We eagerly returned to the fields of Herefordshire to Nozstock 2022. The family BBQ that has turned into one of the best family festival the UK has to offer, in our expert opinion. Nozstock started as an excuse for the legendary Noz (Pete Nosworthy) to headline with his band. I got to meet him this year and have a cuddle.
It grew completely organically and has managed to retain it authenticity. Its a family run, family friendly, safe and relaxed festival with approachable staff. Most of them I recognise from 2019. That’s the amazing thing about Nozstock, there’s so much love for the festival you can see it everywhere in the tiny artistic details around the site to the smiling site team. When we arrived we spotted a gap in a car park field closer to family camping, it was closed but after a jokey exchange with the steward we were granted our spot with a wide warm smile. The whole thing is run by a crew made up of family, friends and friends of friends all working together to give every festival goer a great weekend.
Due to the versatility of the line up, numerous stages and music styles, Nozstock attracts a wide cross section of society from families with tots, to teenagers, glampers and the aging hippies I aspire to become. Ella Nozworth (Creative Director) and absolutely wonderful hooman wouldn’t have it any other way.
The diverse line up represents the family’s different tastes in music from Trance in the Coppice (the boys fave) to Bill Bailey on the main stage. I bet there’s been some heated discussions when booking acts, for which I’m thankful as there’s literally something for everyone. Andy says its the most Festival like, family festival we’ve been too and we’ve done our fair share over the years. A mini Glastonbury if you like, or so I’ve heard I’m still to tick that one off my bucket list.
lots of options from Glamping to pre-pitched, live in vehicles, family camping, quiet camping. We stayed in Family Camping, which has a lost children tent, fully stocked baby change area with free nappies, wet wipes etc if you’re caught short. Little loos and small kids playground with football net. There’s lots of space and a sloping hill which means you get great views of the Heredfordshire Country side. The entrance was much closer to the camp site this year which we were really thankful of. Even with our trusty festival cart we always have to make two trips.
We took our Coleman Octagon Tent. The blackout technology is a godsend after some very late nights partying. Our friends Ruth @Rockandrollerbaby plumped for the pre-pitched tents. They take all the stress out of arrival times and pitching plus the tents are rescued from other festivals and repurposed so are a great green option. There are only 8 showers on site which cost £2 and are only open at certain times, so be prepared to queue.
There’s a Great selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. Our favourites were Pimp My Fries , I don’t know what they do with that cheese sauce but its basically transcendent. Eat like a Greek, The Beefy Boys and the Pizza is always a winner as they feed our two for a reasonable £12. Most meals are between £6 and £10 usually we do most of our eating at the tent but prices at Nozstock aren’t crazy and portion sizes are good. The bar isn’t too bad either with reusable cups as standard!
Accessibility , the main stage has a raised viewing platform we had permission to take this picture . The stages did seem more accessible this year, the slopes a little gentler although I still managed to trip over. It is a cow field after all and wet weather will undoubtedly effect accessibility in certain areas. I’m certain the team would do anything they could to help and would happily discuss the accessibility needs prior to booking a ticket.
10 stages, for a festival of 5000 seems excessive but all stages retained a good sized crowd and atmosphere for the duration of the weekend. less so in the beginning part of the day after a heavy night of partying. Nozstock is a late risers festival. That being said the kids area gets going early for all the eager little ones, thank gawd. Wilba’s favourite area was the Elephants Graveyard, so called as bones of an elephant were found believed to be from a nearby circus. Its a great place for a dance to some of the biggest and best House and Jungle DJs.
There was a paint fight at the Sunken Graveyard and the Boy and Wilba took part in the dancing competition in between funk and soul tunes. Cabinet of secrets is a favourite of mine mostly because you have to crawl through a secret entrance next to a piano. It was also lovely to see that a band we had seen in 2019. The year of the Dog had been promoted to the Main stage this year. They managed to hold a great crowd even in torrential rain. Other main stage artists included Sister Sledge, Sub-motion Orchestra , Andy C and The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club who played one of his best sets yet. I swear the man must think I’m his personal stalker I’ve seen him that many times now. Still haven’t got that illusive selfie though.
For The kids
There’s always something to see as many of the wonderful and weird performers can be found wandering the site. Cave women, illuminated fairies and even two aliens you could graffiti on, to name just a few. The Dingle is great for older and younger children. We spent much more time in the Dingle this year as the boy is now nine and loved the coconut shy, workshops and opportunities to participate. He may have lost the dance off but entertained us all with his circus skills.
Little Wonderland has a jam packed timetable of completely free activities which is so welcome to see. From clay to kites to beat boxers and sensory play the tent was always busy and Wilba adored it. Another big hit was the Nozstock treehouse this year transformed to match the Parallel worlds theme with spaceship and Alien. The view from the top is amazing and a great photo op.
Once last note on taking children. They are treated with the upmost respect and kindness they are not in the way or a bother. At some festivals I found myself nearly at logger heads with pushy parents or space stealers but not at Noz. The Boy was taken behind the DJ desks at the Bull pen and the sea of revellers parted as we left the Orchard Stage with Wilba asleep to a round of applause as everyone got us through safely. We met some love young ladies Mia and Maugan who embarrassed themselves on the stage just to make Wilba smile and others who demonstrated that ponchos were trendy to try and convince Wilba to wear hers. The young often get a bad rep but maybe there’s something about the water at Noz . I absolutely love the vibe here, its definitely a special place.
There is an extensive section of the Nozstock website devoted to going green . The team at Noz really care about doing their bit from reusable cups, free water available and all taps and bars to refill water bottles and traders use biodegradable plates and cutlery. The pizza stall wasn’t even giving out boxes just the carboard bottom to reduce on waste. No plastic straws, biodegradable glitter and salvaged festival tents.
The eco bond is a great initiative, a £5 ticket you can reclaim when you bring a bag full of rubbish to recycling. They have thought about travel too. A Free shuttle bus runs from local Bromyard and specially organised buses from Bristol, London and Hereford. Each year a celebrity plants a tree this year it was the fantastic Bill Bailey. Click here to see their other green initiatives.
We cannot recommend this festival highly enough. We feel part of the family now and will come back year after year as long and Alex, Gemma and the team will have us. Ella and the whole Nozworthy extended family do a fantastic job and its no wonder early bird tickets are already sold out . Click this link to join the mailing list and get your 2023 tickets now! You will not be disappointed and we wouldn’t miss it for the world. I cant wait to see what the theme for next year. I really enjoyed our trip to a Parallel World .
Thanks Nozstock 2022 for having us, it was a blast. We cant wait to come back to the hidden valley in 2023.
*Disclaimer Gifted tickets in exchange for review but as always my words are my own.