25 YEARS OF NOZSTOCK THE HIDDEN VALLEY - WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THIS YEAR'S FESTIVAL
April 18th 2023
Following the lineup announcement last month, we caught up with the creative director, Ella Nosworthy, about the artists, stages and how Nozstock all began
Nestled on their family farm in Herefordshire, the Nosworthy family are back and are bringing a heavyweight eclectic lineup for all revellers to look forward to. The Wailers, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Grandmaster Flash, and Shy FX, just four names of the many number of artists confirmed for this year’s festival.
Celebrating their 25th year, this one is set to be the biggest yet. The festival touches base with all roots that make up dance music: from dub and reggae, drum and bass, house and techno, and hiphop. Although music is not all that is celebrated here, with a big emphasis on the theatrical arts and immersive experiences being thrown into the mix as well.
Excited and eager for July to roll around, Ella Nosworthy, creative director of Nozstock, spoke on the nerve-racking process of the lineup release: “It’s always difficult to put the lineup together and get it exactly what you want. There’s always an element of nervousness when you’re releasing the line up, what will people think? But we’re proud of it, we think it’s a good, strong lineup.
“Especially this year, we’ve booked a couple of bands that people at Nozstock have been want for a long time. Fat Freddys Drop being one of them, and Shy FX being one that’s been asked for for years. So there’s a nice feeling. At last, we’ve delivered it.”
Public feedback has been an important factor in the lineup curation process this year, with Shy FX and DJ Marky being two fan favourites that have been requested back at the Nosworthy farm. Although drum and bass has always been at the heart of the festival, this year it has been pushed a little more to the forefront. S.P.Y, Mefjus and Gorilla Tactics to name just a couple, alongside an excess of incredibly talented DJs and producers from up and down the country.
WE COULDN'T BE JUST ONE GENRE, WE COULDN'T BE JUST ONE STAGE
Inclusivity and diversity in acts and performers is shown throughout the lineup, and it’s necessary in providing a sound that represents the true values of the festival. Alongside the main stage headliners and household names, Nozstock appreciates the importance of giving a platform for up and coming artists. With a slight change in direction, Ella is proud of what has been put together: “I think it appeals to a slightly younger audience with the drum and bass, we’ve gone for Mefjus and we’ve brought Hospitality back. Last year we had Andy C headlining, then he did a secret set as well on another stage, so once you’ve had Andy C - you can’t get better than that can you? So we’ve got to try go a little bit different instead.
“I think we’ve got a really strong female drum and bass line up as well this year, we’ve got a really good range of up and coming female DJs, and you know as a woman booker, that’s great for me. I enjoy seeing that.”
Nozstock has grown from the ground up: from a small, family party on the front lawn, to a fully fledged festival with multiple stages and an award-winning party plan. As Ella reflected on her first Nozstock at the age of 13, a sense of pride and accomplishment was heard in her words: “It grew organically. Back at the beginning it was all a bit of a joke, you know? We called it Nozstock because it was Nosworthy and Woodstock, and we had this stage, then we added a bar, then we added another stage. It was very much like oh, you like film, why don’t you run a cinema tent? There was no business plan, it was all about what was going to be fun, and it grew really slowly that way.
“Until one year we looked around and we realised we didn’t actually know most of the people that were on the lawn, and it had grown to a point where we’d have to start considering first aid etc, and that’s when we made the decision - we needed to either stop, or we needed to get a license and start doing it properly.”
Now, 25 years and many additions later, there are now 12 realms to explore and even more music and acts to discover. Music is not the only focus here, though. At Nozstock there’s fun and entertainment for all ages and all interests, as that is the festival ethos: “To bring play to everyone in whatever form we can: you can expect fun, friendliness, colour, a bit of madness and just a really, really good vibe - a feeling of how festivals used to be.”
WHATEVER YOU LISTEN TO, WHATEVER YOU LIKE, YOU CAN COME AND FIND SOMETHING
You can find spoken word performances, cinema viewings, comedy shows and cabaret. Then on the flip side, you can find drum and bass to the early hours in the Bullpen or Cubicles, or Psytrance in the woods hosted by Tribe of Frog. Balance is the key, told Ella: “It’s taken us a long time to get it balanced, but I do think we’re there now. I think the festival almost feels like two halves: you’ve got the families who come and they’re in the main arena, they’re having a lovely time and they seem to go to bed after the main stage shuts. Then you have the dance heads who get up at 6pm and go straight to the Cubicles and are up all night and then they go to bed in the morning, but actually the two halves get on really well.
“I feel like the families that are coming used to be ravers and now they’re a bit older and they’ve got their children, but they still wanna kind of dip their toe in that world from time to time. They’re looking at the people getting up and going straight to the Cubicle and they’re like, oh yeah, I remember those days, that was a great time! And the fact everyone’s so friendly and happy and everyone’s just quite happy to let people do their own thing.”
Being a family run festival, their attitude towards child-friendly and family-based entertainment seems appropriate. The Little Wonderland Kids Area, organised by Spare Rooms Arts, hosts an array of different workshops and activities: “It was really important to us that anybody could come to Nozstock and find something to love. Whatever you listen to, whatever you like, you can come and find something. That meant that whole families can come together and people with different tastes can come together, and I don’t think we would feel happy doing it any other way to be honest.
“We couldn’t just be one genre, we couldn’t just be one stage. We wouldn’t feel the same passion for putting that on.”
Tickets for Nozstock the Hidden Valley 2023 are available here: