Pageant Evaluate – Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, Herefordshire, UK

I really like music festivals, however had by no means heard of Nozstock (20-22 July 2018) till a buddy talked about it in passing to me earlier this yr. Nestled deep within the Herefordshire countryside, it’s positioned on a reasonably farm close to the market city of Bromyard.

Nozstock is run by the daddy and daughter staff of Pete and Ella Nosworthy. What began as a humble BBQ with a single stage in 1998 has become a full-blown competition extravaganza with 11 phases and a diversified programme of music, comedy, cinema, conventional crafts and even burlesque.

Impressed with this yr’s stellar music line-up (together with Chase & Standing and Goldfrapp), I made a decision to test it out for myself.

Who goes to Nozstock?

Nozstock is a comparatively small competition, accommodating round 5,000 individuals. The gang is an actual mixture of younger ravers and households, who handle to reside and dance collectively in good concord. What actually struck me about Nozstock was the stunning ambiance – individuals had been pleasant and respectful, with near-constant smiles plastered on their faces.

Smiling faces at Nozstock

Smiling faces at Nozstock (c) Andrew Moss

This comes as no shock to Ella Nosworthy, who instructed The Journey Journal: “I don’t know whether or not it’s as a result of Nozstock is small, do-it-yourself or has a country really feel, however it’s totally different to most festivals I’ve attended. It’s one thing particular, like being invited by the household to a giant social gathering.”

If you happen to love fancy costume, then Nozstock can be the competition for you. Amongst the glitter-clad youth we noticed a person dressed because the TARDIS, a younger girl posing as Gandalf and one other chap dressed head to toe as Jim Carrey’s “The Masks”.


Nozstock may be very a lot a tenting competition, and the principle campsite is positioned proper subsequent to the competition entrance. There’s additionally a household tenting space and “Van Haven” for live-in tenting autos. You’ll be able to cook dinner your personal foods and drinks your personal booze within the campsites, and there’s a tenting store, welfare space and 24-hour meals store on-site.

What’s the music like at Nozstock?

We arrived late on Friday night simply in time to look at the deliciously suave ska revival band, The Selecter, whose fashionable lyrics tackled every little thing from sexism and racism to the pressures of success. Different major stage highlights included a bonkers, foot stomping efficiency by the digital veterans, the Dub Pistols, and a joyously enjoyable hour of dancing like an ecstatic pirate to Mr Tea and the Minions. I used to be additionally pleasantly stunned by the graceful and silky voice of Jalen N’Gonda, whose music is impressed by his father’s assortment of jazz, soul and hip-hop classics.

Up and coming singer Jason N'Gonda

Up and coming singer Jason N’Gonda (c) Andrew Moss

As testomony to the “Nozstalgic” theme celebrating all issues 80s and 90s, the principle stage was constructed to appear to be a 1980s cinema, with loads of fluorescent lighting and the headliners listed on the highest of the stage like movie titles.

The primary headliner, drum and bass prodigies Chase & Standing, attracted one of many largest crowds of the competition. The ambiance was electrical and the gang launched right into a flurry of manic dancing as quickly as the primary beats pumped by the audio system.

The second headliner, DJ and hip-hop artist Grandmaster Flash, was an actual crowd pleaser, though I personally discovered his chat somewhat repetitive. I most well-liked the ethereal and surprisingly pugnacious efficiency by digital duo Goldfrapp, whose lead singer Alison Goldfrapp is the queen of old-school cool.

Nozstock Main Stage

The principle stage was constructed to appear to be an 1980s cinema (c) Lucy Woods

Elsewhere, the “Backyard Stage”, which was designed to appear to be an quaint video games console, hosted an unlimited array of acts from reggae to hip-hop to jungle – a kind of hardcore digital music favoured by ravers. The Backyard Stage is cleverly positioned simply across the nook from the principle stage, so festivalgoers can simply flit between the 2, and spectacular acoustic design prevents any music overlap.

Although comparatively small in dimension, Nozstock is full of totally different phases, so it’s nicely value getting away from the principle space and experiencing music additional afield. This consists of the “Cupboard of Misplaced Secrets and techniques” stage, which may solely be accessed by climbing by a tiny door and following a labyrinthine mirror maze.

The newest addition is the apparently named “Elephant’s Grave”, aptly embellished with elephant heads and (confusingly) a mini rollercoaster. This space was a agency favorite of the youthful crowd, who spent many hours fortunately swaying to the rhythm of the digital beats.

Elephant's Grave at Nozstock

Elephant’s Grave at Nozstock (c) Andrew Moss

One other factor that basically impressed me about Nozstock was the eye to element. The “Nozstalgic” theme was fantastically represented by statues and work of fan favourites similar to Tremendous Mario, the Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Expertise has additionally clearly taught the Nosworthys that festivalgoers like to relax out and get better from hours of dancing, in order that they helpfully positioned giant numbers of cozy sofas in entrance of the phases. It was fairly pleasant curling up on a settee within the sunshine, listening to the music and taking within the ambiance.

What else is occurring?

Moreover the music, there’s loads to maintain the lots entertained at Nozstock. The “Division of Cultural Affairs” hosted a variety of theatre, comedy, poetry and circus acts all through the competition. My private highlights had been The Fetch, a number of particular person puppet performances by individuals with studying disabilities, and a wonderful late-night burlesque present with gorgeous performances interspersed with (household unfriendly) comedy.

Giant chess at "The Altered State" area

Big chess at “The Altered State” space (c) Andrew Moss

For these needing a little bit of relaxation and rest, the “Mistaken Instructions Cinema” supplied a blissful escape from the warmth, with plenty of sofas, free popcorn and loads of trippy art-house movies. There have been additionally varied craft stalls at “The Altered State” providing artwork lessons and wooden carving for the tiniest of charges. We had enjoyable making our personal wood mushrooms for simply £2.50 a pop.

In contrast to most music festivals I’ve attended, Nozstock makes a giant effort to be child-friendly. There’s a separate household tenting zone and the “Little Wonderland’s Youngsters Space” hosts each day actions and crafts workshops at no cost. They even present bottle warming companies for the tiny tots.

Nozstock Little Wonderland Kid's Area

Nozstock Little Wonderland Child’s Space (c) Andrew Moss

The competition led to type with a firework show accompanied by hearth dancers and the ritual burning of the “Bowser Tower”.

Foods and drinks

Festivalgoers can deliver their very own booze to the campsites at Nozstock, however not into the competition itself. Pints of beer and cider price as little as £three.80 and wine, cocktails and spirits are additionally obtainable for a relative cut price. In an try to cut back plastic waste, you pay £1 in your plastic pint glass and re-use this all through the competition (exchanging it for a clear one in case you so need).

High tip: Convey cash with you because the bars are cash-only. There are money machines on website however we had been charged £5 for the pleasure of utilizing them (ouch!).

Super Tidy Burgers at Nozstock

Tremendous Tidy Burgers at Nozstock (c) Lucy Woods

The meals at Nozstock was by far the perfect I’ve ever skilled at a competition – even our £eight.00 “Bunga Bunga” burger with blue cheese from Tremendous Tidy Burgers was value each penny. I additionally beloved the gloriously tacky chips with garlic salt and chives from Pimp my Fries.


Nozstock has managed to tug off the close to inconceivable: internet hosting a competition with a stellar music line-up that’s each intimate and vastly atmospheric. The meals is scrumptious, the drinks are low-cost and the ambiance is overwhelmingly constructive.

I’ll positively be again.

Truth File

How a lot: Early fowl tickets are already on sale for simply £100 for the entire weekend. If you happen to wait till the final minute, anticipate to pay round £125 (nonetheless vastly cheaper than most weekender festivals).

CLICK HERE to e book

Getting there:

Nozstock is actually in the course of nowhere, so in case you’re travelling from London (or elsewhere) it’s possible you’ll want to drive, lease a automotive or organise a automotive share.

We rented a automotive and parked on the competition, which meant we might get an early begin on Monday and keep away from visitors on the best way again to London.

You may as well e book a particular coach from both Bristol or London to Nozstock, which is a really cheap £18 every manner.

If you happen to’re taking the practice, the closest stations are both Hereford or Worcester. From there, you possibly can take one of many restricted buses to Bromyard Pump Road after which hop on the free shuttle bus to the competition.

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