In the dying days of July, we set out on a journey deep into the rolling countryside of Herefordshire in search of a special little event that was occurring, a true artifact of festival culture known only as Nozstock.
After setting up our camp space amongst a cacophony of hissing nitrous oxide canisters and wild cheers from a truly legendary bunch of fellow festival goers, we headed right into the maelstrom of festival affairs. Even at such an early stage of the weekend and with an ever increasing queue for entry, the festival was brimming with excited faces, all soaking up the sun and glory of the epic weekend that was unfolding before us.
It was clear that Nozstock offered something for every musical palette, boasting six arenas of musical gold that hosted everything from blues and ska to psytrance and drum and bass as well as several other stages showcasing a plethora of comedy and live performance.
Nestled in one corner of the festival was the bullpen which had become the home of Sika studios for the weekend. Surrounded by live graffiti painting and streetart-esque decorations, Sika studios served up an all you can eat buffet of the finest hip hop talent the UK scene has to offer.
Friday saw a number of warm up showcases from Sika themselves, High Focus and don’t flop, as well as performances from Granville sessions with Jester Jacobs, 3 amigo’s, Dr Syntax, london zoo, j-man and tps, to name just a few. The bullpen was rammed with bopping heads and bouncing arms, eyes wide and mouths wet with a hefty appetite for the talent on stage. Sika studio’s had opened up the weekend in true style.
Saturday delivered another full day of tip top hip hop. Concept of thought were one man down but still smashed their set. The Split Prophet boys went mad, grabbing any prop they could find on stage and even kidnapped an unsuspecting chicken as a special guest. Dirty Dike and Jam Baxter put on a high octane performance with Baxter taking any chance he could to dive onto the crowd. The duo then joined The Four Owl’s for the final spoon full of the days hip hop goodness. The Four Owl’s all showed their talent as individual artists throughout the day, before combining like the power rangers to blow away the audience on the garden stage with Sammy B-Side on the ones and twos.
Sunday was wind down day with a series of performances from dj’s and mc’s, with chilled sets from index, to poignant lyricism from cracker john, the day included acts from influx, Gypsy unit, Ricta & idilic, Sub Kon and The Rat Tash Collective. A perfect night cap to a stunning weekend of live music.
Nozstock is pure grassroots, back to basics festival fun. Once experienced you will make it a must go yearly occurrence. I’ll be there next year and hopefully I can introduce you to some of the awesome heads I met this year.
Words – Josh Fitzwilliams
Photos – Anis Ali: http://anis-ali.tumblr.com