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Festival Coverage: Y-Not 2015 - Sunday

  • Published in Live

Though Sunday starts much like Saturday, an overcast gloom shrouding the festival site, the clouds soon dissipate and we find ourselves sticky with sun-cream and sweat and in front of the Main Stage early in order to catch Bedforshire's CC Smugglers, a six-piece band who make “original music from nostalgic influences”. They may not be our usual fare, and had we caught them in a different environment our opinions might be somewhat different, but for an opening, their swing/jazz/blues combination makes for a gentle beginning to the final day. That doesn't mean to say that the band lack any energy mind you, they clearly thrive on a sense of traditional band camaraderie, and though they're in no way unique, they're delightfully inoffensive and prove danceable enough to get a few pockets of the early crowd jiving.

Buzz-band Blossoms are next up, and following a hasty half hour taking down the tent we return to the Main Stage with the niggling feeling that reality soon beckons and work will rear its ugly head. Somewhat fitting then, that the band hail from our home-town and serve as an accidental reminder that there is a world outside of the festival bubble. A shame, really. Unfortunately whilst the band are one of Stockport's most-talked about acts, their set leaves something to be desired; elements of lite-psych are interspersed with '60s pop melodies and sleazy guitar lines, and whilst no-one can argue against their clear musicality, no-one can argue about their lack of originality, either.

Over to the Quarry for a final time this year, we catch the new iteration of Solemn Sun. Formerly known as Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, the band gave their sound a make-over last year and have left behind their folky musings in favour of something heavier, darker and a hell of a lot different. Having seen the early iteration of the band support last year's headliner Frank Turner the change is immediately obvious, both in band and crowd. The folk punk of previous releases completely done away with, the set does feel a little flat after several tracks, but one can't begrudge a band for a change in direction and ultimately they'll probably fair better under this guise than their previous.

Back over at the Main Stage, Y-Not faithfuls King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys provide a much larger crowd with the day's second helping of swing, jazz and blues, keeping everyone dancing despite the heat, whilst neo-folk artist Rhodes brings the temperature back down with his chilly and atmospheric compositions.

As evening sets in, so does the heavy heart knowing full well this will be our last festival of the year, fortunately Augustines are on hand to boost spirits if only temporarily, and though their set feels somewhat short (six tracks in 45 minutes) tracks like 'Book of James' and 'Nothing to Lose But Your Head' seem as if they were written purely to be played tonight. Having seen the band previously, on an albeit much smaller stage, my expectations were raised fairly high, but with the band's most recent material seeing them foray in to the realms of stadium rock, it seems only fitting that they've graduated from a small tent at Leeds Festival to the much larger Main Stage here at Y-Not.

Arguably however, it's the double-header of Johnny Marr & Primal Scream that people have been most excited for over the weekend, and their heading of the final evening serves as reminder as to just how much organisers have pulled out all the stops for this year's tenth anniversary celebrations.

The former takes to the stage to huge applause, launching immediately in to 'The Right Thing Right' before the first Smiths cover of the evening appears in the form of 'Panic', and though the vocals might not be as unmistakable as Morrissey's, there's still something about Marr's that suit the jangle of guitar perfectly. Others come in the form of The Crickets' much-covered 'I Fought the Law' and Electronic's 'Getting Away With It', but it's the excellent closing track of 'There is A Light That Never Goes Out' that provides revellers with yet another classic festival moment.

With evening falling and everyone in high spirits, it's of little surprise that Primal Scream, like Basement Jaxx yesterday, perpetuate a party vibe that's difficult to shake off long after we've left. That said, their set is backboned by material from 2000s XTRMNTR, arguably the point the band's narratives became more politicised. Fitting then, given UK's current political climate but it's the likes of 'Rocks' and 'Country Girl' which provide the loudest sing-alongs of the day and perhaps even the festival, giving the most fair-weather fans something to dance to.

It's been eleven years since the first iteration of the festival, and ten years since it was opened to the public, and in that time it's progressed from an overspill of a house-party in to what is probably the UK's best small-to-medium sized festival. It may not have the same size headliners as the likes of Reading and Leeds or Glastonbury, but it has a special kind of allure that makes it feel both boutique and bigger than it actually is. And though you may not be familiar with every band you see, you can guarantee that you'll find at least one band you go home loving.

Until next time Y-Not, providing, of course, you'll still have us.


Festival Preview: Y-Not Festival 2015

  • Published in Live

Though now perched precariously atop a hill in Pikehall Derbyshire, Y-Not started life as a modest gathering of sixth formers in a quarry. Now playing host to thousands of punters annually, as well as the hundreds of bands which have graced its stages, Y-Not (along with sister site 2000 trees) has arguably gone on to become one of the best medium-sized festivals on the calendar.

It's been ten years this year since the fateful weekend in a quarry, and in order to celebrate, this year's line-up seeks to outdo anything the organisers have done thus far. With bands such as Augustines, Honeyblood and Jaws all joining the likes of Snoop Dogg, Basement Jaxx and Primal Scream who are headlining, it's clear that the festival isn't just indie-centric as many of their medium-sized contemporaries are; the Giant Squid stage in particular playing host to a burgeoning number of metal and post-hardcore acts like Pulled Apart By Horses, whilst the Allotment (previously hosting the likes of last year's Sunday headliner Frank Turner) offers those bands who are just starting out the chance to shine.

Like most festivals however, the music might be the main focus, but it isn't the be all and end all. The huge vistas on offer of the surrounding Peak District make for an imposing scene from which to enjoy the plethora of artisan food and drinks on offer, whilst the tongue in cheek tropicana of the Mussel Beach cocktail bar provides a welcome break from the gallons of beer inevitably being swilled.

Though ten years may have passed since the festival's very first iteration, it still manages to retain a definite feeling of intimacy, especially when compared to its larger, and less fiercely independent counterparts; a rare quality in an age where just about every festival stage is sponsored by one beverage or another. Thankfully this feeling of independence is something which bleeds through from the festival's ethos and in to its crowds, allowing for a wholly diverse, and utterly irresistible weekend away from the posturing and Instagramming that plagues other events. A perfect way to spend the last weekend of July.

This year's Y-Not Festival falls on the 31st July to the 2nd of August. Tickets for which can be bought here.

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