Over the May bank holiday, I kicked off the festival season with a bang (plus a lot of glitter and paint) and went to the fabulous Hogsozzle!
Hogsozzle is an intimate, smaller scale festival but what it lacks in attendee numbers it makes up for in personality, individuality, and creativity. This 3-day festival, nestled in the Hertfordshire countryside was amazing. There were sequins, feathers, fur, fancy dress and enough paint to rival a Dulux warehouse – it all made for a fantastic festival.
Having never been to Hogsozzle before I was really excited to see what it offered. In the past, I have always gone for larger more commercial festivals, but this has opened my eyes to what is on offer on a smaller scale.
Around 1500 people attend Hogsozzle and it made for an intimate and community feel. The campsite was buzzing when I arrived at around lunchtime. We found a spot under the trees, pitched the tent and cracked open the ciders.
Hogsozzle has strict rules on alcohol allowances – 16 cans (3.5l) of beer or cider (or something of similar strength) or 3.5 Litres of wine (or something of similar strength). No spirits whatsoever are allowed into the campsite. This was closely monitored upon entry, with wristbands being marked when someone had gone through with the maximum amount of alcohol they were permitted.
The wristbands – My absolute pet hate is cheap, plastic or paper wristbands and Hogsozzle’s were incredible! Great design, printed with their logo and branding, in a variety of bold colours. Mine was a burgundy colour as I had been given a guest list ticket but others had pink, blue, purple or yellow depending on whether they were a normal attendee, had a campervan or whether they were a performer or staff.
The campsite was small, but there was a real community feel to it. I went to Hogsozzle with my boyfriend Joss (as always), his sister and her partner who knew others going so we camped with them. We instantly made friends with the people around us and started sharing festival traditions, embarrassing festival stories and lots of drinks. The one thing I noticed instantly was just how friendly everyone at Hogsozzle was. No matter whether you were there alone, in a huge group or just with a couple of friends, everybody wanted to make friends with everyone. I didn’t see a single fight or altercation whilst at the festival, everyone was just there to meet new people and have a great time which made for a really pleasant atmosphere.
The campsite had different zones which just added to the charm of the whole festival. There was an open, flat camping area and a tree covered area nestled at the top of a small hill. Both areas were great for different reasons. The open area was really spacious, sunny and closer to the action of the main arena. However, the tree covered area was closer to the showers and slightly further away from the music. Not only that, when it’s hot at a festival, tents turn into greenhouses, camping under the trees was bliss as our tents were nice and cool in the mornings.
If you know me you know how much of a foodie I am. Great festival food is really important, and this is really the only thing I think could do with some improvements.
Don’t get me wrong, the food was lovely, the hog roast that they provided was delicious! Crackling, coleslaw and five bean chili – DELICIOUS. However, I felt that healthier choices, which could be more dietary requirement friendly could have been made more available. I felt that a falafel or noodle stand would do really well at Hogsozzle which could perhaps offer different types of noodles which could be dairy or gluten free. I don’t do too well with gluten myself and so more options for those with specific dietary requirements could really improve an already cracking lineup of food vendors.
My favorite food vendors at the festival was firstly an amazing pizza stand which made all the pizzas fresh and cooked them in a wood-burning oven. And secondly, an incredible ice cream stall called ChopperWhoppers which sold rolled ice cream covered in whatever sauce or treats you wanted!
There was one main bar at Hogsozzle which was situated right at the top of the arena. It had a great birds-eye view of the arena, which for the paint fight especially was great. I loved the look of the bar, it had an almost ski chalet vibe. Drinks were served in reusable, branded, plastic tumblers which I thought not only looked fantastic but economically were brilliant! You had to pay a £1 deposit for your cup, however, you could take it back as often as you like and they could easily swap it for a fresh one.
Unlike the food vendors, the bar was tokens only, which made things slightly more of a faff but I do like tokens and the ‘cash free’ concept. It’s much easier than having to worry about having the correct change on you, plus you feel safer not walking around with wads of notes in your pockets. Having tokens also made paying for drinks really quick as bar staff didn’t need to worry about giving change, plus all drinks cost 1 token (£5) – Simple. There were plenty of choices on offer when it came to drinks – beer, cider, soft drinks, and spirits. I particularly liked the vanilla rum which was served (if anyone knows what brand it was please let me know!)
The Main Arena
The arena was fab, there were loads of old sofas dotted about which I thought was a fantastic idea! What I liked is that you could share a sofa with a complete stranger and start chatting, it made for a really social sitting area which visually was really quirky and just added to the individuality and personality of the whole festival.
The main stage was definitely the focal point of the arena, situated in a slight ditch it meant that you could see the stage really well even if you were sat on a sofa or standing further back.
The arena also played host to multiple, smaller stages tucked away in little nooks and crannies. The Pig Pen, was a little indoor warren which played a range of music, you just seemed to keep walking and stumble into another area, it was great! The woodland stage had a very boho, hippy vibe with hay bales in a circle around a fire pit and a boho, Moroccan style tent where comedy and spoken word poems were performed.
The one thing I thought was fantastic, which should never be taken for granted was the sound quality of the speakers. Whether you stood at the front, back, middle or sides the quality of the sound was fab! I have been to other festivals where the further back you got, the tinnier the sound became which is really poor. Hogsozzle didn’t disappoint and I enjoyed listening and dancing all weekend!
It wasn’t just music the main arena played host to. Hula-hooping, yoga, spray painting and so so much more took place. It was fantastic waking up and having such a variety of fun activities or things to take part in and it really added to the festivals unique charm.
Going to the festival, I didn’t know much of the line-up, but as I always say it is actually a great thing! It meant that I could discover new bands and artists that are either up-and-coming or that I just would never have seen otherwise!
The variety and range of music on offer was also incredible. From dubstep to hip-hop, R&B to swing and electro it was a really eclectic mixture to fit everyone’s tastes. There were a couple of performances which really stood out when I was there. I loved Dub Pistols, the DJ set was amazing, put it this way – I danced off my pizza and cider in no time. A band I discovered which I really enjoyed were Patawawa, an electro, indie, funk band. Their energy on stage was brill, it was the sort of band you wanted to grab a drink, grab a friend, take off your shoes and dance.
Oh the clothes…
I know that festivals are normally a place where peoples wardrobes explode, and clothes appear that you never see day to day, but Hogsozzle was on a whole new level. Fantastic hats and headpieces, fancy dress, unheard of amounts of sequins, so much glitter that environmentalists would wince and general outfits which all I could think was ‘ where the hell do you even buy this stuff’. It was fabulous. People obviously felt so comfortable to wear what they wanted and be themselves which just shows what kind of vibe Hogsozzle had.
The Paint Party
Well…. all I can say is paint+white boiler suits+sunshine and good vibes = an awesome, awesome time.
Towards the stage, people were right in the thick of it and oh my god was mental! Paint was flying everywhere, and everyone was having an incredible time. Even those that chose to stand on the outskirts, were dancing and joining in without feeling like they had to leave wearing a Dulux colour chart.
I stayed further back for the fight, but loved it all the same – I am still washing orange paint of my shorts, but it was incredible, worth the laundry loads!
If you are wanting a huge scale festival with mainstream pop acts then Hogozzle isn’t for you. If you want a festival where you get much closer to the acts, has an intimate and quirky feel, and offers so much more than music then Hogsozzle with its winning charm is right up your street! All I can really say about Hogsozzle is that it was a fabulous weekend and I left longing to go back. So, Hogsozzle 2019 I am coming for you! Who is with me?