After receiving the award for 'Best Medium Sized Festival' of 2015, Y Not Festival stopped at nothing to raise the bar this year. Returning to the festival for the second year in a row, I had high hopes that it was going to phenomenal, with headline acts this year including Editors, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Madness along with many more huge acts covering every angle of music. Once again situated in the beautiful fields of the Peak District, the festival itself has grown a huge proportion in comparison to last year. With thousands more people attending the sold out festival, it can only mean the food's greater, the crowds are better and the energy is bigger. The arena itself has transformed, keeping the traditions of the Y Not sign, the Helter Skelter and the Saturday paint fight, we now had the addition of a few new stages including Arnie's in association with 'British and Irish modern music institute' and The Neon Coconut featuring acts Craig Charles and Mike Skinner.
On Friday there was an already huge excitement for the day's lineup. We had the main stage feature the forever returning Lancashire Hotpots who never fail to put a smile on the crowd's faces. Not only were the acts gaining a crowd but the events surrounding the arena, away from the music, were just as popular. An indoor cinema which across the weekend show cased popular classics such as The Goonies, Star Wars IV – VI and Ghost Busters proved to draw a huge crowd throughout the entire weekend. The first act which is got the chance to see as well as photograph was Everything Everything who took to the main stage. Having been a fan of their music for a few years now, as well as catching them at Leeds Festival last year, I was expecting them to be as awesome as ever. Kicking it off with the song ‘Blast Doors’ from their 2015 album, ‘Get to Heaven’, Everything Everything picked up the energy of the crowd almost as fast as Mr Motivator.
Later on the main stage we saw an outstanding performance from The Cribs. With resemblances to The Sex Pistols and the Smiths, the Yorkshire trio played some of their biggest tunes from ‘Men’s Needs’ to ‘Different Angle’. On the Giant Squid stage we had YAK who have been becoming increasingly popular with the younger crowds over the last year, playing across the UK. This stage is notorious for having the heavier rock and alternative bands. DJ Fresh headlined the second stage Friday night, but it was safe to say he was definitely placed in the wrong slot on the bill. His crowd was without a doubt the biggest of the night, filling and bursting out of the small tent, with many spectators saying he could have easily headlined main stage at the festival. It is reasons like this that you can see how big Y Not has become even within a year. The festival will grow and grow, as all I could hear throughout the weekend was how incredibly the atmosphere was. Headlining the main stage Friday night were the Editors a band which I was not too familiar with. Walking into the pit and seeing their industrial sized props and elaborate stage setup could only mean that these guys were pulling out all the stops. The crowd was a big as that of DJ Fresh with the intense build up of energy as the minutes drew closer to the Editor’s appearance. Opening their set with ‘Sugar’ the energy transgressed from the instruments directly into the crowd. With fire blasting from the stage and a wall of sparks cascading down from the roof of the stage, the band was a spectacular start to the weekend of strong headliners.
Waking up on Saturday the energy of the festival was low. The sun was shining but after a fantastic first night at Y Not, the crowds were definitely in the need to recover. That’s why, year after year, the first act on the main stage was Mr Motivator. GMTV star Derek Evans knows how to wake everyone up with his classic 90s spandex and crazy wake up moves. For a man of 63, he has the energy and the motivation of a man more than half his age.
With the tradition of the paint fight, the performances from acts Blood Youth, and HECK, Saturday was off to a crazy start. After seeing HECK a few times over the last year, they have never failed to surprise the crowd, as well as the security. Matt Reynolds pulled out all the stops, as much as he could, since his leg injury from 2000 Trees Festival. Jonny therefore took this into his own hands and went as crazy as he could for the both of them. Some of the best acts of the weekend appeared on the main stage on Saturday, including Eliza and the Bear and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were the headliners for the night. After seeing a lot of impressionable ‘Gallagher style’ haircuts throughout the day, I was sure that he was going to draw one of the biggest crowd’s of the weekend. The majority of his set included songs from Oasis including ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Half the World Away’ and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. As impressed as the crowd were, even Noel Gallagher himself was proud of the crowd saying on his Instagram @themightyi ‘If you were in that crowd last night at Y-Not then I salute you!! One of the best We've ever played for’.
The final day of the festival brought us a lot of cold windy weather but that did nothing to stop the crowd’s high spirits. With performances from DJ Yoda, SIKTH, Blossoms, The Hives and Madness, the final day of the festival had some of the most diverse range of music going. The Hives were undoubtably one of my favourite acts of the festival. They could have easily been up there with Madness and Editors to headline the festival. Their crowd was also one of the roughest I’ve seen on main stage all weekend, as no one can beat the crowds for HECK, they’re simply too rough. After being in the photo pit for less than a minute for The Hives I was already drenched in beer and bruised from crowd surfers. They opened with ‘Come On!’ and finished with ‘Tick Tick Boom’.
Madness were personally not as strong as The Hives from a younger generation’s perspective. Yes, they encouraged a huge crowd by playing classic such as ‘Our House’, ‘House of Fun’ and ‘Baggy Trousers’, however it was definitely from a slightly older generation who preferred Madness over The Hives. Still Madness were a throwback which grew a heartwarming atmosphere amongst the crowd. Covering songs such as ‘Highway to Hell’ by AC/DC, they encouraged the rocker loving youths in the crowd to join in on the fun.
Overall it is clear that Y Not festival has increased and grown to an ever improving festival. Taking considerations from the public, they have made this year as popular as the last. I hope I can watch as this festival continues to rise. If anyone has yet to visit the Peak District to take part in Y Not then I can be sure to you that it ill be worth it. A family safe festival full with music of all genres. I look forward to 2017.