Let’s get ridiculous!
I think the event tagline sums up this strangely enchanting little music festival far better than I ever could, but here goes nothing… HogSozzle is an annual 3-day music festival held in the Hertfordshire countryside each May (just 30 minutes away from London’s Kings Cross). An intimate crowd of 1,500 people are entertained by a non-stop lineup of up-and-coming artists, bands and DJs across the main stage and several smaller indoor nooks. The event also has its own campsite if you’re staying for all 3 days.
We headed by for the Saturday to see what it’s all about…
From the minute you walk in you’re met by the cosy, family vibe of a smaller festival. Even if you turned up alone, you’d probably leave with at least 20 new friends. Glittered covered groups hang out drinking on sofas.. and beanbags.. and helicopters.. and bathtubs.. and basically any other object that doesn’t really belong in a field. There is also a ping-pong table and a foosball table so you can take on other groups in some fun competition.
The Food and Drinks
One central bar, the Sozzle Lodge, caters for the whole event. Instead of carrying around cash, you purchase tokens (£4.50 each) on your card and used these to buy drinks. The bar has a standard selection of drinks such as beers and spirit mixers for 1 token each.
There is also a free hog roast on the Saturday for all attendees… yes, you heard me right… FREE HOG ROAST! And you can even go up for seconds! Now if that isn’t a selling point I don’t know what is.
The theme of this year’s event was ‘Cosmic Disco’. People watching was one of my favourite parts of the day, with many taking the theme extremely seriously and turning up in amazing and some downright bizarre costumes. Think disco patterns, flared trousers and afro wigs combined with plenty of metallic, glitter, fairy lights and a worrying number of lamps being worn as hats.
The main field is situated on a slight slope so that the main stage can be seen from all around. There are several sofas, benches, deck chairs and other objects (mentioned above) dotted around so that you can either chill out and watch the music from above, or show off your best dance moves closer to the stage.
Leading off from the main field are several hidden doorways which lead you into a strange world of trippy tunnels and secret rooms. You could spend half of your day just wandering around in circles exploring the different areas.
For those who manage to wake up early enough, HogSozzle hosts a unique Saturday morning line-up of wellbeing activities such as a nature run, power ballad stretching, guided meditation and laughter yoga. That’s one way to cure a hangover!
From 12 pm the acts begin on the main stage, with 1-hour time slots each. All main stage acts are new, unsigned artists from genres ranging from reggae to house to electric swing. There are also live dancers, hula hoopers and jugglers dotted around the event, keeping the crowds entertained throughout – a quirky little touch.
The smaller rooms play host to comedians, storytellers, magicians, ‘stand up philosophers’ (not too sure what this one means), immersive theatre and workshops.
On Sunday the event takes a Holi-esque turn, with a giant pigment paint fight in the main field.
The main acts continue on the main stage until 11 pm, however, from 7 pm the Yurt, Pig Pen and House of Hog are taken over by a selection of up-and-coming DJ’s, keeping the party going into the early hours of the morning.
One of the greatest things about HogSozzle is that it’s totally affordable and fantastic value for money! Tickets include the festival, camping and 2 free Hog Roasts.
Camping — 1st Release – £69 // 2nd Release – £89 // 3rd Release – £109
Day Ticket — £55
The day I spent at HogSozzle was definitely one of the strangest days of my life so far. The venue, the activities, the costumes and even the people were all downright ridiculous (see what I did there)! But this is what makes HogSozzle such a unique little festival. The strangeness of the whole weekend allows you to let loose and let go of all inhibitions. No one will judge you what so ever if you want to wear a lamp on your head and dance like a lunatic on your own. Unlike some of the UK’s bigger music festivals you don’t have to fight your way through a crowd to get anywhere near the stage, and if you go to the toilet or the bar it won’t take you the next 4 hours to find your friends again. The chilled out friendly daytime vibe quickly transforms into one big crazy party as the evening activities commence. HogSozzle truly knows how to keep its punters entertained from the minute they wake up until the minute they pass out.
I shall definitely be returning next year, and with a group of friends and a few tents in tow!
Looking for more fun things to do in and around London this summer? Check out my list of recommendations here!
The Bonus Track
Check out my friend Brendan van Son‘s take on the day… featuring lots of awkward background dancing by myself.
*HogSozzle hosted us for the day but all opinions are my own