In the summer of Britain’s longest heatwave for 40 years, all the signs were good for avoiding a repeat of the rain-soaked “pulling of the plug” on last year’s Y Not Festival.
The first day welcomed everyone in with a false sense of security, with fans who had been drenched last year daring to dream of a sun-kissed weekender. In typical British festival fashion, this was not to be the case, as the Saturday saw biblical rains and raging winds tear their way through all of those last minute £20 tents, bought at the local supermarket.
Speaking to some fans who had been at last year’s wet ‘n wild Y Not, this year’s effort was miles better. It was easy to see why, when Razorlight surprised a subdued early-bird Thursday crowd with their energy and the quality of the divisive Johnny Borrell’s voice.
The Friday had a line-up for Indie fans to die for. Upcoming acts such as Anteros and The Orielles played The Quarry and Main Stage respectively, impressing crowds with their effortless style. Many were left wondering how Anteros’ Laura Hayden carries out her frontwoman duties in the way she does, feeling knackered watching her skipping and jumping through a great set.
The Libertines were the gem in Y Not’s crowd this year. Modern legends of British Rock, they are viewed by many as a band that never reached the heights that their talent promised and offstage antics refused. Their set was chaotic, rowdy and full of singalong moments, with Pete ‘n Carl hugging and bashing into one another and urging the crowd to follow.
The Y Not faithful were put through their paces here. Mr Doherty could be seen backstage behind the wheel of a golf buggy, Jack Daniels as his number one passenger. If that isn’t celebratory of a solid set, then what is?
Plenty of smaller acts won over a new group of fans, this weekend. Whenyoung, hailing from Limerick, played The Giant Squid tent, and played it very VERY well.
Lead singer Aoife Power really lives up to her name, and provided the gloss to a band that sounded exactly as if someone had played the band straight off Spotify. An amazing cover of The Cranberries’ Dreams wrapped up an amazing set. Playing just before them, came Yassassin. They have a depth to their sound that mirrors that of Warpaint, cut with a touch more attitude. Tom Grennan’s set in The Quarry pulled a decent crowd, and his set convinced many that he will live up to expectations to become a headliner one day. He has a distinct voice that definitely marks him as one of the hottest acts in the UK right now.
Beans On Toast packed out the same tent for his set, with every word screamed back at him. It warms the soul to hear the witticisms within these tunes: a true antidote to the daily grind.
Although Y Not organisers must be cursing the weather and wondering where the sun was at, this was a great weekend. Many revellers had done enough revelling by Sunday and decided to pack up and head home to their creature comforts. Jamiroquai sadly did the same, calling things a day after a rain-induced break midway through his headline slot.
Efforts such as moving the festival to a new site definitely raised this wonderful festival from the ghosts of last year. But, what can you do to beat nature? Not a lot. Some delayed sets and change of venue for certain bands were small bumps in an otherwise smooth (if not, soaked!) road.
Y Not will grow and grow – that is for sure!