2017 saw the 19th annual Nozstock Festival. Set in the Herefordshire countryside, Nozstock is a boutique festival for around 5,000 people who seem pretty universally happy by the whole prospective of a weekend of sunshine (and showers) and some great music.
Friday night saw Seasick Steve take to the stage, and Sunday evening saw the festival finish with the Happy Mondays. In between we caught some great acts like Professor Elemental, Hayseed Dixie, the wonderful Le Galaxie and Goldie Looking Chain.
Friday was a bit Biblical in the weather sense; thunderstorms that seemed like someone had severely pissed Thor off. Fortunately the ground staff are super organised and seemed to have 3 billion tons of sawdust, which got thickly coated on all the areas that accumulated mud, making the site much easier to navigate without a pair of wellies on.
Saturday morning started brilliantly with Drum and Bounce, a drum and bass dance work out, which was notable for teaching me how to skank and triple skank. Prior to this, I had thought that a skank was some bloke who was a bit of a ne’er do well, so I learnt something too, even if all the kids laughed at my timing.
We let the eldest go off with some friends kids (who were a couple years older than he was) because this is exactly the sort of festival that is great for kids. The only thing that wasn’t child friendly was some of the rather colourful language from the musicians up on stage but to be honest the day that Shaun Rider manages to keep the swears in check will be the day they bury him six feet deep.
As well as a lot of jolly young people, there is a feeling of safety surrounding Nozstock. The site is small enough and while full, not crammed to the seams, that it maintains an intimate air that isn’t intimidating to kids.
I think a personal favourite of mine was Professor Elemental- we’d seen the other big star of chap-hop, Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer, a couple of years ago and it was good to see the man who wrote Fighting Trousers.
Next year’s Nozstock is the 20th Anniversary, and is bound to be something unbelievably special. As it stands, Nozstock is a hidden gem (well, it is in the hidden valley), a venue that attracts great, if not necessarily world famous for the most part artists. Headliners like Seasick Steve and the Happy Mondays might sell tickets but artists like The Meow Meows and Little Big Stuff find themselves added to the Spotify playlist for the drive home.