It was Friday, at last. The sun was setting over the striking hills of the Peak District. The beautiful views could not even be spoilt by our bargain, two man “beer tent” from Sports Direct, pitched at the summit of the campsite. Hello Y Not.
Then suddenly… la-da-da-da-dah, it’s D O double G, Snoop Dogg! In Matlock. Who’d have thought it? The full moon was out and the wolves were restlessly swarming the Main Stage as Snoop decided to make a fashionably late entrance with a star shaped, glittery microphone in hand. He received a spectacular reaction as he played Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.
As we sipped our gin and juice, Snoop kindly dedicated Young, Wild & Free to all his UK fans who helped lift the visa ban that almost prevented him from visiting. The rest of the set was dominated by an almost offensive amount of twerking until the rapper wrapped everything up with a rendition of Bob Marley’s Jammin’.
After Snoop there was time to explore the rest of the festival, which led to far too much fun at the roller disco with intoxicated lunatics – a terrible idea with two knee injuries.
Callum Burrows, or Saint Raymond as he is better known, took to the main stage Saturday afternoon. He exhibited solid vocals accompanied by a delightful combination of synths and tribal rhythms. Burrows is only 18 but enlivened his crowd to the same level as some of the headliners. I Want You – an earworm from the debut album Young Blood – proved particularly popular. After his performance, he tweeted “Wow @Y_Not_Festival, that was ridiculous”.
Equally ridiculous was the complexity of the improv section played by the alto saxophonist from Octofunk. We were drawn to the Xanadu Venue, where they played, after hearing a snippet from the eight piece neo-soul jazz and funk fusion band fronted by Sheffield’s Ryan Taylor. It was incredibly satisfying to see everybody, from young to old, dancing to real music.
I was excited for Johnny Marr’s performance but I found myself enjoying it about as much as the gristle in my cheeseburger.
Don Broco had the crowd wrapped around their little fingers on Saturday night as they headlined the Giant Squid stage. Everybody was jumping in the band-initiated moshpit and they persuaded dozens to crowdsurf to the front. It was their debut performance of Keep On Pushing and Nerve, tracks on their new album Automatic (read more about that in their Q&A here). Rob’s limitless charisma had crazed teenage girls falling at his feet.
Sunday started with Manchester’s light-psychedelic outfit Blossoms. These young rockers delivered a remarkable set without breaking sweat and may just have the potential to usurp the Arctic Monkeys.
After a spot of cider pong, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys took to the Main Stage. Once you got past their garish, royal blue matching suits, this swing ensemble were infectious. A young couple in the crowd became the focal point as they executed the jive to perfection and a huge conga line formed during a performance of Tequila. With so much energy and charisma – especially from the double bassist who flew about the stage without missing a beat – these guys certainly deserve their crown.
A small number of adoring fans joined us at the Quarry to watch the Ruen Brothers perform. Henry Stansall’s unique voice, teamed with rockabilly rhythms, makes for an absolute treat. The duo gave a charming performance and even enlightened their audience on their inspiration for the song Motor City – read more about that rock ‘n’ roll story in their Q&A here.
As a fan of the Smiths I was excited for Johnny Marr’s performance but I found myself enjoying it about as much as the gristle in my cheeseburger. After three songs I decided to search for something better. Luckily, I bumped into We Are The Ocean in the Giant Squid. I am not a seasoned mosher but could not help myself, this band play with so much energy.
Nick Mulvey headlining the Quarry stage was ideal to calm us down, with his subtle and dreamlike set. The atmosphere was entirely transformed and seemed as if you and Mulvey were the only ones in the room. Cucurucu was the perfect way to end the set, and the perfect way to end the festival.
Y Not Festival was at Pikehall, Derbyshire, 31 July-2 Aug. Read our interviews with Don Broco, The Sherlocks and The Ruen Brothers here