From an “overspilled house party” to 25,000 revellers, Y Not Festival manages to showcase the big gun headliners with Editors, Noel Gallagher and Madness, right down to the new, up and coming talent. Despite the dramatic increase in capacity Y Not manages to maintain it’s festival feel-good atmosphere.
On the main stages it took the old guard to show the new kids on the block how to entertain a festival crowd. On the opening night Milburn attracted a healthy sized crowd for a sing-along, followed by The Coral, who seem just as current now as they were in their heyday. The crowd full of late-twenties nostalgists with an added sprinkle of teens.
Editors captured the crowd on Friday evening, mesmerising with a mixture of laid back and anthemic tunes. Frontman Tom Smith deliveries pitch perfect renditions of the band’s finer numbers ‘An End Has A Start’ and ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors’.
Back to the main stage on Saturday for some stomping folk, Eliza and the Bear have us singing about friends and family. Peter Hook & the Light played a packed out second stage to a much older festival crowd, some with their kids in tow. Reliving their youth with a set filled with Joy Division and New Order classics. Later on the main stage Noel Gallagher prompted deafening, jubilant sing-a-longs. With the youthful crowd bellowing out every word to Oasis classics. Noel knows everyone’s waiting for an Oasis track, but makes the crowd wait and teases from time to time. Teasing “this ones for the Oasis fans” before cheekily launching into ‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’. Having made a few anthemic tunes since parting ways with his brother, the crowd seem to enjoy the likes of ‘AKA What a Life!’ and ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ nearly as much. More Oasis hits and a bit of piss-taking of the crowd made for a joyous evening. Noel gives a nod to (The Allotment) Jack Rocks, This Feeling stage, urging the festival goers to check out the new, up and coming talent.
This Feeling offer up fresh and loud bands, bursting with raw talent and showmanship. I’m more than certain there is a future festival headliner or two amongst them. Jack Rocks stage (The Allotment) was rocking all weekend from the first to the last band and the late night DJ’s. Jack Daniels did a fantastic job with the tent from two giant Jack Daniel bottle chandeliers to great bar staff. The stage felt like the true epicenter of the festival.
Dublin lads Otherkin offered up a hyper energetic late night set getting the crowd bouncing. The Jackobins have the presence of future greatness with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude to rival any band. ‘Hasty’ is a banging summer track and should be on everyone’s playlist. Cupids are showing the makings of something special, entertaining the crowd with catchy chorus’. Baby Strange’s single ‘Friend‘ will be echoing around venues and festival fields for years to come as the band grow and climb the festival bill. Blowing the roof of Jack Rocks tent, Hello Operator have a powerful stage presence. Holy Esque seemed to have a lot of love for their own craft, both humble and passionate.
One of the highlights on a small stage for us was James Taplin & Mick Holmes, playing a mixture of blues-rock, roots and soul in the Tippling House. As the set went on the tent got busier and busier, as every passerby came in for a feel good sing-a-long. From catchy originals and left-field covers being sung back with gusto. From joking with the crowd to performing with passion, James demonstrates true showmanship.
The Hives carry on the weekend, keeping the energy flowing and the crowd singing. The band know better than most how to work a crowd, up and coming bands should take note. As the sun set on Y Not Festival, Madness got the crowd jumping with fan favourites including ‘Our House’, ‘It Must Be Love’ and ‘Baggy Trousers’.
Y Not for a medium festival shines through with food options. Stalls range from amazing locally sourced produce to festival favourites. The “Watchtower” bar in Sgt Peppers Meadows had a mini beer festival (and plenty of cider), lots of choice of beers ranging from around 3.6 percent light beers to dark heavyweights over 7 percent. Other attractions included the ever busy roller disco, dodgems, ferris wheel, swings ride and helter skelter.
Facilities – plenty of toilets around the site, but they could be emptied a little more often especially in the campsites. I noticed a lack of showers or maybe a lack of signposts for them, leaving some of the VIP paying punters unhappy. The tented stages also needed more signage outside and a few direction arrows would help newbies, as well as festival veterans after a few ales.