Dear Mummy, we’re busy planning our summer of fun and one of the festivals we loved last year was Nozstock festival which is set in the beautiful rolling hills of Bromyard, Herefordshire and is a real hidden gem. Check out our video to see it in action!
Every year we plan what festivals we’d like to attend and going to a music festival is a great way to spend quality family time together. Last year was a big year for Nozstock, as it celebrated its 20th anniversary.
The theme was ‘Nozstalgia’, with nods to pop culture of the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s everywhere, from a giant Rubiks Cube entrance to cartoon artwork throughout the site including my fave Scooby Doo and The Simpsons.
It was the perfect sized festival for us and everything was within a 5 min walk. There were 10 stages offering a large variety of activities for people of all ages, music genres, comedy acts and theatre. We had great weather too which makes a change from the last couple of festivals we’ve visited.
Camping and Facilities
There was a bit of a mix up at the gate with our wristbands and where we needed to head in order to access family camping and even though we arrived early, a lot of our time (and daylight) was spent trying to gain access to the site which was frustrating. It was more the gate security guards being a bit argumentative and car parking marshalls sending us to the wrong gate.
Unfortunately not a great start to our family festival experience especially as we were attending with tired kids in our party. However we’re happy to report that once we finally set up our tent in the dark we all could relax and soak up the atmosphere.
It’s clear that the family camping area needed a bit more thought and facilities, as there were only 5 portaloos for over a hundred people in 2018. There were queues all hours of the day, which isn’t particular good for little ones, especially if they can’t hold it in. There were a few water taps close by and sinks for washing up which was good and helpful considering we were camping in heat wave. To their credit the organisers heard our pleas and delivered more loos later on in the weekend which was great to see.
Space was a bit of an issue for people with tents on the campsite in the family area and lack of fire lane discipline and people camping on top of each other when we woke the next morning made it a bit challenging. There was a lack of adequate lighting in the family camping area with only a floodlight at the bottom of the field. However we’ve been reassured that all of this has been addressed for festival goers in 2019 and we have every confidence that this will happen.
In the family camping area we enjoyed Cafe Milo, which was an airstream caravan, selling hot drinks and cakes and the natural playground which kept me amused as my folks prepared breakfast in the mornings and when we decamped.
The Festival Site
Due to the small size of the festival there are no long walks to reach the main arena or the car park which was great for us little ones and even though we brought the festival cart, we didn’t really need it apart for me to sleep in the evenings. No major hills to navigate makes it a great choice for venue.
As a family we danced along to acts like Chase & Status and The Dub Pistols at the main stage (Orchard Stage) or at least my folks and their friends did as I was too zonked by that point but I still enjoyed sleeping to the noise in my trusty festival cart much to the amusement of other adults! In 2018 the main stage looked like an old cinema marquee and we were really impressed with the set design around the site.
There was a makeshift DJ booth playing hip hop, funk and disco at The Sunken Yard Stage. With impromptu dance-offs and competitions going including the infamous Nozstock paint fight it was a sight to be seen. We watched smokin hollow log fires, saw a beautiful Phoenix burst into flames in the evenings and the festival had a lovely vibe to it.
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. Pop-up entertainers (like the one in my video) added to the fun!
We enjoyed stand-up comedy, films in the cinema and the workshops. If you’re a light sleeper we’d definitely recommend ear plugs and they helped block out the dance music late into the evening. You adults seem to party all the time!
Children’s Area – Little Wonderland
There are two entrances into the main arena at Nozstock 2018, and the closest one to the family camping area is the entrance by the Little Wonderland which is the dedicated kids area just for us. It’s also away from the hustle and bustle of the main stage which can get crowded with all the adults and bigger kids.
All the activities in the Little Wonderland are free and there is a huge range of activities on offer from dance workshops to crafting. The kids area is enclosed, which gives a nice, relaxed space for little ones to seek shade or grab a nap. We found it the perfect place to have a picnic too!
I liked all the soft furnishings, hay bales and tented gazebos around which gave me the opportunity to relax and chill out when the summer sun got too much. There was a sandpit and garden games around to play with and the festival team in this area were friendly and helpful.
There was a kids schedule listed inside the programme alongside the line-up for all the other stages which helped my folks decided what they wanted to do with me. Even walking around the festival gave us the opportunity to join in with impromptu activities like hula-hooping and circus tricks.
I coloured in my own Nozstock festival flag and proudly displayed it on my festival cart and their was fair amount of crafting activities inside the tent away from the blistering sun and shelter from the rain. Inside the tent was also a good selection of toys, board games and books to keep us entertained. There was also bottle warming and baby changing facilities there, along with sofas and comfy chairs for feeding.
Some of our favourite moments was just watching the world go by as we sat at the main stage during the day by our favourite tree. We loved that festival goers had made the effort to dress up and there were plenty of clothing stands to embellish your look further! My mummy loved the festival fashion and even though she brought her own glitter and headbands with her there were plenty onsite to buy.
My folks felt reassured that in terms of child safety, there were plenty of people looking out for me. The on-site marshalls in the stage area were super friendly and there was a Lost Kid’s area next to Little Wonderland where I received a child’s wrist band with contact details on.
We love festival food and always try to sample the street food vendors. It’s our little treat to eat out at festivals. We tried Posh Dogs, Wrappers Delight, Pimp my Fries to name a few and £5 will get you the standard size ranging up to roughly £10 for adults portions. Pizzas were around £12 and ice creams £2.50. My mummy couldn’t resist the frozen ices £5 which lasted ages and were perfect in the heat wave.
A pint of beer from the festival bar was around £4 along with a great range of cider, we opted to use re-useable festival cups which saved a bit of money in the long run.
We were invited to the press party for Nozstock’s 20th Birthday, where we met the festival organisers, Ella and the Nosworthy family. I was amazing at the retro costumes and the giant glittery fish people – complete with real bubbles coming out their mouths! It was all Super Mario Bros themed which was spectacular! Everyone was very friendly and this festival is like one giant family with lots of visitors returning year after year.
No festival can be 100% perfect however Nozstock is a great music festival with a great kids area, they just need to look at the camping facilities a bit more to make the experience better. The organisers are hands on and willing to listen which is not only refreshing but a true credit to their desire to create a fantastic experience for all. We’d definitely make the trip again to Nozstock in the future and see how it continues to evolve!
Love Bella x
Disclosure: We were invited to Nozstock in order to provide an honest review.
Nozstock The Hidden Valley is back for its 21st season from Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st July 2019. Check out the awesome line-up and book tickets here.