I heavily edited the first few drafts of this article. It had been the story of missing the train from Paddington after a heavy night and signal failures at Earl’s Court, smoking in Hyde park waiting two hours for the next train, getting woken up by a security guard after falling asleep in the station shortly after and sweating through security once I’d arrived, but it will be easier for you to assume I got to NASS Festival 2015, on time and relatively sober. And that I didn’t miss my interview slot with Tony fucking Hawk.
None of that is really relevant. The story I was supposed to write started five hours later, when I finally met Tom in the car park, still feeling pretty faded.
The warm beer I was greeted with went straight through me and I was quickly introduced to Jonny, who would be my main source of entertainment for the weekend. It turned out he, to Tom’s surprise, had brought with him that indscn deck for Tony to sign. Jonny claimed he would never top that and I hear it now takes pride of place above his bed. How he pulled that stunt in front of most of the UK’s skate media I’ll never know, I just wish I had been there to see Tony’s face when he was presented the board and a sharpie. Gathering the remaining supplies for the campsite Tom asked if I had a tent. I explained my sorry self, and he handed me another beer. Over in our field, Jonny quickly set up the one man tent that was to house three large man boys while I laid in the grass. We gathered our energy and headed to the press area to meet up with Pedge and get the coveted friends of NASS wristband. Jonny wasted no time in letting me get to know him and his Snapchat / Tinder curiosities with pictures of some girl who we were to meet later.
The Pro Park at NASS definitely lived up to my expectations because I had none to begin with. We stayed a few hours to watch the BMX qualifiers, which to my ignorance, was damn impressive. Those guys fucking send it, it’s always cool to watch people going big with bags of style. We had more beers from the car, bypassing security. Jonny was to make a lot of trips to his car that evening, not all for beer. I can’t say the best for him was yet to come, but what followed was certainly the most entertaining for us.
That is where things start to get blurry and I should apologise to any readers who have actually made it this far through the story, but you know how it is. My already terrible memory was impaired by my party supplies. The rain arrived so we got our coats, and on the way back I spent all my money so we could all ride the fairground rides, which were fucking fun. Jonny convinced a girl to join him on the wurlitzer while her boyfriend looked on, I’m genuinely sure she shit herself on that ride but Jonny couldn’t confirm. The state of her white trousers could.
Here are some other vague memories that might prove entertaining. Big Narstie signed Jonny’s arm with the same sharpie Tony used for the deck. All the drinks tokens got used at the VIP bar in one round (we got more). All the 16 year olds took all the pills in a 50 mile radius while I jumped over tents like a 13 year old kid a V festival. Rebel Sound made some sounds and the crowd was surprisingly easy to get to the front of. Manhead absolutely trumped me on the beer tokens hauling about 20 bottles in one round. I’m pretty sure he agreed to be next in the firing line for our Top 5’s series but that was quickly forgotten. A guy dressed in all white everything played one of the funnest DJ sets I saw probably all summer. Some dude climbed the marquee roof and there were circle dance pits of some kind. Jonny disappeared and completed the second white trouser incident of the night in his car. Tom and I partied in the VIP area. Good times were had by all. Apart from Jonny.
I was the only one to make it outside of the tent in the rain on Sunday, and found my way through wandering crowds to watch the Skateboard finals. Everyone skated really good despite still being under the influence/ having topped up earlier that morning, and the crowd was completely backing everyone up. I can’t remember who won, but Snowy stuck a tre flip to front board on the down rail that was tight. Best trick on the rail jam was also great to watch. You can find out and watch videos here, this is just our experience of the festival.
NASS festival was a really fun but weird one. The people there looked like they didn’t know who they were or what they were supposed to watch, music or sports, one or the other? Regardless, I’m sure they all had a great time and suffered a suitable festival hangover / comedown. We definitely did. Thanks must go to: the security for being so average; the organisers for getting so many skaters and riders to actually show up and ride when they were supposed to; the local drug dealers for supplying every kid; that one burrito stall I can’t remember the name of but kept me alive; and Canoe Inc for continually being so rad, sorting our tickets, travel and booze for the weekend and partying with us. NASS Festival was a success. Breaks got nicely fucked up once again and is already thinking about getting tickets for next year.
Words: Will Sleigh
Photos: Tom Kirkby