Y Not Festival 2016 Review

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.


Best Kept Secret Festival 2015 Review

This weekend took me to Beekse Bergen, a safari park in Hilvarenbeek in the Netherlands for the third installment of Best Kept Secret Festival. As far as festivals go, it’s still a baby, but with what it has to offer it seems the Dutch have it down. From gourmet food and wooden floors, to wristbands that double as wallets and a keep it green recycling policy, there’s not much more you could want from a three day event. Not to mention its stages hosted acts such as the Libertines, Balthazar, A$AP Rocky, Earl Sweatshirt, Royal Blood, Noel Gallagher and Alt-J, with well thought out schedules which means hardly any clashes.

But that’s not all, for example, the whole festival is cashless. Some UK and other European festivals have started operating a token system when it comes to drinks, but BKS tooks things even further. On your wristband there’s a little plastic chip, which you top up (up to 150 euros a time) and anything you buy whilst inside is done via the balance on your chip. No more scrambling for change, so more losing tokens or paper tickets, your wallet has relocated to your wrist. Which is an even better thing when you realise that the food lineup is almost as good as the music one. Wood fired pizza, smokers that boast delicious pulled pork, vegan friendly cheesecake and stuffed meatballs, it really doesn’t get much better. There’s also a massive tent run by ethically sound TOMS, where for every cup of coffee sold they donate to wateraid, complete with a lounging area that where you can sit, relax, and look out over the huge lake that sits just right of the main stage.

With such entertainment and tents as this, it’s relatively easy to forget why i’ve made it all the way to Holland in the first place, but remembering the line up quickly bring me back.


Friday saw the likes of two-piece rockers Drenge and the scouse Circa Waves take to the main stage, entertaining crowds with their own version of indie rock, with Stage Two boasting Earl Sweatshirt, who although rocked his set, would probably have been better suited to a later show, but all in good time, as The Jesus and Mary Chain worked the second stage when it came to their set. The evening brought with it stylised folk in the shape of The Tallest Man on Earth, but The Libertines, the ones it seemed everyone was waiting for eventually took to the stage at 10:30pm.

Pete and Carl rocked up, hats and all, and as per usual they did not disappoint. If anyone was wondering what ever did become of the likely lads, I can tell you that they are back and definitely not going anywhere soon. Though last year saw them play a few shows throughout the UK and Europe, their first show of 2015 has meant that they have firmly rooted themselves as rock gods once again. Even standing in the crowd you could feel the energy radiating. With a set list as strong as it could be, including new track Gunga Gin, it was an exciting time for anyone who dare call themselves a fan of the boys in the band.


Friday came and went and Saturday rolled on through, and with it a tiny bit of sunshine. Vibing up Stage Five were spanish rock quartet Hinds, not yet well known, but ones to watch who kept the energy high and created plenty of fun for the crowd. Belgian blues rockers Balthazar tore up the main stage, lulling us all with melodic riffs, followed shortly by The Vaccines, who are set to cement themselves in the music hall of fame with the *impending release of English Graffiti, and the legend himself Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds ending the day on Stage One with his own brand of British indie charm, not to mention a couple of Oasis tracks thrown in for good measure. But Saturday for me was all about Stage two and A$AP Rocky. Not knowing what to expect, I crammed myself into the packed tent ready and waiting for what he had to offer, and though he seemed to not pay much attention to the scheduled stage time (fifteen minutes late) he definitely put on a show, using the backdrop to play self curated clips and images that was set to the music and the whole performance. Something a little different from a hip hop show that was much appreciated.


By the time sunday came around, the hope for sunshine had definitely evaporated as we seemed to start the day with a heavy downfall, but a bit of torrential rain never stopped me at a festival before and I wasn’t going to let it this time either. With plenty to see, the day kicked off with Wolf Alice, a london group reeling in the excitement of releasing their debut album My Love Is Cool on that day tore up the stage, swiftly followed by Gengahr and then back to the mainstage for some melodic tunes by First Aid Kit. One of the highlights of the day for me however were Royal Blood, who came on complete with extra speakers and stadium lights, just in case anyone had any doubts about the ability of the two piece to put on a show. After getting the crowd a little riled up (must say there’s been a few mixed reviews on their attitude) they ended up putting on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and the moshers in the middle seemed to agree. But coming to a Dutch festival, especially one with the vibe of Best Kept Secret, it’s clear the winners of the weekend were Sunday Headliners Alt-J. Paying back to their Dutch fans – they were bigger in Holland than they were in the UK at the beginning of their indie rock reign – the bond became apparent as they ended the festival on a massive high.

Overall, Best Kept Secret has a lot to offer. I must admit the vibe is incredibly different to anything I’ve ever been to before. A bit politer, and a lot more ‘high-end’ its perfect for anyone who likes to listen to some good bands, eat some yummy food surrounded by scenic views and a stunning lake, and lets face it, who doesn’t?

Best Kept Secret 2015: What we’re looking forward to this year.

It might be monday, but no need to fret because this weekend is one of the most widely anticipated european festivals of the year. Best Kept Secret is still in its youth, in fact this year will only be it’s third birthday! But that doesn’t stop it from being one of the festival heavyweights. With headliners such as the Libertines, Alt-J and Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds, and set in Hilvarenbeek, in the middle of the Netherlands, the dutch really know how to put on a show. So with the days creeping ever closer, here are some of the acts we’re most looking forward to seeing this weekend. 


Now that they’re done making the reunion rounds, they’ve got their hearts set on reclaiming the rock and roll throne. Rumours of a new album leaving fans gripping the edge of their seat, and if their history of stage antics and cult following has anything to go by, we can tell the friday night headliners are not one to be missed. You never know, we might even get some sneak peeks of a new track or two. 
A$AP Rocky

Bound to be one of the best shows of the weekend after the much anticipated release of AT.LONG.LAST, A$AP Rocky aka Rakim Meyers is on top form. Not your average hip hop star, the young kid from Harlem continues to break the mould with his interest in fashion, his discontent with his own hype and passion for the art behind the music. The two year gap between his debut LONG.LIVE.A$AP and his new release had some of us reeling with frustration but now that it’s here, we could not have asked for more. Watch him on the main stage saturday night, he won’t disappoint. 

Royal Blood

One of the hottest new acts of the past year, Brighton duo Royal Blood are continuing to blow up, despite still being on their debut. Don’t let their youthfulness deter you, because the matching of heavy drums and perfectly executed riffs in their blues infused rock is enough to make your hair stand on end. Spend a few minutes with them on sunday and you’ll be the newest heir to the royal blood throne. 

Wolf Alice

Often called the ‘lovechild of grunge and folk’, Wolf Alice are kicking off the sunday at the second stage. Originally a duo that hit up the London Open Mic scene, they’ve now beefed up their sound and gained a cult following, making them one of the UK’s ones to watch over the coming year. Bearing in mind they don’t even have an official album yet, they’re doing pretty well for themselves and we can’t see what their show has to offer. 


Gracing the main stage on Saturday is the return of the Vaccines, having matured slightly from their 2011 grunge-rock, strokes inspired anthems, their awaiting release English Graffiti shows their stature and is sure to cement their place in the halls of pop-rock fame. 


One of Belgium’s hidden gems, Balthazar are back with their third album Thin Walls, and believe me it doesn’t disappoint. Chucked full of witty lyrics, dreamy guitar and a feeling of blues, if you haven’t heard them yet take some time to listen - they’re sure to become your new favourite band. 

Though these are just a few of the bands gracing the stages of Beekse Bergen, but the lineup is even better. It’s sure to be a great weekend ahead.

Top Trumps released: Circa Waves and Typhoon added to Best Kept Secret bill

Best Kept Secret are certainly playing a game of cards, and they’ve just added two to their hand: Liverpudlian rock-indie band Circa Waves and Dutch hip-hop star have just been added to the lineup.

These acts join an already sensational lineup by on the Dutch Festival in June. Boasting headliners such as The Libertines, Alt-J and Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds, and other crowd pleasers such as A$AP Rocky, The Tallest Man on Earth, Drenge, The Vaccines, First Aid Kit, Royal Blood and Earl Sweatshirt, this years scope of talent is sure to please everyone.


Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds to headline Calling Festival

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds as the headliner for Calling Festival, which takes place in Clapham Common on Saturday 4 July 2015Ryan AdamsThe Hives and Echo and the Bunnymen are also confirmed for the bill. Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 6 February at www.livenation.co.uk or www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will headline Saturday 4 July at Calling Festival, the band’s first appearance at the Clapham Common event and first outdoor headline performance. 2015 is set to be a huge year for the guys as it will see the release of their eagerly awaited second studio album Chasing Yesterday.

Ryan Adams is also confirmed and ready to play a thundering set at Calling Festival 2015. The prolific singer-songwriter will perform hits from his incredible back catalogue and tracks from his latest self-titled album, which reached Number 6 in the UK album charts.

The Hives make a welcomed return to the festival. Get ready for a set filled with top and tails, air kicks, incorrigible humour, energetic rock and the biggest tracks from the band’s extensive repertoire. Finally Echo and the Bunnymen, one of the most acclaimed British alt-groups of the 80s, are confirmed for some incredible, dark and gloomy post punk fused with 60s inspired psychedelia.