When I first went to Nozstock (6 years ago) it was as a reviewer with a young child. Nozstock has now become a regular mark on the calendar. It generally falls on the weekend after they finish school so it feels like the start to the Summer holidays.
What has changed over the years, apart from plenty on site (remember the old tractors?) is my relationship with not just with the farm but the family and crew behind it. It was so lovely to meet with Ella and have a look around the farm a few weeks ago before it all started and of course to meet all the crew and family that create this wonderful festival.
This year Nozstock was all about the Wizard of Oz and in typical Noz style it did not hold back on the theme. The site was covered in rainbows, yellow roads and lots of impressive fancy dress. I have never seen so many Dorothy’s! The construction was incredible this year. Loved the stage that Dorothy had crashed into and the Wizard of Oz tornado tower.
As always Nozstock had gone far and beyond all they could do to be environmentally friendly. With plenty of water points around site, reusable cups and cans of water rather then plastic bottles of water. Lots of encouragement to campers to take tents home with them and of course pick up litter. They also had extinction rebellion on site this year. Doing talks, and giving advise throughout the day.
I could write pages about the amazing music, the incredible food, the atmosphere and the people that come to Nozstock that are always so wonderful with the children and never make me feel they are unsafe either in the day or at night. The layout of the site is such that you can relax, dance or party, all in the same space.
I want to focus on the children area. An area that really has grown from strength to strength. What started as a tiny stall offering a few activities throughout the day has grown into a space that takes up a big piece of the one field. I have spent many a Summer working in children’s areas and can honestly say I’ve worked with some of the best children crew teams on the festival circuit so I do know if a children’s area works or not. Little Wonderland definitely ticks all the boxes.
I was really pleased to see they had put on more activities for the teens this year. My son is 10 and after years of working in children’s areas playing in sandpits and making puppets is something he is way over, unlike his little Sister who had a ball in the craft tent this year. He loved the beat boxing, the graffiti and the break dancing. He even had a go at the Ariel acrobatics. He also enjoyed just exploring this year and in particular the cabinet of lost secrets where he found the secret club through the mirror and watched some raving Morris dancers!!
Matilda was in craft heaven she had a go at everything and really would of been happy staying in the craft area all weekend. We did clay figures, made flags, badges, wristbands, puppets, kites, headdresses and had fun covering herself in glitter tattoos. All of these activities are free. Even the face painting which is unheard of at a festival. Whatever you make you can keep and you do not have to pay. Also the beat boxing lessons, the Ariel activities are all free (can you tell I’m totally shocked about it being free). The area is open every day all day till around 6.30pm and has something going on all the time. The area has cover from the rain and sun. Plenty of toys for babies and seats to just relax and watch the children play. Lots of yoga on this year too for adults and children, a perfect way to start the day.
The other thing I’ve also loved about the children’s area is that whilst the children play you can watch the bands on the bandstand stage and you are just two minutes from the bar and stalls so you don’t feel like you are stuck in the kids area all weekend. You can hear and see the music if you don’t want to listen to the beat boxer doing a rendition of baby shark.
Although food isn’t available in the children’s area itself, you only have to walk a few minutes around the corner to find some of the best food. The vegan pyramid did some amazing food, the vish and chips were delicious but the pizzas and cheesy chips were good too and perfect for children.
I asked Dylan what the best bit of the festival was and he told me the hidden club and the paint fight. I asked Matilda and she told me everything! If you ask Mr Lane he would say the overall layout, it makes what is a relatively small festival feel much bigger. My best bit is hard to pinpoint, I just love the absolute craziness of it, the random acts, eg people giving showers after the paint fight, it was also lovely to see Dylan really let himself go this year, loving the music and dancing like no one was watching and of course the absolute best thing for all of us as a family is it’s like coming home and there is no place like home.
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