As my Google Maps app drew me closer to the Nozstock Festival site on Day 1, my surroundings became increasingly unfamiliar – and, when I say unfamiliar, I mean I was surrounded by acres of farmland. Any notion of my whereabouts was diminishing with each mile.
That was a positive start. Music festivals are a means freeing you from the tethers of responsibility in everyday life and escaping civilisation – not necessarily felt if you’re near a main road. Having never visited the farm before, I had to get my bearings, which didn’t take long thanks to the number of marshals guiding me towards the camping site. The tent went up and I set off on my travels. Surprisingly it didn’t take me long – the festival had performances taking place at nine separate locations, yet it wouldn’t take me more than a few minutes to get from one end to another. Despite being in such close proximity, there were no interferences from neighbouring stages – perfect.
The dance music acts didn’t kick off until later in the day, apart from the psy-trance in the ‘Coppice’, a small wooded area on the periphery of the site by a lake, where the bass could be heard pulsating throughout the day as you passed. It was a festival that welcomed music from many genres, including indie rock, hip-hop, reggae, electronic, folk, garage, and drum & bass. The festival’s commitment to showcasing local talent and up & coming artists, as well as the well-known acts, was one of the most pleasing factors of my weekend. Performances from Jake of Diamonds, Radio Riddler, GAPS, Typesun, Fickle Friends, and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer – artists I’d never come across before – will be rooted in my memory.
As the sun set each evening, the drum & bass arena known as ‘The Cubicles’ played host to some of the finest talent in the scene. I never realised, until I was told, that each evening I’d been skanking in an old steel chicken barn. There’s something I quite like about that – the fact that it was there by circumstance and had been converted, rather than being erected for the purpose of being a drum & bass venue. It was by no means large in size, which made it feel like more of an intimate event and very fitting for a genre that’s foundations were built in venues of a similar size. I didn’t have the stamina on the first night to last into the early hours, but I managed to catch performances from Modify Perspective, Amoss, Joe Ford, Stealth, and Jubei.
The following night, sets from Uncle Dugs, Despicable Youth, and Scope warmed up the crowd well, before Andy C turned up with some of the RAM crew, all armed with new and old music to send everyone into raptures. The atmosphere on the final evening was incredible; Friction & Linguistics attracted one of the biggest crowds I’d seen at the festival when they performed on the Garden Stage. Many then stayed on to witness one of the final sets of the festival from Octo Pi & Koncept – not to be confused with the artist who has tracks signed to Viper – whose set went on way past the curfew to the delight of the people in attendance.
The music is the most important factor of such a festival, obviously. However, it was the positive atmosphere, the Jurassic theme, the green initiatives, the helpful staff, the joyful revellers – all on a farm with a capacity of 5,000. It has been building progressively over the past decade or so, and it’s a thrill to have experienced it. A small festival with a huge future ahead of it.