to carry but did hear about a horse and cart service for carrying kit onto site for people, quite a novel way to help with all your kit if you needed it. Although we did not camp I did look at the family camping area and it looked to have plenty of space and far enough away to have some peace at night if needed with children. The general camping does have a lot of younger people in it and I think at night could get quite hectic so I would recommend only camping in the family area.
The Kids Area
This year Nozstock was all about dinosaurs and prehistoric entertainment. The kids area for a small festival is a good size and has plenty going on all weekend. The Enchanted glade had more arts and crafts activities such as making cave girl/ men outfits, necklaces out of shells, sock puppets. All of these activities my niece loved and she moved from one workshop to another, totally in her element. Whilst my niece got busy making and creating everything to become a cave girl my son decided after playing with some of the toy dinosaurs and banging on the drums he would get stuck into some sock wrestling and cave man fighting with swords! I am sure every good caveman had a sword and sock to wrestle with, Nozstock have a team of great entertainers on site that move themselves around giving the children something to watch all the time.
The Bantam of the Opera stage also in the kids area has activities in the day for children. My son loved the Dino mask making workshop with some very patient ladies helping create some great masks. After the mask making it was the playful pathway dino adventure, this involved the pathway’s cave girls taking the children on a theatrical journey looking for a dinosaur egg. Both my niece and my son sometimes shy in taking part in plays and performance got very into it and spent the a hour acting out a performance with them.
I do like the fact at Nozstock there is a stage in the kids area. The Bandstand may only be a small stage with new artists on but it is still an opportunity to watch a few bands whilst the children play.
Food, drink and spending
A reasonable choice of food can be found. No food specifically for younger children and no child portion priced meals that I could see but the food that is for sale is reasonably priced. I went for a pizza from the wood fired pizza company. One of the best pizzas I have had at a festival and they made it half spicy and half plain so we could share, at £8 for the both of us that is a good price. My niece had noodles and when told they were for sharing they were given a extra big portion. I find all the people working at Nozstock to always be helpful and do there best to do a bit extra when they see children. All the children’s activities were free and a massive bonus no helter fun fair rides to have to pay for, they had Zorb balls on the lake but I think a age limit so we managed to avoid them.
In the day I felt incredibly safe and had no concerns for the childrens safety. They had a lost childrens area in the kids area and the volunteers were very good at explaining to the children how to look after themselves and where to come and who to go to if they got lost it needed help. Nozstock has areas called the coppice and the bullpen both areas have incredibly respected Drum ‘n’ Bass and Grime DJ’s however, this is a grownup playground and not really a place you would want to take children at night. Although the areas are easily avoided perhaps the crowds that come out to party in them are not, so just bare that in mind if you end up going that way at night.
Arts and Craft area
I do like the arts and crafts area at Nozstock. It has a very traditional feel to it, with blacksmiths and carpenters it has a really lovely relaxed atmosphere and you are made to feel very welcome whilst walking around watching and if you want to, getting involved in there creations. Children could have a go at metal work and anything they made
All the usual sort of festival stalls selling clothes and vintage pieces could be found in this area but you did not feel like there were to many taking over and could be easily avoided if your children may see lots of things they want.
We sadly missed out on most of the bands on the main stage but did manage to relax on one of the many sofas dotted around the site and whilst eating lovely ice-cream we managed to watch part of The Fresh Dixie project. If we had of made it to the evening we could of watched the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and I would of loved to of seen By The Rivers. For a small festival Nozstock really does pull in some big names!
We are lucky to have Nozstock so close to home and I would most definitely go again, it would be a crime not to especially when it is so close to us. The kids area is great and so much to do for all ages, they can be kept happily busy all day. I am not sure how it is at night and would welcome any feedback from any families who camped this time. Nozstock has a lovely chilled vibe to it and feels very traditional and not at all pretentious. It is nice not to have to walk for miles between stages and from campsite to arena and makes it easy with children. Nozstock you were brilliant fun and we hope to spend more time with you next year.