A history of Nozstock #20YearsOfNoz

Nozstock

With 116 days to go until we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we look back at the past 20 years of Nozstock. From the very start we have provided a platform for young artists to flourish and showcase their work to the world and we’re proud to have brought acts from all over the globe to our humble Herefordshire. Everyone loves a rags-to-riches, small-town-boy-turned-good, underdog tale, but how exactly did our little BBQ of family and friends supping tinnies on the front lawn turn into a fully-fledged festival with eleven stages and sights and sounds to please every eye-and-earhole?

The Orchard Stage has had innumerable musical giants treading its boards in its time but every year revellers and performers alike big up the Garden Stage as having that certain je ne sais quoi; perhaps, like the early Britons building their stone circles, they can sense that something magical happened here once upon a time. And indeed the Garden Stage is where it all began! Growing right off the tumbledown farmhouse that actually houses our Noz family year-round, like a wonderful wart; it was in 1998 that the first Nozstock took place, and the proto-Garden Stage was where its first acts played, with friends and family enjoying the odd BBQ sausage and the strains of Farmer Nosworthy’s supergroup, Electric Shepherd (Papa Noz on guitar, his son Rob Noz on bass, Darren, main stage manager on vocals, if anyone’s interested). Perhaps everything that came to pass in the intervening years can be blamed on Dad’s unquenchable thirst for rock-stardom: perhaps it was simply meant to be.

Our farmhouse acted as a green room, with the Shepherds climbing through the kitchen window to get on and off stage and avoid the hordes of adoring fans. We were all pretty spurred on by this taste of ‘fame’, Nozstock began in earnest and indeed 1999 was the year the festival got its name (a pun on Nosworthy + Woodstock – geddit?).

In 2000, Richard Bayliss aka DJ Dex joined the party, as Farmer Noz invited him to spin a few records after Electric Shepherd had played their set.  The dancefloor was what is now our crew canteen- such as it was back then – filled instantly, and DJ Dex has played at every Nozstock, Noz-party and Noz-wedding ever since! DJ Dex was pivotal in expanding the festival beyond the Garden Stage and, with it, beyond the boundaries of genre.

2003 saw Nozstock’s first dance arena born, The Cubicles.  Noz regulars had been soaking up the drum ‘n’ bass, dance and hip hop in what is now our crew kitchen and faster than the DJs could dish it out, and so – like a brand new volcanic island being spat out by a tectonic plate – the Cubicles were formed out of our converted cowshed. Our overgrown garden party was still a ‘by invitation only’ kind of event, though the invite had spread from friends to friends of friends to friends of friends of friends (with tickets still including a free burger!). Until…

2005 was very much a game changer for the us as a family: Mama Noz stood in the farmhouse kitchen making cucumber sandwiches for everyone who had come to join the fun, she looked out the window and realised that what her family BBQ had morphed into a thousand people sitting in the yard. It was make or break time for us as a festival: do we get license, do we open our gates to the masses, or get out the industrial sized broom and shoo the revellers off our front yard, threatening to burst our football next time they kicked it over their fence? We chose the latter. 2005 was also the year the Orchard Stage opened for business, though any seasoned Nozstocker may be surprised to learn it began as a humble little acoustic stage rather than the scene-stealer it is now.

The friends who had previously come over to eat burgers and have a muddy jig found themselves becoming stage managers, decor queens and marketing wizards practically overnight. DJ Dex, roped in as a booker, found that initially asking agents to let their artists play in a converted cowshed in the middle of the countryside was a bit of a tough sell. Once the acts had seen the farm for themselves – and felt the energy radiating from the Nozstock crowds – they would play on late into the night, running over their allotted times and practically begging to come back the next year.

It’s a testament to Nozstock’s chameleon-like nature that just about every Nozstock veteran has a different answer to the question “who’s the best artist you’ve ever booked?”. For some, it was DJ Friction’s first year; for others, Andy C stands out as the sign that Nozstock had really ‘made it’ as a festival (turns out he’s just as addicted to the Cowsheds as you all are, as he’s since become a firm friend of the festival and Nozstock regular); and who wouldn’t feel an almost godlike power at being able to book your favourite childhood artists like Jurassic 5, Roots Manuva or The Buzzcocks to play in your own flippin’ front garden? Lucky 2015 attendees may even have caught a glimpse of Mama Noz in the wild when – temporarily freed from her duties as chief of all things ticket and finance related – she got onstage with life-long favourite Martha Reeves and her Vandellas to showcase Herefordshire’s finest dance moves.

With the main stages sorted, we realised the time was ripe to scratch some of our more eccentric itches and give the people what they didn’t even know they wanted; namely, an amalgam of craft, theatre, burlesque and general absurdity to rival any primary school art teacher’s supply closet. And thus Wok’s bridge was erected across Bluebell End towards the Dingle, which opened in 2007 and is now home to the Wrong Directions Cinema Tent, Little Wonderland kids’ area and – apple of Phil Jupitus’s eye – The Bandstand, to name but a few.

By 2008 the farm was starting to fill up – not only with revellers, but with artists, stages and structures and we started to know what we were doing, well at least we felt like this. With the cowsheds and milking parlour already full to the brim with dance and drum ‘n’ bass, Tribe of Frog made their home in the group of trees at the bottom of the hill leading down to what is now known as the Coppice: among the shrubbery and UV butterflies, they have been delivering psytrance and good vibes to the Nozstock masses ever since.

The years have passed like grains of sand through an hourglass (occasionally torrentially muddy sand, through a rainy hourglass, admittedly). Although Nozstock has been well established for the last ten years, the festival and the site itself have never stopped evolving, like some many-headed hydra which can only be appeased with a serious dose of revelry.

In 2011 Sika Studios were welcomed onto the farm to take over the Bullpen and make the area their own, including a very memorable takeover from High Focus records in their inaugural year. In 2015 the Cabinet of Lost Secrets burrowed their way into the farm and into our hearts when their secret underground lair opened for business, leaving festival goers bewildered, bamboozled and desperate for more… The discovery that Rowden Paddocks had once played host to a real live circus and is the final resting place of its pachyderm performers prompted the most recent addition to the farm, the Elephant’s Grave, home to reggae by day and handpicked house and techno by night.

The non-believers among you may say that’s that: surely there’s no room for more stages, hidden areas or unexpected experiences on our overflowing farm. And to those doubters we say: we will party on the beaches, on the hills and in the fields, we will party in the streets. When there is no room left on the paddocks, we’ll build stages in the trees; we’ll be the first to play dubstep at the core of the earth; we won’t rest until the Nozstock flag flies proud upon the moon… you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Written by – Anna Stewart – Nozstock The Hidden Valley

Nozstock The Hidden Valley 2018 line up

 

2018 LINE-UP ANNOUNCEMENT

Well it’s here, the long awaited 20th anniversary line-up for you to get your highlighters at the ready and mark off your must sees …. #20YearsofNoz

*drum roll please*

Headlining The Orchard on Saturday night is one of the most successful acts associated with drum and bass, electronic floor fillers Chase & Status. On Sunday it’s the turn of electronic pop duo Goldfrapp who have been releasing iridescent, intriguing pop since 1999. Friday night welcomes The Selecter, a 2-Tone ska band featuring a racially diverse and politically charged line-up, not forgetting Barry Ashworth’s motley crew the Dub Pistols taking up pre-headlining duties. Electric Swing Circus is a six-strong fusion of saucy ’20s swing and stomping electro beats, and The Lovely Eggs are a lo-fi psychedelic punk rock band. Next up are the The Stiff Joints, a ten-piece ska army with a raucous infusion of ska, punk and reggae. Oh My God! It’s The Church make a welcome return to save all you sinners’ souls, not to mention pirate shanty band Seas of Mirth, Latin grooves from Mad Apple Circus, peerless pop masterpieces from Catholic Action plus the best ska and Balkan inspired beats from the likes of Mr Tea and The Minions and Buffo’s Wake.

Over in The Garden, rap royalty Grandmaster Flash brings his incredible party-rocking acumen to the stage. Speaking of legends, Chali 2na, founding member of hip-hop supergroup Jurassic 5 returns to The Garden alongside Krafty Kuts; the multi award-winning DJ and undisputed King of Breaks. Nozstock fave DJ Marky returns with full-tilt club beats to headline our special Sunday night 20th anniversary drum ‘n’ bass party alongside one of the most sought after production duos in the industry; Serial Killaz.  Don’t miss reggae artist Kiko Bun, who’s surfing a dubby resurgence all the way to the top. There’s also the cream of the UKHH scene; Fliptrix, Taskforce, Verb T & Pitch 92 and Pengshui. To cap it all off don’t forget Saturday nights special ska and skank party. Come ready to move to some serious rocksteady rhythms.

In the bass-pulsating Cubicles, DJ Mag The Bunker in collaboration with Metalheadz brings a bag of bass heavy tricks on Friday. They welcome respected and revered producer Dillinja,  Hospital Records most eminent producer S.P.Y. as a special guest, Randall makes a welcome return to the farm, also Amoss, Ant TC1 and special guest Octo Pi. On Saturday, Black Sun Empire represent the finest in dark and tech fuelled drum and bass alongside Audio, whose dilligency and creatively has garnered some serious respect.

Elephants Grave returns for a second year of scrub-a-dub sounds in the daytime with Ital Sounds, but after dark, we welcome some true house grooves from Whartone  with ‘Kukushka’, headed up by Sonny Wharton alongside Dom Kane, Dirty Secretz, Luke Stanger and House Meanz House.

If the best of the UKs up and coming talent crop is more your thing The Bandstand is the place for you. We welcome Frauds, Average Sex, Heavy Lungs and Jeremy Hugget’s Swing Zing with plenty more to come.

If you prefer your Nozstock a little more weird and wonderful then look no further than The Cabinet of Lost Secrets where 7 Suns, The Pink Diamond Revue and The Imaginary Hat will enthrall and entertain. If thespians take your fancy we have everything from Roisin Crowley Lintons spoken word show through to Hummadruz‘s U.V extravaganza. Not to mention fun, games and crafts around site; try your hand at archery, learn a new skill at our blacksmiths forge or join conniseurs of a good time Sunken Yard for a paint throwing party.

And this is just a fraction of the fun at Nozstock 2018. We have soooo much more to share with you so please head to our line-up page for a full list from our first wave of artists and grab yourself a ticket here.

More announcements coming soon, but in the meantime get planning that Nozstalgic outfit! Head over to our Pinterest page for inspiration. Anything from flared jeans to Karate Kid, from game boys to ghostbusters and yes…even double denim…

Nozstock The Hidden Valley 2018 – first line up announcement from Nozstock The Hidden Valley on Vimeo.

All things green in 2017

Every year at Nozstock we aim to reduce our environmental impact and 2017 was no exception. With the introduction of our eco-bond scheme and resuable cups site wide, combined with the best ‘rubbish’ team going our cows got to return to the farm in just under a week after all of you went home! So…credit where credit is due, a big THANKYOU to all Nozstock revellers, staff, volunteers and traders your efforts are commended!!

AWARDED ‘IMPROVERS LEVEL’ AT A GREENER FESTIVAL AWARDS 2017. 

Nozstockers as if we weren’t already delighted enough with our 2017 awards, we have only gone and bagged ourselves another. A Greener Festival assess all aspects of sustainability issues at the festival, including transport, energy and waste, and our overall carbon footprint. Nozstock achieved an Improvers level Award which recognises the huge efferts that have been made to make our festival cleaner and greener. We are all fired up with plans to build on this for 2018.

CELEBRITREE AVENUE

It’s Nozstock tradition that every year we choose someone from our wonderful line-up to plant a tree on our Celebritree Avenue in partnership with Trees For Cities. So this year Beans on Toast rocked on down to celebritree avenue and got his hands dirty! Special thanks to everyone who chose to donate to trees for cities during the ticket buying process.

Beans on Toast being Beans on Toast thought he could get away without a photo of this most entertaining moment but not on our watch! This might have resulted in him planting the same tree twice but we assure you it made us laugh!

HOW MUCH DID WE RECYCLE?

Our first year doing the eco bond was a real success. Hundreds of people brought bags of rubbish and recycling to the eco bond exchange, where our boundlessly enthusistic tribe of bin divers helped recover as much recycling as possible. This made a huge difference and helped us recycle nearly 40% of our rubbish on site!

Local refugee charity People in Motion were also able to salvage half a tonne of reuseable camping gear, tents, sleeping bags and non-perishable food that you guys donated or left on site which was shipped out to help refugees across Europe. Huge thanks to everyone who helped by keeping their campsites tidy, especially our glorious winners of 2017’s clean campsite comp! Seperating your recycling from their rubbish might seem like hard work but we were really impressed with the amount of you that did this! Good work Nozstockers!

PLANS FOR 2018

#20YearsOfNozstock is on the horizon and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got up our green sleeves for 2018!

Nozstock time, mistletoe and wine.

With only 20 sleeps until Santa visits it’s about time we got in touch with all you Nozstockers. If you’re stil looking for the perfect present for your festival partner-in-crime or a favourite family member then look no further than one of our Tier 1 tickets!

Nozstock

We’ve extended their availability to 18 December, so make the most of this festive spirit, and bag ’em quick. Tier 1 tickets will transfer over to the next tier on 18 December.

Remember, Nozstock is for life, not just for Christmas…

Get me a ticket

 

Vote for us in the UK Festival Awards

Calling all Nozzers! We are busy planning, plotting and preparing for #20YearsOfNoz. But this week, we’ve had some exciting news, we are up for some awards and are feeling the love from you all!

The UK Festival Awards takes place every year celebrating the best within the industry and this year we’re lucky enough to be nominated in three categories – “Best small festival, best family festival and the grass roots festival award.”

You know how much we love you, and we know how much you love us, so, if you have five minutes head over to the UK Festival Awards website and give us a vote! Give us your vote here. Voting closes on October 23rd.

If this wasn’t exciting enough our Sunday night closing festival firework show is up for the Mindblowing spectacle award!

We have also made it onto the shortlist A Greener Festival Award 2017. 

With only 281 days to go until the gates open we long for your return. It’s going to be incredible. #20YearsOfNoz

Early bird tickets now on sale

photo credit: Fenella Whiteley

Well, it’s been 20 glorious years since we first opened the gates to the farm and welcomed you Nozzers with open arms. And although we’ve definitely seen some sights in 20 years, your thirst for Summer fun always amazes us. Yes, the sun is barely shining but you are obviously longing for fields, tents and tunes because the Super Early Birds have all been snapped up in record time. You know a bargain when you see one! But if imagining yourself at Nozstock 2018 is all that’s getting you through the thought of the night’s drawing in, then don’t despair. Early bird tickets are now available. We expect these tickets to sell like flaming hot hot cakes so if you don’t want to miss out be sure to grab yours whilst they are still cheap cheap cheap. Remember, if you want to impress all your friends with your astounding Nozstock knowledge and be the first in the know, then subscribe to our newsletter and get your information hot off the press.

Only 289 days to go…

 

Dates announced for 2018!

2017 was the most amazing, surreal and special Nozstock we’ve had yet. After some time to digest the magic and of course put our feet up we’re ready (and hope you are too) to celebrate 20 YEARS OF NOZSTOCK! 

DATES for this years festival: Frday 20th July – Sunday 22nd July 2018.

20 years ago we would never have dreamed that our little family BBQ would become the sonic escape that all of you Nozzers enjoy. We can’t wait to celebrate 20 years of making memories, having fun, forming friendships and being magical the only way we know how.

See you on the farm. #20YearsOfNoz

TICKETS: Limited super early birds now on sale.

From £95 for adults / 12 and under free / Booking fees apply

Book here