Since 2011 the backstage acoustic sets have been an exciting added bonus to the already popular Festival. This year Butserfest are giving you and a friend the chance to win a special wristband that’ll gain you access into our Acoustic Shack.
Simply visit their Facebook page to enter for a chance to win! (Please note that access to acoustic sets does not include event tickets)
The first backstage acoustic act announced was Brighton pop punkers, Boston Manor who will be performing a 3 song acoustic set for a small group of lucky competition winners.
Photo by Leigh-Ann Kilner
Other acts which have also been announced are Dirt, Create to Inspire and Our Hollow Our Home! With six acts in total confirmed to play the Acoustic Shack, the last two are being kept a secret. With a little inside knowledge, we can guarantee that you will not be disappointed!
If you would like to know a little bit more about the acoustic sets, check out last years video of Joe from EMPIRE doing a cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’
To check out more of the latest news from Butserfest check out their website:
Now in its fourth year, Sundown festival has played host to many of the biggest names in music, and this year was no exception. Returning as headliners for the second time, Chase & Status closed the Saturday night, while Ellie Goulding closed the festival on Sunday.
But all the fun actually begun on Friday night. After waiting nearly 2 hours in the queue for my friends to get their wristbands, we eventually made it to the campsite, with aching bodies from carrying everything for so long.
We weren’t going to let that stop us though, as the Big Top opening party proved to be one of the highlights of Sundown. New to 2014, the action kicked off at 5pm, but after a few drinking games, we joined the growing crowd of energetic teenage ravers a few hours later. Commercial house tracks and big room EDM bass drops were the soundtrack to the party, consisting of ‘Backstreet’s Back’ being mixed into Martin Garrix ‘Tremor’ – certainly not something you hear every day, a dubious Nirvana remix and some old classics in ‘You’ve Got The Love’. It all made for a great night, with an impressive laser light show shining up the packed tent.
We also checked out some of the stools selling funky sunglasses, hipster shirts, bum-bags galore and the festivals best-seller, judging from all the lads wearing them, – black printed bandanna’s.
The morning after, the campsite looked like a bomb had hit it – especially the far from sanitary toilets located at the bottom of the campsite. But that’s all to be expected, in fairness there was the option to pay an extra £25 to get some brilliantly titled and much cleaner VIPee toilets for the weekend if you wished.
Entering Sundown’s main site just in time to see Disclosure and Tinie Tempah collaborator Sasha Keable perform on the main stage, it was a nice ease back into the party spirit to cure our near-hangovers. Sasha Keable’s sound is mainly synth led electronica with an impressive vocal laid over the top of each track. Performing tracks from her debut ‘Lemongrass and Limeleaves’ E.P, ‘Living Without You’ showcases her powerful vocal range and ‘Sweetest Talk’ takes influence from Jessie Ware’s soulful R&B sound. ‘Careless Over You’ creates the first sing-a-long moment with Sasha’s voice climbing over the rolling drum and synth beats. It’s the collaborations with Zinc and Disclosure which get the biggest cheers and sing-alongs. ‘Only For Tonight’ pumps up the party atmosphere with air-horn sounds just in time for set closer ‘Voices’, with the crowd jumping and singing back every word. Already signed to Tinie Tempah’s Disturbing London label, a few more releases and Sasha Keable will soon be a household name.
Also on Tinie’s label are All About She, who perform next. The London based UK garage three-piece are made up of record producers James Tadgell and Jon Clare and singer Vanya Taylor. It’s Vanya who grabs everyone’s attention though, with a similar stylish appearance and voice to Estelle, she wastes no time in showing off her vocals. ‘I Can’t Wait’ is a highlight, while new feel good track ‘Beyond Heaven’ hears Vanya work the crowd singing “Sundown you take me there” before asking “where are all the lovers at, put your hands in the air.” ‘Like That’ sees Vanya dedicate the track to a birthday girl on the front row before the trio end their set with the song everyone’s been waiting for. ‘Higher (Free)’ still sounds as fresh as when it was released last November and reached the top 20 in the UK. Sung a capella for the first chorus, it’s given an emotive re-work before the garage beats kick in which return ‘Higher’ to its original club-ready state.
Before Foxes takes to the stage, there is an unwilling yet entertaining twerk off to Nicki Minaj’s new single ‘Anaconda’ between Kiss FM DJ’s Michael and Tania, who introduce each act and deserve praise for building the hype effortlessly. Foxes bounces onstage, looking ever the pop star, in a dress and massive sunglasses. Aside from the music, Louisa is loved by, females who want to be her, and males who want to be with her. The whole set is a highlight. Performing the main singles from her debut album ‘Glorious’, including ‘Youth’, ‘Let Go For Tonight’ and ‘Holding On To Heaven’, each song receives mass sing-a-longs with fans arms waving in the air. She’s not bothered by the worsening weather either, which she has experienced the worst of after a storm engulfed her set at Nottingham’s Splendour festival in July. Instead she shouts to the crowd, “fuck the rain”, and they oblige, continuing to jump with her. ‘Clarity’, her massive Grammy award winning collaboration with Zedd goes down a treat and proves one of the weekend’s biggest sing-a-longs.
Meanwhile, over at the Big Top tent, house music lovers are being treated to the best in the business, with the whole day hosted by Defected Records! Earlier in the day Copyright and Cristoph have bass heavy sets before Food music label boss Shadow Child. But it was Second City and Mark Kinchen who provided the best sets of the day. Second City aka 27-year-old producer Rowan Harrington took the crowd on a journey of commercial to more underground house hits including a remix of Breach’s ‘Jack’ (who would play the same stage later), his collaboration with Route 94 ‘Freak’ and his own track ‘I Enter’, but sadly his brilliant new collaboration with Ali Love ‘What Can I Do’ doesn’t get played. Ending with his recent number one piano-house smash ‘I Wanna Feel’, everyone’s hands wave while their lungs are given a full workout much to Harrington’s happiness.
Later, Marc Kinchen, whose set is swapped with Sam Devine’s, draws a massive crowd to the tent. Opening with a dub of ‘My Head Is a Jungle’ before recent single ‘Always’, MK is joined by four less than covered dancers waving fans in front of their face, creating the Ibiza atmosphere, when in reality we’re inside a sweaty tent.
Chase and Status, who headlined Sundown festival back in 2011 returned to close proceedings on Saturday night. And what a show it was. An intense laser light show, a number of unexpected special guests and some insanely heavy drum & bass, dubstep and everything in between made it the show-stealer of the weekend. Performing tracks from all three of their albums and some older material, it was a career spanning set with each track sending the crowd absolutely crazy. I’ve actually never seen more mosh pits throughout a set. And it just gets even more out of control when Tempa T pounces onstage to rap his part in ‘Hypest Hype.’ Later, British singer Jacob Banks is welcomed onstage to provide his soulful sing-a-long vocals to ‘Alive’. Moko appears large as life in the background video appearing to jump out of the screen during ‘Count On Me’, similarly with Plan B seeming to smash the screen during ‘End Credits’ and ‘Pieces’. Set closer ‘Smash TV’ from the duo’s 2008 debut album ‘More Than Alot’ made for the perfect end to their genre defying set!
Sunday hosted a far more pop orientated line up on the main stage while well respected drum & bass label Ram Records took over the Big Top. On the main stage, three-piece M.O, who are receiving regular plays on Radio One from the likes of Mistajam, are bringing the 90’s girl band back! They’ve toured with Little Mix and recently signed with Universal in the US – and it’s not hard to understand why. Arriving just in time to catch the last two songs of their set, the first is an impressive cover of Beyonce’s ‘Drunk in Love’, made completely their own. The second is new single ‘Dance On My Own’ with a garage beat which samples Sweet Female Attitudes ‘Flowers’ – one of the biggest UK garage hits from the 90’s.
Ex-The Voice contestant, Becky Hill, bounces onstage in a white crop top and sparkling Aztec skirt, making the most of the British sunshine. She described her sound recently as “leftfield, alternative, cool pop” and that seems fitting. Two Inch Punch-produced opener ‘Caution to the Wind’ is the perfect solo introduction to the world for Becky who I have been a fan of ever since she appeared on The Voice. Since then, she has achieved two number one singles in the form of drum & bass Wilkinson collaboration ‘Afterglow’ and recent house hit with Oliver Heldens ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’ – both of which receive mass sing-a-longs during her set. You can’t help but love how down to earth she is, there are no airs and graces as she admits “my onstage chat is rubbish” after she cracks a joke about the sun being up for Sundown. She later tells the crowd “I’ve got a bottle of vodka in my room so I’m going to the RAM tent to rave it up” – she comes across as a typical partying teenager. Becky’s rise to the top has been stratospheric but she’s still the same loveable singer, as she tells the crowd, “I was recently working in LA and I got a call from my manager and he said, ‘Becky you’re number one”. She proves that she’s a real pop-star in the making during her next disco infused single, the MNEK-produced ‘Losing’ which she says is out in a few weeks. It’s safe to say that she gave the best live vocal performance of the weekend and I’ve already bought tickets to see her again!
Looking like Annie Mac and sounding similar to Katy B, Jess Glynne is the next rising female vocalist to perform. With two backing singers, a drummer, guitarist and keyboardist, Jess performs a set full of catchy pop hits in waiting. She asks the crowd, “did you enjoy my fellow husky, Becky?” much to the crowd’s applause. Jess gets straight into her recent number one with Route 94 in ‘My Love’ before it’s mixed into her second worldwide number one with Clean Bandit ‘Rather Be’, with both attracting mass sing-a-longs and smiling faces. “This is the last festival for us, so let’s go out with a bang”, exclaims Jess. Gorgon City-produced Set closer ‘Right Here’ which reached the top-ten saw the crowd swaying their arms and dancing along to the house beat.
John Newman appears like a young Elvis with slicked back hair and perfected dance routines from the start of his penultimate set of the weekend. Backed by a seven piece band made up including three female singers. The longtime Rudimental collaborator performs the majority of his debut number one album ‘Tribute’, taking the ever-growing crowd on a journey of soulful pop. Each track comes complete with John showcasing his beyond impressive footwork throughout set opener ‘All For You’, ‘Try’, and ‘Cheating’. It’s obvious that he’s a real showman with plenty of onstage confidence, treating the gig like a real show, saying “welcome to this evening’s entertainment”. During ‘Losing Sleep’ he throws himself and the mic around the stage before he pauses the song to shame a member of the crowd. “This guy’s trying to start a fight during my set. We’re not here to start a fight, we’re here to enjoy the music. Let’s put our middle finger up to him” – and everybody does. Back to proceedings and John gushes about his girlfriend, asking, “Did anyone see Ella Eyre earlier? That’s my other half” – of course everybody cheers. Later, John thanks the crowd for getting him where he is now, “We’ve done 38 festivals this season. It all started for me with Rudimental and it’s taught us that we’re ‘Not Givin In’”. The Rudimental collaboration sees John and the backing vocalists sing their heart out with John running along the front row of the audience to the lucky fans delight. Set closer, and number one single, ‘Love Me Again’, sees him fall to his knees at the end. John’s energy and showmanship far exceeded my expectations and I’d definitely recommend anyone to go and see him.
Ending the weekend was Ellie Goulding, who barraged through tracks from both albums ‘Lights’ and ‘Halycon’. Songs like ‘Figure 8’ and recent single ‘Goodness Gracious’ showcase Ellie’s unique breathy vocals. ‘Starry Eyed’ is dedicated to all of Ellie’s fans who have been with her from the beginning. Madeon-produced track ‘Stay Awake’ pushes Ellie’s vocal range to its highest and most impressive point. After a quick costume change, Ellie performs a chilled electronic cover of Alt J’s ‘Tesselate’ before switching to James Blake’s ‘Life Round Here’ – two breathtaking, somewhat haunting renditions. Picking up the guitar for an acoustic version of ‘Guns and Horses’, Ellie shows off her unmistakable vocal capabilities. Laughing she says, “It’s about the time where I like to do some voluntary movements which some people may call dancing” before pop hit ‘Anything Can Happen’. Teasing the crowd she jumps down to run across the front like John Newman did during ‘I Need Your Love’. Then comes the sad news, “This is my last show for quite a while and I’m not sure when I’m going to be back on tour”, Ellie genuinely seems upset but powers on through ‘Lights’ which sees everyone light up their camera phones, creating a special memory for everyone there. Finishing with ‘Burn’, Ellie signs off hinting at a return for the following year.
Ellie certainly won’t be the only one coming back to Sundown festival if this year’s brilliant event is anything to go by!
“I never want to see another f**king hill again,” one BoomTown goer moaned as they left the festival early Sunday evening for the wind-protected respite of home. And so BoomTown came to an end for many in that fashion; drips and drabs of goers relenting after three days of hazardous rain and wind, tired limbs aching from raving up and down the hilliest festival in existence.
But it was certainly not a waste. Boasting one of the finest, most eclectic line-ups this summer, BoomTown Fair offered up a fair distraction from the beating rain.
Thursday and Friday afternoon, before the downpour, the likes of reggae punks Dirty Revolution, The Wailers and the dub-rap stylings of Soom T soothed many underneath the atmospheric awnings of the pop-up city; a veritable testament to themed festival architecture that rivals Glastonbury itself.
In fact, if one pictures BoomTown as Glastonbury’s South East Corner – yet boasting less dystopian anti-capitalist allegories – then one would hold an accurate drawing of the entirety of BoomTown Fair; all stages are a-flow with ornamental arrays and add-ons that belie the fact that they’re stages at all. Certainly it’s a feat Glastonbury could not manage given its size, but BoomTown manages just fine.
Unfortunately for the festival, some of the most coveted acts are outside in the would-be sunshine; halfway through The Skints’ 5.30pm set, the rain begins and seems to never stop. “We’re going to keep playing until they literally force us to stop,” jokes singer and guitarist Josh Rudge, but it appears their equipment may never recover from the storm. Moreover, the heavy rain dampens later sets from Easy Star All Stars, Russkaja, Afro Celt Sound System and Bellowhead; while all take the limited numbers and cheer in their stride as such impeccable musicians do, it begs the question; how bloody amazing would they have been inside, or in better conditions? Perhaps the organisers will find it in their hearts to give them another chance at next year’s BoomTown.
While the continuing rain drives festival goers to their tents, or to the inside late-night venues in hope of better fare, at least Saturday is all sunny sides up; save for the fact that Dunkelbunt were unceremoniously moved earlier, leaving many angry and confused when electro-swing pioneers Tape 5 take to their stage in their later slot. Luckily, Black Star Dub Collective prefaced the disappointment with an inspired set within the woodland retreat, while anarcho-punks Autonomads woke up the masses, as The Filaments with ‘Bastard Coppers’ were to later.
If only it could have lasted; the rain drives down once again during Slamboree’s Soundystem show at the towering Arcadia, carrying on through Dreadnought’s late-night ballsy set and until 11am the next day; many tents that were not flooded Friday, flooded that night.
Moreover, the Town Centre stage the following day proved to be a wash-out, as its cancellation added an extra fist-shake curse to the skies. Despite the day’s better weather, The Urban Folk Quartet’s fantastic triangle solo and Macka B’s ensuing good-vibe guide, Sunday proved too much for many as a chaotic miasma of abandoned tents blew over the site. While BoomTown, which sells out every year, certainly offers up first class entertainment and artwork second to none – accompanied by a scene-focused and professionally-picked line-up – it can’t hold off the weather. Despite this, the festival is one that all should flock to at each once; long may it reign.
“Make sure you pack your sun cream…it’s going to be a scorcher next weekend!”
These words did not end up ringing wholly true. In fact, this was one of the wettest, muddiest festivals I have ever experienced…and I've been to at least 20. If you are going to have your festival in the Lake District, who knows what weather you are going to get, but this was a Northern festival, with proper double-hard Northern people who were ready for anything.
…then this little guy turned up and showed us all how it was done…
We arrived early on Thursday, this being the first year to allow entry the day before the main festival. After finally getting up our beast of a tent, we caught the first half of Craig Charles’ thumping set in the Glow tent, before some Yorkshire Ska in Chai Wallah, courtesy of The Talks.
Friday started out in the real ale tent, and not even for beer (this time!), but instead to avoid the first heavy downpour of the weekend. Samba bands were a feature across the site, and kept everyone entertained until the stages started. By the early afternoon the rain had stopped, giving way to sack races and plenty of activities to keep families busy in the Ladybird Kids area. Teenagers got their dancing shoes dirty early on at the Jägermeister stage and in the House Party tent. The first big crowd of the day was for The Dub Pistols, a band who just seem to be made for festivals, getting everyone stomping those wet weather blues away.
There was disappointment for some as the next act Ella Eyre was unable to attend due to illness, but fear not…The Sunshine Underground served up an extremely last minute indie dance set that kept everyone happy while they refuelled in anticipation of De La Soul…
Unfortunately, owing to an accident on the M6, their set was cut short, but the enthusiasm they provided more than made up for it. “Me, myself and I” put lots of smiles on faces. With as many years of experience as they have they worked the crowd as you would expect.
Just enough time to grab some food. There was plenty on offer, ranging from exotic burgers (Llama; wild boar and wagyu beef) to delicious momos from the Tibetan Kitchen (my photographer is now completely hooked on these badboys).
Suede headlined Friday night and began with a quiet opener “The Next life” from their first album. They had won the crowd over by the third song “Trash”, followed by “Animal Nitrate” giving everyone a chance to sing, and Brett Anderson to strut his stuff like the mid 90’s were here again. Mid set we were given a new song “Tightrope” which the crowd were not really sure about, and their set finished with “Beautiful Ones”.They closed the main stage with an encore of “She’s in Fashion”, and a wonderful rendition of “Stay Together”.
After hours there was plenty to do with particular highlights being the Britpop set in the Tim Peaks Diner and the jazzy breaks of Mr Scruff.
As morning broke on Saturday, the site was turning to a liquid red thanks to the Cumbrian mud and morning rain. That didn’t stop large numbers of aliens, and sci-fi characters emerging from their tents to lighten up the gloom. The Glow Tent hosted a mass moonwalk to the song “Billie Jean”, as hundreds of MJ’s strutted their stuff.
Mid-afternoon, as the sun peeked out, Newton Faulkner played to a background of bubbles drifting across the field, “Teardrop”, and Justin Timberlake’s “Like I love you baby” bringing the crowds in. Athlete continued the summer vibe, and the sunglasses were out by the time Razorlight took to the stage. Sporting a lovely beard (trust me, I know about beards!) Johnny Borrell and the boys played a high energy, hit filled set.
Then, it was ALL about Madchester, with bucket hats and Lennon glasses being the necessary uniform. The Happy Mondays began with Bez informing us of his political intentions, which is either genius, or the most bonkers thing you’ve ever heard. The majority of this crowd would definitely vote for him. Shaun planned to keep it a PG performance, and entertained the crowd by never being quite sure which songs were coming next. Rowetta looked fantastic in her cowboy hat and tassels, and people were literally climbing the trees to get a good view. The sound was great and the whole arena was rocking to party classics from “Loose Fit”, to “24 Hour Party People”.
Frank Turner started his set with a smaller crowd, hampered by the rain, but that crowd grew and got to enjoy a very special headline slot. This being his third time at the festival, he’s definitely earned his Kendal stripes, and when he announced how honoured he was to play, you really knew he meant it. His band, The Sleeping Souls, threw themselves around the stage and really stepped up the volume, with stomping tunes like “Photosynthesis” getting the crowd all clapping and singing along. He dedicated his new song “Angel Islington” to all the Northerners. Despite a re-tune mid song and a broken string, nothing could faze Frank tonight!
Sunday, originally predicted to be the best day for weather, was the worst, with frequent showers turning the main arena into a mud bath. Children and adults kept their spirits up by sliding down the hillside, and one of the great moments of the weekend was the chap in neon and a flat cap, cruising round a pool of mud in his electric wheelchair, chasing people. The Lancashire Hotpots played at lunchtime and won the award for most costume changes, and as they said, it was like a Lady Gaga gig! Conga lines, beach balls and songs including “We Love the North”, and “Chippy tea”, were just what was needed to keep everyone from flagging.
Reel Big Fish were the afternoon high point, Masters of styles they gave us the Ska Punk we all expected, but also a touch of Disco, and even a bit of Square-dancing. With choreographed kicks they finished with “Take on Me”, and as the dancing increased, the mud was flying. Tom Odell didn’t go in for quite the same level of onstage action, but instead let his music do the talking. It only took him to point to the girls at the front to get them all screaming, as he hammered away at the piano. A new song “Jealousy” from his upcoming album was particularly well received.
Miles Kane was taking no prisoners with a straight up rock and roll show. Dressed in a psychedelic shirt, his strutted around owing the stage, scissor kicking as he went. By the time he played “Don’t Forget Who You Are”, he had the audience joining in from the front to all the way up the hill.
The final act on the main stage was Example, the biggest crowd of the weekend, and everyone wanted to be at the front. The sound from the stage was massive, with filthy bass lines shaking the sodden ground. Dressed in black he electrified the entire field, with lasers and a completely awesome neon drum kit. “One more day (Stay with me)” “Changed the way you kiss me” and “Kickstarts” were by far the biggest sing-a-longs of the weekend. As the set finished with air cannons and ticker tape, the epic firework display was a worthy end to a sometimes challenging but ultimately celebratory weekend.
After the main events, we headed back to Tim Peaks Diner for some energetic table dancing and a storming funk and soul set from Tim Burgess. Just time to pop back to the real ale tent, this time for a well-deserved pint, we’d all survived!
Words by Reuben Crowther Photographs by Andy Sawyer
One of the UK's fastest-growing festivals, Derbyshire's Y Not returned for its ninth outing and delivered a weekend chocked full of 'I was there' moments; be it the triumphant closure of Dizzee Rascal's compelling Saturday night headliner set, the smooth hip-hop of American trio De La Soul or the rousing, foot-stomping bangers that pumped out of the Saloon Bar all weekend long, there was something for every music lover, young and old, at this year's gathering.
For me, it began on Friday with exciting Birmingham band Superfood. Scores of teens flooded the main stage front to see the intriguing four-piece, who proceeded to belt out guitar-led anthems that were shouty, loud and fun. A band who'd been on my radar for a while, exceeded my expectations and kicked off the festival nicely. Intermittent rain showers were just a preview of the weather to come, but still it led me to the Saloon Bar in the middle of the site, to check out Three Minute Heist.
The Saloon Bar is a perfect replica of an American Western bar, with only the stench of Somersby cider and cans of Tuborg giving away the fact we were at a festival in the middle of the Derbyshire countryside in 2014! Nevertheless, that didn't stop the aforementioned quartet bringing their brand of country blues and sing-a-longs along to transport us back a century. The packed out venue was rocking, especially so with closer 'Johnny B. Goode'.
After checking out the finest reggae and drum 'n' bass tents Y Not has to offer, it was off to the wetter Main Stage to check out London's very own Spector. Lead singer Fred Macpherson's powerful and unique vocals managed to keep his band alive, as they put in a so-so performance of their back catalogue 'Chevy Thunder' and fresh cuts from an upcoming new record, that managed to keep the crowd bobbing along to their bouncy pop-rock.
The first of the weekend's big boys then took to the Main Stage; Johnny Borrell leading his Razorlight bandmates out almost a decade after headlining a stage at Glastonbury. They reeled through a Greatest Hits set in which you could sense their class, but it was all pretty unexciting. Borrell was never the greatest of stage presences, and whilst his ambition was there, his band never quite reached their fullest of potential with either their career or this subbing set.
A headline set by Reel Big Fish is a must-see. The pop-punk band are an assured live act, and got the Quarry crowd up off their feet for a good chunk of the gig. Live brass bands are always a plus, and the band had their crowd in the palm of their hand, with circle pits forming as far as the eye could see, a packed crowd revelled in the moment in what was surely one of the most memorable Quarry sets. Finishing with their famed cover of a-ha's 'Take on Me', was predictable, yet incredible.
A quick dash back over to the Main Stage, saw White Lies begin. Despite their tunes lacking the considerable 'oomph' of their fellow headliners, the indie-rockers kept sections of the crowd entertained, with an enjoyable if forgettable set.
My Saturday began over at the Quarry, to check out up-and-coming rap/pop artist Ady Suleiman. Describing him as a 'better' Ed Sheeran might be a step too far (and I'm not a fan of Sheeran!), but Suleiman was the perfect hangover cure for many, as he and his band rattled through their half-an-hour set, leaving you wanting far, far more. If there could be any criticism, it would be that his lyrics could develop moreso, hearing song after song about the generic 'lost woman' does tire after a bit, but this is a man to watch out for. Equally experiemental beatboxer Shlomo was another top pick. Using his loop machine, he treated us to stories of how he discovered his talent, a great cover of 'No Diggity' and a pulsating climax.
One of the most anticipated artists of 2013 were Brummie's Swim Deep. Scintiallating cuts of sun-laden summery tunes were released periodically by them throughout the year, before the release of debut album, 'Where The Heaven We Are' disappointed many, myself included. This set though, reignited some hope within me, that they can reach the heights promised by songs like 'Honey' and 'King City', as they impressed hugely in 'Arcade Fire'-esque blue facepaint. The all-important second record could make or break them.
Scots The Fratellis, know all about that, debut album 'Costello Music', providing them with a springboard into British music, before their follow-up 'Here We Stand' flopping, and the inevitable hiatus following. But they brought back memories of their 2006 breakthrough with hit after hit. Even the songs that weren't ingrained into our brains, were pretty good, bouncy tracks. However, throughout the set, bottles and cans of beer littered the stage, leading to frontman Jon Fratelli to warn 'one more of that and that's your lot'. It ceased the flow, but still was an unsavoury incident, and not the last of it at all…
The man most of the 12,000 festival-goers had flocked to see, Dizzee Rascal took to the stage a little after his 10pm start time, but delivered in a massive way. His set was eclectic and his famed live show, was a tour de force in pure entertainment. All he needed was his DJ, a couple of hype men and the stage was set for a victorious performance. His collaborations with other artists, opener 'Here 2 China' with Calvin Harris, 'Heavy', from Chase & Status and the excellent 'Dirtee Love' with Florence + the Machine, reminded you of the quality of Dizzee's back catalogue, but his standalone hits, 'Holiday', 'Bassline Junkie' and the sheer power of 'Bonkers', makes you wonder how long it will be before Dizzee headlines ascends to headliner status at one of the UK's greatest and biggest festivals.
With the crowd size having thinned out following Mr Rascal's Saturday night slot, I thought it best to check out the finer sights of Y Not on Sunday…the funfair! With a cheap roller disco, a cracking dodgems and a postponed paint fight, Sunday was a riotous day, with the sun finally coming out to dry the festival site considerably by the evening. It boosted the fatigued amongst the Y Not crowd, and was grand preparation for a fantastic end to the festival.
Derby band Joint Honours managed to fill the Allotment stage to the max, bringing some poppy, guitar-driven tunes to the fore and getting the crowd going hugely for late afternoon on a Sunday. One of my favourite bands of the minute, Palma Violets did not disappoint on the Main Stage. The powerful rock band, were uber-confident and strutting around the stage for an extended 45-minute set. 'Best Friends' has to be the biggie, but I cannot wait for their second album to drop so they can expand their ambitious sound and step up to the next level.
A switch in sound, to the hip-hop stylings of legends De La Soul. Hit after hit followed as the trio participated in some hilarious crowd participation, promoting inter-crowd rivalries, before daring the very same idiotic people who had pelted bottles at the Fratellis the previous day to try the same with them, but letting them know how stupid they were, provoking yet more acclaim. Their set was a perfect exercise in getting a field full of weary bodies to dance to some classic tunes for one last hour.
There was only one man who could close such a festival, take to the stage Y Not three-timer, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls. Frank's last outing in these parts came in 2009, a well-overdue return saw him rise to headliner status. The cult rocker entertained in huge doses, as he reeled through tracks from 2013's 'Tape Deck Heart', his fifth studio album, as well as crowd favourites 'I Still Believe' and 'Wessex Boy'. The riotous fireworks that marked the end of his hour and the end of the Y Not weekend were special and poignant.
Here was an artist and a festival that have never been better, Y Not will celebrate its tenth birthday next August and whilst it is hard to see just how it will be able to cram more goodness into one weekend, you can bet that organisers will try their hardest to make 2015 bigger and better than this stellar weekend!
As the sweltering heat filled the whole of the site, everyone was eager to get into the showers which were scattered throughout the site, which one festival goer seemed especially happy when walking out of one of the blocks and seeing the hairdryer and straighteners stall situated next to it as she excitedly told all of her peers.
With most acts not starting until late, the first band to play that caught peoples eye was Slaves on ‘The Slammer’ stage. With the two piece Royal Blood alike band, glided onto the stage with pride and with one in an interesting outfit, which resembled pyjamas. With the festival predominantly being an EDM/Dubstep festival, the Rock bands weren’t receiving a great reception, as there was a crowd of possibly 40 people in the tent, if that. However, this didn’t stump their performance as the quirky duo still entertained the crowd with their questioning of what NASS means, which lead onto ‘Nescafart’ and ‘Farty coffees’ which pleased the crowd as a few chuckles spread here and there. Should the crowd of been larger, then the atmosphere would have been incredible, as they carried out a performance to the greatest of their potential, despite receiving little from the minute crowd there.
Sonic Boom Six played The Slammer next, and with the gum-chewing female vocalist bouncing onto the stage in a bra-let and patterned leggings. As the crowd was filling up about a third of the tent, it was a shock to still see people joining the band in there as it wasn’t expected. The energetic front woman was punching the air between her outstanding vocals which formed excellent harmonies with the male vocalist of the band. An excellent set from an extremely underestimated band.
Despite the glorious weather earlier on in the day, once it hit 6pm the rain was flooding down, causing the outdoor skateboarding qualifiers to be postponed until Sunday.
As the rain was still coming down a little bit, The Bronx came on to the Main Stage, with a decently sized crowd welcoming them. Despite not entirely fitting into the line-up, it didn’t mean that they didn’t give it their all, even with bassist troubles at the beginning of their set. With an extremely energetic photographer almost egging on the crowd who could see him, the band was excellently received as there didn’t seem to be one person who didn’t enjoy it!
Cypress Hill received an overwhelming response by the whole of the festival, with the Main Stage filling out causing the queue to get in being over an hour long and ultimately being closed off. With the act definitely being lower down on the line-up as they should have been, they created an insane atmosphere throughout the whole of the crowd. The crowd joined in with the chant of “if I say Cypress you say Hill” to an extraordinary volume which overpowered the backing track.
Funeral For A Friend received a full crowd for their headlining set in The Slammer as everyone headed over to see them due to the queue to see Cypress Hill and the rain. An unfortunate reason to have a crowd, but nonetheless, they still welcomed everyone there and potentially gained some new fans outside of their genre. At the start of the set Frontman matt Davies-Kreyes vocals seemed to be weak, however as the crowd grew and the set went on, his vocals dramatically improved. The thankful frontman threw out a speech thanking the crowd for spending time with “the granddads of the emo movement” rather than Cypress Hill, to which a failed crowd surf followed. The alcohol fuelled mosh and circle pits were continuous throughout the whole set, which unfortunately, included crowd killing as well. However, although everyone was out of their face, it didn’t stop everyone looking after each other if someone fell on the floor, which unfortunately did include myself as a result of a group of guys crowd killing, yet six people helped me to get back up, which restored the faith of everyone in the crowd. With the frontman asking everyone to sing because “I’ve got a fucking stitch”, everyone seemed more than happy to help. Interestingly and absolutely brilliantly, at the end of their last song, a 50+ woman who had been moshing all night, jumped the barrier and joined the band on stage before being escorted off by the security that had jolted to remove her from the stage.
NASS Festival features the most up and coming DJs, skateboarders and Rock bands over the three day weekend at the Bath & West Showground. With Headliners of the Main Stage including Let’s Be Friends, Mistajam and Wilkinson, the crowds were indefinitely going to be filled with drug fuelled party goers who seemed to be pretty closed minded about the other stages there, for example ‘The Slammer’ which was sponsored by Kerrang!.
Upon arrival on Friday, the overall festival vibe was clear to all. Everyone just wanted to have as much fun as possible, whilst listening to a few of their favourite DJs.
With the festival still filling up at 10pm on the Friday, more chanting and Hip-Hop was filling the campsites as everyone was eager to pitch their tent so that they could start their weekend.
As you walked into the Main Stage Warehouse for Andy C, there was no questioning what the crowd would be like during the set as they welcomed Andy C on stage. They were chanting his name religiously. The light show fuelled the energetic crowd who were ‘skanking’ vigorously to the drops in the songs. The multi-coloured lightshow fuelled the crowd as it was partially on them, which was more than the MC did as there was no crowd interaction.
With Let’s Be Friends headlining the main stage with their remixes, it was very difficult not to sing along as they kicked off the set with a Swedish House Mafia remix, enticing the half full crowd to sing along and move closer to one another and the front of the warehouse. Shouting “Let me hear you say Hey!” to the crowd, it instantly was clear why they were headlining as the crowd’s reaction to any interaction between them and the act was phenomenal. Dizzee Rascals ‘Bonkers’ seemed to be a huge crowd pleaser as “Put your fucking hands up” was screamed through the microphone as the crowd started to jump up and down moving forward to let the ever growing crowd to join in. The crowd was incredibly dependant on the light show and the songs that were on. As if the original was popular in the charts, then the more that the crowd would enjoy it and dance along too. Thanking the crowd for being there came towards the end as “This is a raving start to the summer, and it’s all thanks to you guys” was spoken the most calmly out of the whole set to which the crowd cheered at an incredibly high level as they clearly had a lot of love and respect for the act.
Overall, the few hours that music was on during the Friday, the atmosphere was ever growing, as was the manic crowd. There was a lot to be expected of the music and sport filled Saturday…
The New Forest was brought to life by Festibelly. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of the South, the breath taking scenery dotted with wildlife makes for a pleasant journey to Lymington. Taking place from the 11th to the 12th of July, this small-scale festival really does cater for all.
On arrival, the short queuing time and onsite camping made for a quick and easy start to the weekend. Once the tent was pitched, I explored the array of stalls. Festibelly offers something for everyone, with children’s entertainment including games and crafts. While the kids were occupied, adults could enjoy the music only a few meters away. However, this festival isn’t just for families, it caters for all ages.
The vibe was chilled on Friday, with musical highlights from Laurel, Amber Run and Lewis Floyd Henry. The atmosphere picked up as Skinny Lister took to the stage, with upbeat sing along songs that got the whole crowd involved. The Cuban Brothers headlined Friday night and had the whole crowd captivated with their dancing and humor. I didn’t know what to expect when watching them, but they defiantly entertained!
Saturday welcomed in more festival goers, with the crowds drawing in to watch Jus Now and DJ David Rodigan. Entertainment was also on offer at the Massive In China and Terrapin Station tents through out the day, with a variety of comedy, music and dance workshops to participate in. Although slightly limited in choice, the food on offer was delicious with produce being sourced or grown locally. Delicious Orange Rooms cocktails were also available to buy from their teepee.
The main stage showcased FEMME and Mausi, who brought the pop vibes to the festival with dance beats blasting out in the sun. Hudson Taylor was the perfect end to such a family friendly festival in a beautiful location. I’d highly recommended this festival to anyone!