Green Hustle festival in Old Market Square
Green Hustle festival took place in Nottingham last weekend | Credit: Gemma Cockrell

It was a hot weekend in Nottingham and one person who was feeling the heat was Green Hustle headline act Jayahadadream.

Bursting on stage wearing sunglasses (which made me instantly regret leaving mine at home) and a pastel pink hoodie with grey cycling shorts, she very quickly realised she was overdressed and abandoned the hoodie to reveal a fluorescent orange Nike tank top – much more suitable attire for the weather.

Street art created at Green Hustle
The festival is a celebration of the creative communities in Nottingham | Credit: Gemma Cockrell

Green Hustle Festival returned from its year long hiatus and took over Old Market Square in Nottingham to celebrate life, nature, community action and creativity. The free event took place at the weekend (Friday, June 2 and Sunday, June 4) and was made possible by the creatives and activists that call the city home.

As someone who is heavily invested in Nottingham culture through my work with LeftLion magazine, as well as a newly converted vegetarian, I couldn’t help but get excited about this event. So, with anticipation building, I made the short journey from my cosy flat to the bustling Market Square, ready to dive into the experience.

People controlling a massive puppet in the streets of Nottingham
There were street performers at the event | Credit: Gemma Cockrell

This year, the weather was on Green Hustle’s side. On Saturday, the sun shone across the city and the 19-degree Celsius temperature brought people to Market Square in the masses, while curious passers by stopped to see what the fuss was about.

Throughout the day, there was plenty to explore, from talks and workshops to stalls where you could buy environmentally friendly souvenirs and plant-based food, which was not priced but instead you could pay as much as you could afford to for a portion. Meanwhile, street performers roamed around the square.

The lineup poster for the Green Hustle stage
Acoustickle curated the line up for the day | Credit: Gemma Cockrell

But the main attraction was the pop-up stage located near the tram stop, which boasted a line up curated by the Acoustickle collective. Presented by CeCe and Parisa, the stage hosted local artists from 11am onwards. As someone who is very invested in the local music scene, this is where I spent most of my afternoon.

Tracy Luvv was the first artist I saw, bringing summer vibes to the stage with her soulful voice. Having heard a lot of love for her among the local music scene, I had high hopes for her set. Originally discovering her talent for music through her faith, she exuded a positive and uplifting attitude, telling the crowd: “Don’t fight people, just write songs and be creative.”

Jayahadadream on stage with her band at Green Hustle
Local artist Jayahadadream headlined the event | Credit: Gemma Cockrell

She was followed by headline act Jayahadadream. The Jamaican Irish independent rapper, singer, and producer merges thought-provoking storytelling with smooth, soulful hip-hop beats. Having recently interviewed her for the latest LeftLion issue, I more than ready to get my next fix.

She was the perfect headliner for this event, since she is both environmentally conscious and vegan herself. As I watched her perform, I couldn’t help but consider: is it time for me to go vegan?

Performing slower tracks like Force and Selfish Games, before turning the energy up a notch with Cammy Riddim and Butthurt Men, Jaya’s set brought it all and it was the perfect end to a long day in the sun – I was very lucky to get a spot in the front row.

The Green Hustle map
Green Hustle had lots of stalls all over the Market Square | Credit: Gemma Cockrell

The celebrations continued long into the warm evening at the official Green Hustle afterparty, hosted at The Old Cold Store, before the festival took over Old Market Square for a second day on the Sunday.

After taking a year off in 2022, Green Hustle Festival came back with a bang and proved just how important it is to the creative community in Nottingham. Spreading an important message of protecting and sustaining the environment, while also promoting love and positivity, it is a staple to the city and will hopefully return to Old Market Square next year.

Green Hustle took place in Nottingham on Friday, June 2 to Sunday, June 4.

Find out more about the festival here.