NASS festival is the underdog of all music festivals. The 3 day event may only have two days filled with musical acts, which overall may not last as long in total duration compared to some of the bigger festivals like Reading or Download, however if you are into sports of the extreme kind, you are more or less going to enjoy most acts and never really have a dull or boring moment. This years line-up included big names such as Sum 41, DJ Fresh, Chiddy Bang, While She Sleeps and Lower Than Atlantis just to name a few. You may be thinking.. that’s quite an odd line-up.. since it is generally a splice of DJ’s, drum and bass combined with alternative and metal bands however it works a treat. This year due to the major downpour of a months rain over the weekend, it was hard to see a large majority of the bands or artists due to the amount of mud between stages (however it wasn’t as bad as Download, that’s for sure), so this review will be limited but giving a good picture of the situation nonetheless.
NASS Festival is located just outside of Bath, at the Bath & West show ground in Shepton Mallet. Obviously the majority of festivals take place in fields surrounding bigger areas but you know you’re in the countryside when you’re basically sharing the camping area with a group of cows. The actual grounds itself was quite small to be frank. There was no excessive 30-mile walk to get to your tent from the main stage so normally most people don’t mind missing a few events going on in order to regroup and get supplies. Nevertheless, as this is one of the smaller festivals you will find in the UK, alongside its sister festival Boardmasters, NASS was not over-crowded. There was just enough people present to fill the main stage to promote that event buzz with any live performance and it was a rarity for any of the other stages such as the Front Stage, to be full at any point. For those who experienced last year when they had to briefly close the indoor arena for D&B because it got ‘too popular’ to put it nicely, it was good to see they immediately fixed the problem the following year by having two separate indoor arenas; D&B and the UKF arena. Having indoor arenas are a real god-send at festivals. Out of the cold and into the warm without the constant on-edge feeling incase of falling face first in mud is always a bonus.
The 3-day weekend holds many events during the day and the bands and artists to perform at night. So, if you like inline skating, Bmxing or skateboarding, come on down. During the year the NASS street team travel the UK setting up competitions to compete at NASS in hope to win a grand prize of £18,000. If you do not make the cut however there are many little half pipes lying around and times where you amateurs can ride the professional indoor or outdoor parks. Or if you are like me and just like to watch, the pros in action are a thing of beauty to watch. Motocross also takes place, which is always an event to look forward to just like the rest of the sports taking place at NASS. When do you ever get the opportunity to watch such things in the UK? We’re not exactly known for our world famous skate parks. Unfortunately they did not perform this year due to the weather, much like most of the outdoor activities until the last day but due to the turgid grass it was understandable that it was not to happen.
Friday’s headline saw DJ Fresh. The crowd couldn’t be more excited, as although he did make an appearance last year, it would be fair to say 2012 has been his biggest year with a growing fan-base due to working and collaborating with more globally recognized artists. Playing hits like Louder, Gold Dust and his latest, Power (no Dizzee I’m afraid) made the main stage packed. Possibly even bigger than the crowd that turned up for SUM 41 the following day. No doubt it was the biggest event of the weekend and although he held the headline slot in the festival lineup, they party did not stop there. The majority of other DJ’s and similar artists such as Doctor P, played right up to 3am which to be honest, probably would have suited DJ Fresh better than taking the main stage.
The following day was the big day for SUM 41. Headlining the main stage again brought another massive crowd where mosh pits were mandatory by most fans. It was still a shame to see they have a new guitarist on tour since former member Dave Baksh left, however the performance was still amazing to watch. Playing the all time favorites, loved by all; In Too Deep and Fat Lip, as well as other well known songs like Still Waiting and We’re All To Blame. Obviously for nostalgic purposes SUM 41 were one of my favorite performances of the weekend where its a rarity for me to say since I’ve seen so many live acts, that I would definitely pay to see them again. The crowd loved it and which only made the atmosphere even greater.
Apart from the headliners there were another two acts that took me by surprise at this festival. The somewhat ‘wildcards’ or unsung heroes if you will. Don Broco and While She Sleeps were another two bands which overall I was not bothered about seeing due to generally not hearing much about them before appearing at the festival. Thank god I watched them. Two new favorite bands now on repeat in my iTunes. Appearing in the Front Stage tent, their popularity may not have been as big as the headliners or other acts and the crowds were no where near as big, but their performance was massive. Both bands were able to intimately communicate with the crowd and put on a show that seemed to be far superior to other acts I watched that weekend. With also a situation going on with the singer of While She Sleeps and security, a little scruff went on during their last song to a point where the entire band jumped in to fight the security guards due to the lead singer (Lawrence Taylor) climbing the tent pillar and lighting setup. It was very messy and I believe even the crowd got involved backing the band up. After it all went down the general consensus was ‘the organizers should of been told they get up to that kind of stuff, they do it all the time’. Either way, two great performances I will recommend time and time again.
Overall if you’re looking for a cheap festival, great music and a lot of events going on in the day, NASS could be for you. Recommendations however, check the terms and conditions on what you can and can’t bring. Apparently you can’t bring bottles that have been opened? And glass bottles are strictly forbidden. Its good to see strict health and safety but just be aware. I for one am looking forward to the next installment at Boardmasters in Newquay in August. Be there or be square.