Crew Profile – Bullpen Stage Manager – Chester Stayte

Crew Profile – Bullpen Stage Manager – Chester Stayte

What’s your number 1 festival survival tip?

I think I have two that kind of roll into one, so my number one festival survival tip is to make sure you clean your teeth in the morning, so remember your toothbrush and toothpaste. It’s so easy to forget to pack it when you’re in a rush before getting to the festival, take the time to do that because you’ll feel amazing even though the hangover is heavy going. And the second part of this number one survival tip is to remember toilet paper, those portaloos get messy. If you can try and find the compost toilets whether that’s at Nozstock or at another festival if they have them, make the effort to walk to them because you’ll have a nicer experience – thats for sure.


Tell us a funny festival story!

There was that time when a group of friends and I went to Shambala 2015. We had a great weekend and really enjoyed ourselves! On our journey back home we drove past a house that had a sign saying “£10 Ducks For Sale”, so naturally we couldn’t pass up on this incredible opportunity to finish the weekend in style, by purchasing a pet duck. We bought the duck, it was now our pet. The duck, bless him, was very nervous and was sitting in a bucket in the middle back seat of the car, he was in the bucket so he didn’t poop on us. As we continued our journey, he was trying to fly into the front of the car, while my friend was trying to drive us all home safely. My other friend who was on the seat next to me, was really not enjoying holding him to make sure he didn’t flap. That combined with the smell was making him gag, and so we then proceeded to pull over so that he could throw up on the side of the road. A very funny journey home after an amazing weekend, and it’s definitely a great story to tell.


Have you ever been star-struck?

I’ve been star-struck many times but the ones that jump out to me in my memory were both at Nozstock funnily enough.

A big star-struck moment was seeing Jurassic 5 at Nozstock 2016. For one,  I’m a big hip hop fan so to see a hip hop group I love that are from the US was insane, and secondly the set was flawless from my memory. The back and forth between Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark was so cool, and then for the boys to scratch on the massive turntable on stage was a great touch, an epic performance.

Another big star-struck moment was seeing The Blockheads at Nozstock 2018, Ian Dury & The Blockheads were a part of my childhood music growing up among The English Beat or Dexys Midnight Runners. Songs such as ‘What A Waste’ and ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3’ were played live that evening and it was a truly star-struck moment, especially getting to meet Norman and John Turnbull backstage after their performance.


What is it that you love about festivals?

There’s a lot to love about festivals, they bring people together for one, they share musical artists from various genres, that spans from folk to funk, or Drum & Bass to Ska or Reggae, depending on the ones you go to of course. Festivals are a place to get away from the harsh and stressful realities of life, and serve as a second home from home to be totally and utterly your true self.

I love being on site early seeing it go from a bare or empty couple of fields, with maybe a few scaffold stage structures and then to see them progressively grow into colourful and vibrant landmarks within the festival. For me the process of seeing the festival get built, to it going live and the festival happening, and then to see the process of disassembling it back into storage for the next year is an interesting and rewarding spectacle for me.


Got some Nozstalgia for us?

It’s the year of the Jurassic farm: the land that Noz forgot. The Bullpen still had it’s old design with its triangular corner stage and Sika Studios were running it. One DJ who will remain unnamed was too intoxicated to do his job and was asked to leave angrily by the MC. The Elephants Graveyard stage didn’t exist, and the Sunken Yard was a small wooden shack on the side of the hill. Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer was smashing out the classiness on the Orchard Stage, Roots Manuva followed suit as night fell across the farm.


Describe yourself in three words (when you are in festival-mode)!

Patient, Determined, Happy.


Tell us about your best festival moment.

Well, I think my best festival moment has to be my first Nozstock, which was the year 2014. Too Many T’s were performing on the Garden Stage, and they had this section in their show where Leon & Ross would ask the crowd if anyone could beatbox or breakdance. When they asked if there were any ‘bboys’ (breakdancers) in the crowd, I proceeded to make myself known. DJ Savage Henry put on a break beat for me and I began to dance in front of hundreds of people. That was a great moment in my memory and is one that kick started my journey into wanting to work within the events industry.


Who would be your ultimate-beyond-ultimate dream headliner at Nozstock?

It would’ve been Prince, but sadly he’s no longer with us. So next it would be Donald Fagen, whether that’s him performing solo or under the Steely Dan name. Another honourable mention of an ultimate-beyond-ultimate dream headliner would be Nicky Bomba, an Australian reggae/ska singer songwriter.


Do you have any pet peeves at festivals!?

Yes, the waste or throw away culture of just leaving ‘one use’ tents or numerous amounts of cans and rubbish is a pet peeve. Littering is littering, just because you’re at a festival that does get packed away and cleaned, does not make it okay for you to leave your rubbish. At least dispose of it in the recycle and waste bins provided.


When you’re not making Nozstock happen, what are you doing?

Well before covid happened, I was on tour and had lots of lighting and stage management work in the pipeline for the months before festival season. I’m self employed and my work since finishing university has been predominantly lighting technician and stage management roles. I am yet to use my Dance degree to its full potential, but I have plenty of ideas and projects that are nothing more than figments of my imagination lined up for the future. I’m certain that they will manifest eventually, it’s just a patience game.


Tell us about your roll at Noz?

Sure. So for Nozstock 2019, I was Stage Manager for the Bullpen. So this involves preparing the venue for the punters, making sure that it’s safe, making sure it’s clean and tidy. And to ensure that the stage is ready for performers. So DJ equipment, cable management, rider requirements, lots of interesting things to keep me busy. But yeah, ultimately prepping the venue to be safe and ready to use to keep a smooth, fun and enjoyable atmosphere flowing. There’s always something challenging to approach but it’s what I enjoy about the job, to improvise, adapt and overcome.