Amongst the melee of music, magic and mayhem at Nozstock this weekend, I managed to grab some time with Ella Nozworthy. Ella is the daughter of ‘Farmer Noz’, who lends his name to the festival. She has a two year old daughter and is expecting her second child later this year. We chatted about festivaling whilst pregnant and with kids and how Nozstock came about.
You’ve just organised a festival with hundreds of acts for crowds of thousands of people. And you’re pregnant! How do you feel?
Tired! Though I’ve timed it better this time, because last time I was pregnant I was eight and a half months by the time of the festival, so there was very much a contingency for what would happen if I went into labour whilst the headliner was on! I’m feeling a lot better this time round! Not quite so heavy and waddly round the festival site this time!
I’m obviously having to slow it down a little bit more, and a few of our support staff are having to take on a little more than normal this year. Actually, I’ve tried to use it to my advantage! You’re not expected to walk as much, and if any of the crew sees you carrying anything they take it straight off you. Last year, when I wasn’t pregnant, I was a bit like ‘no lift? Oh fine! I’ll walk to the top of the hill myself then shall I?’ The bands and the artists are also always more friendly when they see you waddling around backstage!
What advice would you give to pregnant mums-to-be who are planning to go to a festival?
Definitely do it – just make sure you’re comfortable! Make sure you’ve got somewhere comfy in the shade to just crash and relax when you need to. But there’s no reason why you should be able to enjoy it and have just as much fun as anyone else.
How has having your own children altered the way you approach running a festival?
It does change the way that you see festivals and Nozstock has changed since I’ve had my baby. It’s enabled me to scope it out from a different point of view. Before I was pregnant I was always keen that there should be loads going on here for kids, but you don’t necessarily think of the logistics. Before my daughter, when people would say ‘should I bring a buggy?’ I would always think, ‘I don’t see why not!’. Now I know from experience how hard it can be to push a pram on grass…or mud!
Nowadays, I’m much more like ‘no! That music must stop at a certain time because the children need to sleep!’ So hopefully, my own experiences of being a parent here are helping to make it easier for families that visit.
More and more parents are bringing their kids to festivals. Why do you think that is?
Festivals have generally become more inclusive. If you think of festivals 20 years ago, there was still very much that image of either hippies in a field or moshy music-lovers and that’s what it was all about – standing in a field and watching a band. Whereas now a festival isn’t entirely about the music, and it’s more about the experience. There’s always going to be great headliners, but you can go to a festival now, without even wanting to watch any of the bands, and still have a brilliant time because there is so much to do. I think this appeals to families. And I think families now are more willing to push the boat out, try new things and experience new things as a family. Festivals are catering for that now.
And what makes Nozstock unique?
For Nozstock, right from the start, it was very much a festival we wanted everyone to go to. I couldn’t run a festival I didn’t want to attend! Because as a family, the Nozworthy’s are all very different anyway, so to appeal to everyone it was always very eclectic and all-inclusive for that reason. At the first Nozstock, I was thirteen and Nan was in her 80s, but we both loved it! Maybe in different ways and for different reasons, but why shouldn’t you be able to bring your whole family to a festival and all have a really good time? Logistically, things have improved as the festival has evolved to make sure it’s as inclusive as possible. To this day, everyone at the festival still feels like they are part of our big family!