Photography Wednesday, July 27th Words by: Lauren Rogers, pictures by: Conor Irvine (CSI Photography) / Nozstock / Lauren Rogers

Photo gallery: sun, dub and Jurassic 5 at Nozstock 2016

Photography Wednesday, July 27th

Photo gallery: sun, dub and Jurassic 5 at Nozstock 2016

Not too big, not too small and never up its own arse, Nozstock: The Hidden Valley is routinely praised for being "like festivals used to be".

The welcome absence of corporately branded bars and sponsored stages, and a line-up that takes you way beyond your Spotify playlist, means this 5,000-capacity festival - held on a working farm just outside Bromyard, Herefordshire - hits that sweet spot.

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Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography / licklist.co.uk

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The crowd watch Jurassic 5 on the Orchard Stage on Saturday night. Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography / licklist.co.uk

Among cut fields and rag-tag farmhouses, the boutique festival started life as a family barbecue. 

"It was a hazy, optimistic time at the turn of the millennium, when life felt simple and summers were long and full of amusements," said the Nosworthy clan.

Now in its 18th year and run by Herefordshire's answer to Michael and Emily Eavis, Pete Nosworthy and his daughter Ella, Nozstock has held on to its blissed out summer vibes... and casually added a layer of crazy.

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Credit: Herefordshire Live

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Credit: Herefordshire Live

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Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography / licklist.co.uk

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Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography / licklist.co.uk

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Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography / licklist.co.uk

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Credit: Herefordshire Live

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Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography / licklist.co.uk

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Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography / licklist.co.uk

The Hidden Valley is never going to be a mecca for Coldplay fans but there’s room for everyone; you didn’t need to know a thing about My Nu Leng, Octo Pi or Professor Elemental to have a blindingly good time.

A willingness to kick up dust and dance with total strangers helped but 2016's heady mix of drum and bass, hip hop, jungle and psytrance with a side of arts, crafts, and comedy ensured three days in a field were as eclectic as ever.

Better known names on the bill included Imelda May, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Goldie, and English rap, grime and dub step legends Foreign Beggars, whose pulsing set on the Garden Stage was littered with sweary declarations of love for all things Nozstock.

Comedians Richard Herring and Henning Wehn packed out the Laughing Stock comedy tent, and the Little Wonderland kids area was home to open air yoga, mask masking and immersive story times, which you need on offer when you've got three-year-olds in tow.

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Imelda May played the Orchard Stage on Friday night. Credit: Mike Hale.

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Goldie showing Nozstock 2016 why his renowned label Metalheadz recently earned him an MBE. Credit: Gareth Dalley.

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Jurassic 5 paying Herefordshire a visit on the 2016 European tour. Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography.

Saturday night headliners Jurassic 5 did a damn fine job on the Orchard Stage, keeping it local by donning Beefy Boys tshirts and giving a shout out to the Hereford’s burger restaurant.

The US band formed 20-something years ago and last month released their first new song in two years as a pay-what-you-want download.

If that makes them sound like main stage festival fodder - of their time and trading on old hits - you read it wrong.

The J5 set was stellar: current as much as a reminder of their place in hip hop history, packed with hallmark hypnotising beats, clever lyrics, and constant connection with the crowd.

They followed it up with a surprise after-party show in the Cabinet of Lost Secrets (a space for 'weird goings on' curated by the Worcestershire-based Clik Clik Collective).

The secret show, in front of just 100 people and hosted by J5's Akil, typified the magic moments you stumble on at 2am when in full festival mode.

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Jurassic 5's after show party inside the Cabinet of Lost Secrets, Nozstock2016. Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography.

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Jurassic 5's after show party inside the Cabinet of Lost Secrets, Nozstock2016. Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography.

With the current fashion for fiercely independent festivals showing no sign of fading – think Gottwood and Boomtown, Nozstock is facing tough competition. 

I spoke to a fair few Herefordians who'd bought day tickets on the gate, and this year's launch of a Nozstock story on Snapchat suggests there’s more self-promotion to come.

That said, after almost two decades, the Noz crew know what they’re doing and this mad weekend in the middle of Herefordshire nails the summer festival atmosphere everytime.

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Credit: Conor Irvine, CSI Photography.

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With thanks to www.licklist.co.uk and the Nozstock team. Check out more of Conor Irvine's festival photos at licklist.co.uk.

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