By Debra, Richard, Miles (7) and Isaac (5)
Our family attended Nozstock 2016 and, once again, had a brilliant time! The festival is set in the beautiful rolling hills of Bromyard, Herefordshire and is a really magical place to visit.
Compared to some, Nozstock may be a fairly small festival, but there is nothing pint-sized about the variety of entertainment. There are 9 stages offering a large variety of music, comedy, theatre, dance, film and endless activities for children of all ages.
Site and facilities
The festival is well signposted and admission onto the site was quick and efficient. Plenty of marshals were on hand for assistance. There is a short walk (less than 10 mins) from the car park to the family camping area. When we arrived on Friday morning there was plenty of space left to set up camp.
The toilets and showers are just a couple of minutes from the family campsite. They were all regularly serviced, and although not squeaky clean were pretty good by festival standards. There were a few water taps close by and sinks for washing up as well.
The family camping area is just a 5 minute walk away from the main festival and the Bandstand stage. You can hear the music clearly when it is playing. At night time, you can hear drum and bass until the very early hours. My children slept through this though and so did I with the help of some earplugs. It wasn’t really loud but you could just about make out what the MC’s were saying!
Children’s activities and safety
At Nozstock there is a specially created area just for children know as The Dingle which was simply fantastic. Over the course of the weekend my boys partook in bhangra dancing, kite making, children’s yoga, glitter face painting, Lego building, storytelling, music making, Mayan mask making and so much more besides!
The children’s area was always buzzing with families. So while your children are having fun there are always others about to chat to. A fair amount of the activities are in a tent so ideal to catch some shade from the sun or shelter from the rain.
A decent selection of toys, books and games were available for use anytime in the large undercover play tent.
In terms of child safety, there is a Lost Kid’s area in the Dingle where they will add your mobile number to your child’s wrist band. They also offer bottle warming and baby changing facilities there.
Between the campsite and the main festival site was a security check. We got the impression that security and safety were taken very seriously.
We found Nozstock felt very safe and relaxed, even after dark. The festival site once dark is illuminated with floodlights, fairy lights and no shortage of glow sticks! On the Friday night we stayed out to watch Goldie until around midnight and had a great experience. The other festival goers were friendly and welcoming towards our young family.
Our boys particularly loved getting dressed up and covered in glow bands, and couldn’t wait for dark to see them all light up!
Food and drink
There was a large variety of food and drink on offer day and night and most of it was quite reasonably priced as well. As a vegetarian family we were really glad to find there is a good selection of food for us, ranging from chilli to pizza to a good old veggie fry up!
We were charged £1 for a cup of hot chocolate, £3 for a veggie breakfast bap, and £9 for a large, freshly cooked (in a wood-fired oven) pizza which were all very reasonable and really tasty.
There were also plenty of stalls selling ice cream and sweets. A highlight food-wise for us was the vegetarian Chicken Cow café which sold really delicious courgette cake with lime and cream cheese – so much better than is sounds!
Nozstock really does have something for all tastes and you can find everything from pop, rock, ska, electric swing, folk, funk, soul, indie, drum and bass, psy-trance, house and more. You can also immerse yourself in the arts and enjoy stand-up comedy, poetry, workshops and a cinema.
As a family we danced along to acts from the main stage (Orchard stage) including Slamboree, Son of Dave and Little Brother Eli and saw a lot of excellent up and coming talent at the Bandstand such as Another Band (who we remembered form last year, happy to see them return!) and Cousin Kula.
The highlight of the weekend for us (well, me being and jungle raver back in the late 90’s!) was seeing Goldie on Friday night on the Garden Stage. He still sounds as fresh as he did almost 20 years ago and performed an awesome set.
We danced to the psy-trance in the Coppice and some drum ‘n’ bass. Saturday lunchtime we had a right ol’ cockney knee’s up with Play It Again Dan in the Cabinet of Lost Secrets and sang along with old classics such as “My Old Man Said Follow The Van!”.
Our boys’ had a brilliant time jumping about, singing, dancing and playing air guitar and were thoroughly entertained by the eclectic range music on offer (as were we!)
In addition to the large and diverse range of music available. We were pleased to find a tent with musicians and instrument where you could join in and jam. We all did.
Available to play were drums (including a full drum kits), tambourines, a trumpet, rain-makers, triangle, pots, pans and a steel drum. My two had so much fun joining in and making lots of noise.
Rubbish and recycling
Nozstock prides itself on being a green festival and it’s not hard to see why. The site is kept very clean and tidy by the many volunteers who do an amazing job at keeping litter at bay. Recycling is encouraged and different bags for recycling and waste are provided at the campsites for you to use.
Around the festival site itself there are no shortage of recycling bins for cans, plastics, paper and card which all help to keep the environmental cost of the festival to a minimum.
This is a real gem of a festival and so family friendly; we will most definitely return for our third visit in 2017. There is so much to entertain all of the family in terms of music, arts and kids entertainment in what is a beautiful, clean, and safe environment.
One of the biggest pluses for those attending with small children is that due to the small size of the festival, there are no long walks to reach any part of it, excellent for small, tired legs (and larger tired backs from one-too-many piggy-back rides!)
An awful lot of charity fundraising goes on at the festival as well which adds to the feel good factor. This festival comes highly recommended!