Organisers of independent festival Nozstock Hidden Valley (cap. 5,000) have announced that next year’s edition will be the last for the event after 26 years.

Organisers said the losses incurred during the pandemic, combined with the cost-of-living crisis has meant the “financial risk is becoming too great” to continue.

The Nozstock team, who were previously open about running the 2023 event at a loss, said there are changes they could have made to allow the event to continue, but refused to do so as “the final product is something we don’t recognise”. They added that they are open to trying different event formats in the future.

Next year’s edition of the multi-genre event will feature 10 stages and 350 acts from 18-21 July in Bromyard, Herefordshire. 

AIF reaction

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO John Rostron said the cancellation should serve as “yet another alarm bell warning” and has again called on the Government to review VAT on festival ticket sales.

Rostron said, “It’s incredibly sad to see Nozstock The Hidden Valley forced to close its gates for good as a direct result of the financial strain faced by many following significant Covid losses and an ongoing cost of living crisis. After almost three decades of great events, Nozstock has become a key fixture on the UK’s independent festival calendar, and this should serve as yet another alarm bell warning of the perilous situation that many in this cultural sector are facing.

“Already, neither NASS Festival and Leopallooza will return in 2024; Bluedot is on a hiatus after a difficult 2023 edition, and the award-winning Field Maneuvres has announced its 2024 festival will be its last in its current form. The impact of Covid and high supply chain costs means the squeeze on festivals is increasing. It is inevitable that there will be more closures if urgent action is not taken. We again call on the Government to review VAT on music festival ticket sales and lower the rate to 5% for an extended period to help support the recovery of the festival sector.”

26 years of Nozstock

Over the years Nozstock has hosted 10 tents and stages featuring the likes of hip-hop, drum and bass, psytrance, cabaret, comedy and electro-swing at Rowden Paddocks Farm.

The event was founded in 1998 as a barbecue at the home of the Nosworthy family and has since grown with volunteer assistance. Co-founder Ella Nosworthy has previously said the team had no plans to expand the festival beyond its 5,000 capacity to keep in touch with the event’s principles.

Announcing the festival’s closure, Nozstock organisers said in a statement, “It’s been more than two decades of unforgettable music and memories which will always hold a special place in our hearts. As will the artists we’ve showcased, the spectacles we’ve created and most importantly the friends we have made along the way. But all good things must come to an end and sadly Nozstock 2024 will be the last one.

“We love this event and our crew have put everything into helping Nozstock survive and thrive. But after the losses incurred over Covid, straight into a cost-of- living crisis, the financial risk is becoming too great. Nozstock has always been a totally independent event, with a wide variety of entertainment on offer and although there are changes we could make to allow the festival to continue, the final product is something we don’t recognise and wouldn’t be the event you love.

“But when one door closes another opens. We will party again. We have lots of ideas we want to try for different events in different formats and are excited to start planning them.

“A huge thank you to all our performers over the years who kept our feet moving and our lips singing. To the traders, who kept our bellies full and our hearts happy. But most importantly thank you to our crew. Such a special group of people it has been an honour to work with and to know. They have been the backbone of our little event and without them the festival would be nothing.

“Finally, we want to thank each and every one of you for your support over the years. For the wonderful feedback that made us smile, the vision of 5000 people swaying in the Orchard. You made a drum n bass loving farmer very happy and created a Nozstock family that meant the world to us.”