Festivals of all sizes are always a blast. Contrary to belief, bigger is not always better. Last weekend I took the trip over to Derbyshire, the county I grew up in from age 4-18, to hit up the fantastic Y Not Festival. A grassroots festival that started in a Quarry with a group of friends. It's now grown to be an award winning small festival with an amazing atmosphere and an ever growing number of big bands topping the line-up. This year was the biggest and best with The Cribs, The Horrors and The Darkness headlining the main stage and a flurry of great bands performing across another 6 stages.
Arriving at the festival you notice its small stature, like a little brother you want to look after. It feels friendly and that's what I like about it when I first touched down in the fields. The sun was peeking out from between clouds and the camping areas were filling up with a mix of young and old from all walks of life. After finding a nice spot to camp, and having found out I'd bought a palace rather than your average two man tent, I did what any normal person does when arriving at a festival does; I had a beer. The great thing about Y Not is that it has numerous bars, all holding local ales and ciders, ranging from the normal to the crazy stronger stuff. Wonderful.
With a beer in hand I headed to see where my ears took me from the noises carried not he wind. A favourite trick of mine for festivals early on in the day when you may not know all of the bands playing. Sons and Lovers at the Quarry stage delivered an on point set tracks to a packed out tent. One advantage to playing ear lie run the day on the opening afternoon of a festival. My ears then took me across the field to a noise that sounded more up my street. A heavy, glitchy guitar jolt of electrifying Dillinger Escape Plan-esque math-rock. I walk into the tent to be absolutely blown away by a 4-piece instrumental band by the name of Axes. Playing to a sweltering Giant Squid Stage tent, the relationship the four had was noticeable. TO play the stuff they were playing so seamlessly, it was undeniably breathtaking. A definite highlight of the day, if not the entire weekend.
Next up I finally got to witness Willy Moon in a live situation. Walking out with a Gretsch round his neck and accompanied by an all girl band, I couldn't help but think of Jack White and his recent penchant for an all girl band. Two songs to his high energy set though, Willy is seen just wandering around the stage sipping from a mug, giving nods to people who wave… All sound on the main stage had died. He leaves the stage. It took a good hour until normality resumed and he finished his set in torrential rain. Fair play to him though, he absolutely killed it and the crowd was not disheartened by the British Summer weather. "Yeah Yeah" went down a treat with the umbrella wielding crowd.
The weather from here on on Friday was the stuff of a romantic comedy that might see the two main characters kissing and making up in the rain ala Spiderman. I Managed to catch part of the "surprise set" from Reverend and the Makers who, to be fair to them, did get the crowd well and truly going. Headline sets at festivals are always tricky to choose between but Y Not did everyone a favour and had the tents ending earlier than the main stage. That went out the window. I squeezed into a packed Quarry Stage tent to watch Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, the act I was most looking forward to from the weekend's line-up. Pip was a force to be reckoned with, walking around the stage and completely demanding the attention of the crowd while Dan offered up recognisable beats from their back catalogue. Just as the crowd were really starting to bounce, Scroob states that we "all need to leave, they're evacuating the tent". The storm outside was righteous and for safety, we all had to leave but were told to come back 30 minutes later.
Everyone and more returned and witnessed the duo debut their new single "Stunner" to the crowd. Finishing up the set, Scroob took to the crowd and was carried around, high-riving as he went. Due to this misfortune I missed The Horrors but caught a few tracks as I made my way back through the crowd to the campsite. I finished day one at Y Not 2013 happy, with my ears ringing from a combination of beats and thunder, literally. It was a good day.