Nozstock’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations!
By Debra, Richard, Miles (9) and Isaac (7)
Our family attended our fourth Nozstock this summer enjoyed their amazing 20th birthday celebrations! Nozstock has become a very special place for our family, it’s the weekend that our children break up from school and signifies the beginning of the long and glorious 6 weeks of summer holidays that we enjoy together. Nozstock is set in the beautiful rolling hills of Bromyard, Herefordshire and is a truly 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 on offer. There are 11 stages/zones offering a large variety of music, comedy, theatre, dance, film and plenty of 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 afternoon 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.
This year saw the addition of a children’s play area in the family camping. This consisted of some rustic wooden climbing and play equipment plus a football goal. The area was well used to children, and surrounded by chairs and benches for the grown-ups too.
Children’s activities and safety
The children’s area, known as “Little Wonderland”, was back again as bright and bold as ever upon for 2018. The whole area was set back further from the path between the various stages, and was better fenced in giving the area a more secure feel to it.
Over the course of the weekend my boys partook in circus skills, drawing, kite making, tote bag colouring, clay sculpting storytelling, music making, Bhangra dancing, yoga and so much more besides! They also offer bottle warming and baby changing facilities there.
The children’s area was always full of families, 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 which shone all weekend this year!
In terms of child safety, children are issued with a wrist band which you add your mobile number(s) to upon arrival at the festival. There is a Lost Kidz Area too should your little one wander off.
Nozstock has always felt like a safe and inclusive festival for families of all ages and abilities. Over the four years that we have been enjoying the festival we have been made to feel very welcome indeed. We have always felt secure and relaxed there, even after dark. Once night falls, the festival site is illuminated with all manner of beautiful illuminations which makes travelling between the various arenas great fun.
Food and drink
There was a big variety of food and drink on offer day and night and most of it was reasonably priced as well. As a vegan/vegetarian family we were really glad to find there was a good selection of food for us, ranging from vegan burgers, hot dogs, curries and even to a good old veggie fry up! There were also plenty of stalls selling drinks and sweets. Service at the bar was always acceptable even when busy.
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 We Are Scientist, Goldfrapp, and one of our festival favourites Electric Swing Circus. Even on a baking hot Sunday afternoon they managed to get the crowd up and dancing!
We jumped about to the psy-trance in the Coppice and all manor of dance music at The Sunken Yard, and my youngest loved the daily paint fight as well. Don’t worry parents, it does all wash out!
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 the orange and brown tent with musicians and instrument where you could join in and jam, a big highlight for the children.
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.
This year only re-usable plastic cups were on offer from the bars to cut down on waste. I believe these were recyclable too. All food traders used biodegradable plates and cutlery. Straws were not offered either. It’s great to see Nozstock leading the way and taking such a positive stance against single use plastics.
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.
Nozstock has become a firm family favourite of ours now and we will most definitely be back for more. There is so much on offer for all of the family in terms of music, arts and kid’s entertainment in what is a beautiful, clean, and safe environment. Despite there being almost 5,000 people on site, the festival never feels too busy and has a family-friendly vibe which we simply adore.
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!)
One of our families’ highlights this year was the awesome bonfire and firework display on Sunday evening. Spectacular!
This festival comes highly recommended by our family and we are looking forward to next year already when Nozstock celebrates its 21st anniversary.