Gig Addict Speaks To Y Not Festival Organiser Simon Mawbey

Sgt. Pepper Meadows

The gorgeous Peak District countryside becomes home to Y Not Festival, 27th-30th July 2017. If you’re keen to see up and coming acts, with some established artists thrown in for good measure at an intimate and friendly event then Y Not should be the festival on the top of your list.

Highlights on this year’s line up includes headliners The Vaccines, Stereophonics and Two Door Cinema Club, as well as Jake Bugg, Happy Mondays, Frank Turner, Clean Bandit, Maximo Park plus many more.

We got the opportunity to fire some questions off to Y Not Festival organiser, Simon Mawbey. He talks about striking a balance on the line up, supporting new talent, the festival site, night time entertainment and more…

For people who haven’t been before how would you sum up Y Not Festival?

Y Not started as something of a house party. A group of friends had a gathering of 150 people or so, mates bands played. Even at the size it is now it’s kind of retained that relaxed, care free feeling of the early days. Good music, great atmosphere and a group of people just having a good time.

Y Not Festival is a staple on our summer calendar. The line-up always seems to have a great balance of well-established acts, as well as breakthrough talent. This year is no different with the likes of Stereophonics, Happy Mondays, Feeder alongside DMA’s, Declan McKenna and Black Honey. Is it something you consciously consider when creating the Y Not line-ups?

Definitely. I think it’s really important to strike that balance, ultimately people come to Y Not to have fun, it’s no more complicated than that. So we want them to listen to some music they know and love and have a great time. Additionally, though it is important to showcase some new music and give people the chance to find their new favourite artist.

With BIMM, The Allotment and the unsigned band app, Y Not has had great support for up and coming acts on the lineup. How will you be continuing this support for these acts? How do you go about finding new, fresh talent for the main stages?

Yes, that’s always been very important to us. As I said earlier we started with mates bands, then regional, national and eventually global artists but it’s always remained important to us to showcase new and undiscovered artists. We also have close ties with BBC Introducing East Midlands and present and monthly new music showcase called Faction with Rough Trade in Nottingham so it’s definitely high up the agenda. Our band submission app is a great resource for finding new music, thousands of people apply each year and we listen through every submission and hold back a certain amount of slots for these bands each year.

With the likes of Truck, Festival No. 6, Victorious, Boardmasters etc. having the same parent company/promoter, does Y Not operate independently to them? Is it easier to get some of the bigger acts when they can be offered a number of festivals?

Yes Y Not is its own entity. We do look at how we can make synergies in terms of artist booking because it often makes sense in terms of routing for artists, but ultimately they are separate events.

The Peak District festival site is one of the most beautiful areas on the festival calendar. How did the festival come across the site?

Myself and some of the original core team grew up in the area so we were lucky enough to have the Peak District on our doorstep. It just so happens it also makes for the perfect festival setting.

What changes can people expect at this year’s festival? With the increased capacity, some stages were oversubscribed in 2016, will there be bigger indoor stages or maybe a second “outdoor” stage? Is there anything new on the site itself this year?

There will definitely be some site refinement this year, the second stage will be getting bigger and we’ve been looking at how we can make the site the most efficient and pleasant as it can be for the festival goers

Over the past few years, the festival has introduced a number of VIP and Glamping options.  Is there more demand for this year on year?

It’s something we do get asked about year on year and yes demand is high. I think it’s a nice option for people who want to do the festival thing with a few home comforts

Will Y Not continue to expand as long as the demand is there? Where do you see it going, to Reading Festival, V Festival numbers or will you try to keep the intimate feel to the event?

I think the intimate feel to the festival is part of what people enjoy, growing the event to the size of a Reading or V would take away some of that.

We like to sample at least a few of the ales at The Watchtower! Really is one of the finest ale and cider collections of any music festival. Will The Watchtower be returning this year and how did the idea come about? 

It will. It’s just something we knew there was an appetite for, people like to sample and enjoy different types of ales and ciders so we decided to put it all under one roof and it’s become a bit of a Y Not staple.

The night time entertainment is a real talking point. Anything new, bigger, better this year? Can we suggest increasing the size of the silent disco! There was a massive demand for it last year. Luckily plenty more on offer as well as the silent disco. 

The silent disco is quite a popular option. Yes we’ll be trying to expand on the night time offering, Idris Elba will be playing later on plus the return of The Neon Coconut.

What’s been your highlight of the last 11 years?

So far, Noel Gallagher last year was pretty special.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s event?

There are lots of smaller bands that I would like to try and catch, but I think Two Door Cinema Club will be a lot of fun.

Tickets: weekend pass £114.50

Y Not Festival manages to showcase the big guns of the music industry, right down to the local heroes, up and coming talent and everything in between. A few teething problems with the increased capacity, but overall a superb festival.
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