Nozstock - The Hidden Valley is a family-run, family-friendly and home-made festival set within a working farm in stunning rural Herefordshire. Father and daughter, Noz and Ella, curate one of the country’s most charming and beguiling festivals, surrounded by the endless rolling hills of Herefordshire.
They have created a world away from reality - a weekend of escapism, inspiration and enchantment which encompasses everything from pop, ska, folk, funk, hip-hop, drum and bass, house and a whole lot more. This year’s theme of Keepin’ It Surreal will see the farm transformed into a wondrous world of oddities and mystery, with plenty of inspiration for fancy dressers across all ages. Certainly Wood talked to organiser Ella Nozworthy about this delightful event.
1/ How and when did the festival come about?
It was 1998. Dad decided to hold a BBQ in our garden and invite a local performer to play. About 50 friends came along to enjoy burgers, music and a campfire. We had a great time and decided to do it again the next year, this time with a bar. It grew a little bigger every year - more people, another stage, the addition of a few stalls, until eventually we realised we were holding a festival by accident.
2/ Where did the name come from?
It was a play on Woodstock and our surname, Nozworthy.
3/ How has it grown since it became an official festival?
Slowly and organically. We never set out to run a festival so there was no long-term plan. We added more things every year, such as different music stages and an extra day, for example, simply because we thought they’d be fun. There came a point when we realised we needed to start selling tickets. It was at this point we had to get more serious, have more focus and define everyone’s roles, to keep on top of all the organisation.
4/ Who are the most famous artists who’ve appeared?
Seasick Steve and Happy Monday's are coming this year but we've had a range of high-profile acts in the past including Jake Bugg, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Jurassic 5, Andy C and Goldie. A pretty diverse range.
5/ What else does it offer in the way of entertainment, activity and food?
We think a festival should offer something for everyone, so that's what we do. There's a great range of kids’ entertainment, craft workshops, comedy, theatre and award winning green efforts. We also have food and drink stalls, including local Herefordshire cider.
6/ What’s the plan for this year?
We’re really excited about Nozstock 2017, as there are a lot of changes on site, including a new area – watch this space! Despite the changes, Nozstock will remain true to its unique identity - an amazing weekend in the Hidden Valley.
7/ How many people are you expecting this year?
We anticipate around 5000 people will attend. We prefer our festivals small and intimate!
8/ What’s the line up?
We've announced Seasick Steve, Happy Monday's, The Correspondents, Beans on Toast, DJ Hazard, Delta Heavy, Ocean Wisdom, General Levy and Mungo’s HiFi to name a few. More headliners to be announced soon.
9/ What sort of accommodation do you offer?
We offer glamping in our beautiful bell tents complete with comfy duvets and phone charging, all courtesy of Zoobells. If you don't fancy battling with tent poles, Camplight will pitch your tent for you and provide sleeping bags for a cosy camping experience.
10/ What makes you different from, say, Latitude or other festivals aimed at families?
We are completely home-made. Everything is done in-house, which makes it feel unique, with a rural, eccentric twist. I am often told how friendly Nozstock feels, las if you've been invited to a private party by the family for the weekend.
11/ Where does the festival want to go moving forward?
We will continue to develop and try out new things, offering something special, but we don't want to grow any bigger. We like the small size of the festival as it is. And, if it ain't broke don't fix it!
12/ What is the future for festivals generally?
I think more and more people are looking for intimate, boutique festivals. There will always be the big, headliner-driven events, but I think the smaller, more experience-driven weekends, will continue to increase in number. I think going abroad to attend a festival will become more and more popular too.
13/ What is special about Herefordshire?
It really is one of the most picturesque counties I've ever seen. There's something so lovely about enjoying a cider whilst sitting back and admiring our green hills. It's surprising how many people have never been to Herefordshire, so we are really proud to be helping to put the county we love on the map whilst giving local artists a platform to perform whilst welcoming international artists too.
Tier 2 tickets from £115 for adults / from £85 for 13-17 year olds / 12 and under free / booking fees apply / Payment by instalments available.