We’ve just about recovered now from a bonkers weekend on a farm in Herefordshire. Whilst we did see some tractors (spreading sawdust) it was mostly great music and outré performance pieces, for we were at Nozstock, the rather brilliant boutique music festival. This was our third year of attending Nozstock (you can read all about our previous experiences here) as guests of the festival (semi official family bloggers if you will) but to be honest, since weekend tickets are around a hundred quid, and kids go free, it’s something we would pay for without a second thought. Even if it meant selling the 8 year old’s LEGO behind his back.
The festival had some great music this year, even if the Wu Tang Clan proved to not be water proof and pulled out at the first sign of rain (don’t they know our great British tradition of claggy mud, wellies and moisture at festivals?). Still, De La Soul stepped in as headliners at the last moment and delivered a truly memorable set on Saturday night (from memory they took to the stage at about half past eleven, well after I’d put the wife and kids to bed and sneaked out for some late night fun.
During the day though, the odd bit of colourful language aside, everything was good for the kids. The food, once again was great and very affordable. Nozstock seem to invite the same catering companies back year after year, and we certainly have no complaint with this. We got burgers and hotdogs for all of us (5) one lunch time and I got change from a £20 note. Contrast that to £7 slices of pizza elsewhere, and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty good value.
The best thing about Nozstock though is the music. There are three main stages, the Orchard stage, the Bandstand and the Garden stage but we could always get close enough to see and hear the bands that were playing. We didn’t have to rely on a tiny dot in the distance with some giant screens for our entertainment.
The bands we particularly loved this year were:
- the Computers (again). Loved the fact there was a long suffering roadie tasked entirely with making sure the microphone and guitar cables stretched way out into the audience;
- Benji Tranter and the Well Adjusted Individuals;
- Skinny Lister (apparently the hardest working, and probably hardest drinking folk bank in history);
- Molotov Jukebox;
- Ailsa Tully; and
- Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer (when he starts singing about partaking of heroin, you may want to distract the kids with something else for a minute or two though).
Unfortunately Martha and the Vandellas were on after we left but from what I’ve seen/heard, they were pretty excellent too.
Since it’s a smaller festival, you can see what you want to see without getting overwhelmed. There is also an intensity in the music that you don’t get with a lot of 50 somethings reforming for the “Run out of cash” Tour (John Cleese take note) that haunt the bigger festivals. I remember hearing Blondie at another festival a few years ago. Hearing, not seeing as we were about a quarter of a mile away and from what I heard, Deborah Harry now has a voice that’s deeper than mine.
The organisation was still good- as soon as areas got too muddy they were quick with the sawdust chips- but the policing of the family quiet camp site wasn’t quite as good as it had been in previous years. For the last two years the entrance to this area has had it’s own gate keepers who keep all teenagers on their own out, meaning those of us with little kids don’t have drunk teenagers tripping over our tents at 4am. This year they didn’t- the stewards assigned to the area seemed more interested in the fire- and so some teenagers tripped over our tent at 4am and then proceeded to undo half our guide ropes so they could pitch on top of us. Still, aside from that minor aberration (we had revenge, Ned woke them up at 7am with a prolonged shoutathon), the organisation was top notch, and I’m willing to chalk this one off to experience.
The kids (aged 3 to 8) had good fun in the kids area but I have to admit the 8 year old was more interested in the lady at the Fairy Love stall with the spangly nipple tassels than with making himself a sci-fi themed jetpack Blue Peter style.
The countdown to Nozstock 2016 is now underway. The kids are already debating who they’d like to see next year. They’re even listening to Beans on Toast but I’m refusing to explain to them what MDMA is…