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Festival Coverage: Y-Not 2015 - Friday

  • Published in Live

With Friday morning comes the inevitable sound of a main-stage sound-check, the repetitious “One-Two, One-Two” and the seemingly perpetual thud of a bass drum being mic-ed up. In normal circumstances this would be a horrific way to the start the day, but with the beating sun and the prospect of a whole day of class acts proving too much to resist, we start the day early with questionable bacon and less questionable beers.

Honeyblood are the first band to really pique our interest that day, and like the hundreds of punters who seem to flock towards the main-stage thanks to the band's biting indie-pop crunch. Treating us to a handful of new tracks ('Love Is A Disease', 'Babes Never Die') as well as fan favourites, the Scottish duo manage an impressive set despite the early hour. Next up, The Lancashire Hotpots provide a burgeoning crowd with a handful of tracks ode to their love of Lancashire and its culture. With a different take on the four (now five) elements , 'Bitter, Cider, Lager, Ale, Stout' enjoys a raucous singalong, whilst their sense of humour runs riot through tracks such as 'Chippy Tea' and their breakout single 'He Turned Emo' keeping things suitably silly.

Following a falafel fuelled lunch, we return to the main-stage to catch flavour of the moment, Slaves who unfortunately seem a little dwarfed by the size of the stage. That said however, their pull is evident, and those young enough to have shaken off last night's hangovers proceed to (hopefully metaphorically) lose their shit. In true Slaves' style, the band wax lyrical about biscuits and manta-rays, and though they fall short of our personal expectations, something possibly to do with the open-air setting, several people over the weekend claim it to be a definite highlight.

If Slaves fell slightly short of expectations, Reverend and the Makers don't even attempt the jump. Perhaps more suited to a Thursday slot, rather than mid-evening on a Friday, their sound is, at best, muddy, and singer Jon McClure's vocals are to be frank, terrible. Those closer to the stage are fortunately spared the worst of it, though for anyone stood (or sat as the case may be) behind the sound-desk, it really is painful. Whilst we always try and find at least something positive in a set, it's made difficult by a band who seem only to be going through the motions, clinging on to the popularity garnered from their early singles.

Luckily however, Reverend and the Makers are the only band of the entire weekend which warrant such animosity, so put-out but not perturbed, we return to the tent to restock on the festival necessities before heading out once again to The Quarry Stage to catch Gainsville's ska-punk royalty, Less Than Jake. With an undeniable punk energy that makes up for the sound-quality outside of the tent, the band tear through a host of their hits including 'Nervous in the Alley' and 'The Science of Selling Yourself Short'. Having seen the band on numerous occasions, they do seem to benefit more from playing inside a venue, but that shouldn't detract from one of the most energetic performances of the weekend, and for those that opt not to see Snoop Dogg on the main-stage, they provide a fantastic close to the first full day. With the site being as small as it is however, we manage to catch half of Less Than Jake's set, before making the pilgrimage to the main-stage to pray at Snoop's alter.

Though arriving 15 minutes late, and the fact he almost seems to be reading from an auto-cue in between tracks,(“Matlock, UK!”) it's the kind of once-in-a-lifetime set that only a festival can offer. Complete with a duo of dancers who are ultimately responsible for a hundred collective sexual awakenings from the pre-pubescent males in attendance, his set is built around a handful of his own material, tributes to fallen friends Tupac and Biggie Smalls, as well as a number of cheesy yet resplendent covers. It matters not that he seems to be miming for a good portion of the set, and when the opening of 'Gin 'n' Juice' pounds out of the PA, every spliff being smoked is lifted high in to the air. Chances are we'll never get to see Snoop again, chances are we wouldn't if we were given the opportunity, but the fact remains that his set for all its foibles, will go down as one of the weekend's most memorable.

Clearly too old for the post-headliner shenanigans that the festival has to offer, we make our way back to the tent for another early(ish) night, safe in the knowledge that even though much gin has been drank, we're likely to feel far sharper than those who flocked to the bass-heavy Octopuses Garden for some late-night skanking.

You can read our review of Thursday evening here.


Festival Coverage: Y-Not 2015 - The First Evening

  • Published in Live

There's something uniquely liberating about the first evening of a festival; inhibitions are cast off and comedowns are yet to set in; respective sites aren't yet sullied by beer cans and half-eaten burgers, and the toilets aren't something you enter at your own risk. It's a rare twelve hour window where people still look and smell their best and there's no-one wandering around pallid and sweaty, bedecked in a sleeping bag whilst trying to shake off last night's Jager haze. Couple this with the rural idyll of Pikehall in the beautiful Peak District, not to mention a couple of quality opening bands, and Thursday's at Y-Not Festival are an absolute winner.

With tent successfully pitched and armed with a bottle of gin and tonic, we decide to explore this year's site, heading roughly in the direction of the Quarry stage for Thursday night headliners, Ash. Though little has changed in terms of the size of the festival, its scope has increased noticeably since last year, with The Octopuses Garden offering more in the way of stalls and small stages. With nothing on offer yet however, we head to The Quarry and arriving to an already heaving tent, decide to watch from the periphery, perched on the side of a giant sea turtle.

Providing us with a 15 song strong set, they play what proves to be one of the longer sets of the weekend, taking in tracks from across their career and most likely turning on host of younger punters on to the joys of their pre-'Burn Baby Burn' material. Folk-punker Beans on Toast meanders past at one point, posing for a photograph with a couple before asking if they had any weed, perfectly epitomising the type of festival Y-Not is - the kind where bands can wander around freely without being swamped with autograph requests, comfortable enough to ask strangers for a smoke. Ash finish up with an excellent double-header of 'Girl From Mars' and the aforementioned 'Burn Baby Burn', closing the first night of the festival in fantastic style. Making our way back to the tent it's clear that people are already in well in to the spirit of things; The Octopuses Garden now throbbing with good vibes and basslines whilst Sgt Peppers Meadow hums with sound of bumper cars and a rollerdisco. We opt for an early night however, knowing full well that a clear head will serve us far better tomorrow than a dry mouth and bleary eyes.

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