Let me introduce you to another world…
If, during the latter part of July, you are in serious need of an escape then I know where you need to go; Nozstock. It’s a place for the free-spirited, the danceaholics, the music lovers and even the energetic kids. It caters for every need: it has well priced food, drink, a kids area that made me want to a toddler again, every type of music genre and, above all, tractors to pull you out of the mud. I know, it sounds brilliant. It was. And I got the chance to experience it all first hand last weekend (24th-26th July).
Sunday was slathered in mud. If it wasn’t so cold or wet anyone could have mistaken the entire Nozstock arena as being an organic health spa full of mud baths. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t. Instead it was a dreary day that still failed to stop the hardcore festival goers from, well, going. So, despite all of the normal things that would deem a set to be not well received at a festival, Lisbee Stainton decided she would be the first act of the day to defy all odds and perform a spellbinding and lustrous set. Her somewhat small audience decided to get saturated water just to watch her in all of her glory, as well as watch some tents dance to her intricate notes and attempt a Mexican wave to her gentle beats.
Over on the Bandstand, Circe’s Diner managed to force the drizzle to a spit with their sunny personalities and giant smiles. Their music also forced you to feel a little brighter, it was full of emotion and attitude that kept their listeners hooked either in the shelter of the bar or under a poncho. Nozstock’s line-up of ‘forget about the rain’ bands continued on The Orchard Stage with Keston Kobblers Club. Their set was even brighter than the last, meaning you had to already be too drunk to feel at least a vague sense of happiness, especially when watching their mini dance competition.
The Black Tambourines followed up ludicrously well with a set that they described themselves as full of ‘bangers’. They weren’t wrong with that description and delivered a pumped performance, even through the excess of smoke being produced on the stage. Meanwhile, there was a duo performing a very different sound on another stage. Seacow was laden with gorgeous folky tones that created a spine-tingling sound as they began a cover of The Who. All I can say is that it was effortless and heart warming.
You might have been happy but you were still cold. Which could only explain the reason for a large crowd gathering at the main stage. If you needed a reason to get that heart beating again, Tantz were on it. Their insane noise got the crowd of frizzy haired listeners to turn into a crowd of frizzy haired dancers. It was like watching them being put under a spell, people only left between songs and even then it was just to make a quick trip to the bar. But, if you are more of a headbanger than than a dancer, Evenu was ready to get you warmed at the Bandstand instead. I must admit, I was hooked from their sound check, there was deep riffs and hard beats and it felt as good as the sudden appearance of sunshine.
Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer indulged us twice, both his sets on The Orchard Stage and Bandstand were sleek and mesmerizing. Following his performance on The Orchard Stage was the Broken Brass Ensemble who performed such a fun set I still want to learn the trombone just to play with them, their excitement over their own music became your own and you just got completely caught up in it. Ruffneck Diskotek then took over from the Garden Stage. If it wasn’t for them, I think the returning rain would have literally dampened everybody’s spirits but, instead, the crowd was too busy bouncing around for much of it to get in their drinks.
It was then time for Hollie Cook to romance the damp crowd. Her songs about the sun, despite being ironic, took everyone to happier place where they could dance their socks off to her Jamaican styled beats. Next on the main stage was the band I was really looking forward to see: Will And The People. Will and his people flawlessly performed an upbeat set, full of everything you’d want to hear from them. As the night closed in, the crowd got bigger and the love got stronger. So strong that a lad in the audience had to scream it out. Yes, it was that sort of night. After their set everyone squelched to the edge of the Coppice to watch the alien invasion accompanied by the pulsating vibes of Congo Natty. Perfect ending? I think so.