NASS is part of my history. I first attended at the tender age of thirteen, when my skate addicted brother persuaded my mum it would be a great alternative to seeing who grew the biggest pumpkin at the county fair. After that I went to NASS for six years in a row but haven’t been back since 2007 when I moved away for Uni. Will the scene have changed? I can’t wait to find out.
My partner and I have been to a massive array of festivals, from the ones where you know all the bands on a first name bases, to ones where you need a car to get to from one stage to another. We’ve become bored of the middle class flouncy stuff, seemingly yoga, poetry and alike are becoming commonplace at most small/mid sized festivals these days. Not that we have anything against these things. We just want some good-old-fashioned music to dance hard to, plus impressive stuff to experience when we have hangovers and can’t talk. We need something to get us excited again, the kind of hormone endorphin excitement we got in the days before we started getting drunk. As teenagers we both respectively dabbled in skate park life, whether that was falling off a board or perving at the talent. NASS is definitely the place to get some action!
So, other than two twenty something females looking to re-live their teenage years, who else is NASS for? Essentially all you need to enjoy NASS is enough energy to keep up for the whole weekend. There are two sides to this festival, a world-class extreme sport show and the party.
There are 4 main sports represented: Mountain Biking, BMX, Inline skating and Skateboarding. We plan to get up at a reasonable time (still debating what this means) so we can watch the guys and girls doing the things we wish we could. I might even have a go on a board at the open skate sesh after watching the pro’s and thinking ‘that doesn’t look that hard’. Insert broken arm here. It looks like this isn’t going to be a festival for spending the day half in, half out of a tent getting drunk.
Around ten, fifteen years ago I knew all of the pro skaters names and who they rode for and what boards were good. Due to being shit at skating and becoming an adult that has a job that takes up 40 hours of my week, I’m pretty much clueless but so excited to see whether Tony Hawk still has it. He must be well old by now. I thought it best to brush up, so I asked some skaters and watched some youtube videos. Watching some of the skaters that will be competing at NASS made my hands sweat, they seem to have no fear! I’m looking forward to seeing how the athletes use the new landscape they will be presented with. And morbidly excited to seeing some epic bails!
Being female, we’re also pretty stoked to watch the all girl skate sesh/comp on the pro course. I can’t wait to see some of the female talent especially Lizzie Aramanto, in what is mainly a male dominated sport. Lucy Adams – the UK’s No.1 Skateboarder, said in Brash Zine that the female skate scene has ‘a lot more girls getting better’ and they are the ones ‘who’ll step it up for us’. As there aren’t as many female skaters, this is a great place for us to re-learn some old tricks and get some encouragement.
The BMX scene has a Park, Street and Pro Dirt. NASS is said to be showcasing ‘some of the gnarliest riders you can imagine’ this year. The biggest event is sure to be the Park competition, as Logan Martin will be looking to hold onto his title for the third year in a row. What we’ll be looking out will of course be back flips. God I hope there are back flips.
Bladers, or bin-liners as we used to call them at the skate park, will also be strutting their fancy feet on the park. If you have accidently watched Dancing on Ice and thought it looked like a load of poncy picnicking then go watch the in-liners and see some street sweat and real elegance.
And there are plenty of other sports to check out. UK’s top Mountain bike Dirt Jump Series, Slack Lining and Free Running. I ran into a free runner recently (get it?) because I was failing to climb up a wall and he showed me how. I regularly go indoor bouldering and free running looks like the most closely related sport at NASS. Those guys are true monkeys.
Keep your eyes peeled for live graffiti battles from Will Guise and Dan Doodles who will be brightening up the festival site. I love finding gems on the wall around the city and it will be interesting to see how this subversive art translates onto a legal and encouraging environment. I can imagine some graff heads getting their knickers in a twist as the whole point of graffiti is reactionary to the environment it’s in. From an art point of view, it’s a great way to watch the process that is usually so underground and sneaky. I’m going to see if I can start a debate – or a fight – about it when I’m there.
Enough action for one day? … Pause to catch your breath… Then it’s on to the party. This year NASS features 5 music stages! The main stage has the big names, one being Public Enemy, the granddads of Hip Hop. You can’t beat them really. I’d go to the festival just to see them to be honest. Another ledged I’m looking foreword to skanking to is Congo Natty. That guy is perfect for a drunken bounce. NASS gets that everyone has different music taste and they are definitely catering for a wide range. The Southbank stage is home to house, dub and hard-hitting bass. The Warehouse indoor arena is the intense rave stage and will keep you up well into the night. There’s also a Hip-hop/grime stage run by SIKA Studios. The rock stage, christened The Slammer by Kerrang! Radio listeners, will be our stage of choice. I can’t wait to jump around to Dub Pistols bassy mix of ska influenced genre’s. They have that beat that’s easy to dance to, even when plastered. There isn’t enough live music like this. I would also recommend everybody stops what they are doing and checks out Baby Godzilla. Even if you’re not into shouty hardcore, it’s worth it for their raw energy. Last time I saw them the singer climbed to the top of the stage and by the end of it they were all in the crowd tearing it up. Expect extreme fun and pain.
We’re hyped for NASS 2015, you should be too!
NASS is held at Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet (near Bristol) and runs from 10-12 July. Check out the line up and buy tickets here.
Watch the 2015 trailer below: