Upon returning home from this year’s Y Not Festival the fine folks over at Let It Happen (Who have featured my band Amber before) asked me to review the festival, which I was more than happy to do. From a flag with nothing but the word ‘Cunt’ on it, to security guards that looked like they’d never seen a mosh pit before, here’s my review of this year’s Y Not Festival.Whilst I can’t talk about every band that I saw, there are some that were so good that they definitely deserve a mention.
The very first band was the band Babe Punch. Babe Punch’s melodic guitar riffs, combined with impassioned and heavy vocals filled the crowd with energy, to the point that a mosh pit broke out almost immediately. Another band that stood out for me were Inheaven. I’m definitely going to be careful to award bands a perfect five out of five, but Inheaven were ridiculously good. The emotional, driving force of their huge sound moved the entire tent to a chaotic state that rivalled some of the bigger bands on the main stage. The ending of their set saw the front man scale the barrier and dive into the crowd, much to the dismay of the one (I repeat, one) security guard.
This leads me to take a slight detour from the reviews of the bands. Whilst all perfectly nice people (At times), I couldn’t help but feel that the security at Y Not this year were not prepared for a typical, British Indie Rock crowd. Anyone on the shoulders of another were told to get down or were otherwise ejected from the crowd, people in mosh pits were looked at with shock and some crowd surfers were handled rather aggressively. During Everything Everything’s set, my friend actually saw a guy with a flare get torn from the shoulders of his friend and pulled down onto the floor. This leads me nicely on to my next band who were Nai Harvest. Nai Harvest’s music was full of energy and they gave it all from the moment they took the stage. A few technical difficulties and evident lack of rehearsal of older material did arguably slow down the energy of the set, however the sense of occasion for every person (Being that this would likely be their last time seeing the band) made up for it.
Heading over to the main stage, it was time for Everything Everything. From the very beginning, they took their polished, refined studio sound and amplified it beyond imagination. These are truly a band to see live. Their highly technical and dramatic sound that hardly shies away from the strange or the grandeur is meant to be heard live and not on Spotify.
Then came the band I was looking forward to the most that day, The Cribs, who would have had a perfect review if not for the poor sound during their set. The band themselves were amazing, and the crowd by far one of the craziest of the weekend, however poor sound through the speakers let the band’s performance down a bit. This was made evident by frontman Ryan Jarman’s anger towards some of the sound technicians during the set.
The headliners that evening were Editors who dodged the large amounts of criticism towards them being booked as headliners by bringing huge guitars, blinding strobe lights and even flames. Marvellous stuff, innit.
The next door saw a star-studded line up of Rat Boy, Circa Waves , Catfish and The Bottlemen and Noel Gallagher. Whilst Rat Boy’s set was largely enjoyable, it was almost ruined by the sound being cut out at the end. This was due to the behaviour of the crowd and band alike, which was lead by Rat Boy’s exclamation of ‘Hey, fuck security!’. Nice guy, though, I met him beforehand. Circa Waves’s anthemic tunes really came to life in the big field of The Big Gin Stage, with ‘T-Shirt Weather’ seeing every person mount a chum’s shoulders. Catfish and The Bottlemen were without a doubt one of the more busy bands of the festival, with not enough room to take a step forward let alone mosh. There were even people leaving two sets in with tears, some stating that they were having panic attacks. In spite of this, the band themselves played a huge set, albeit missing a few hits like Red and Rango. The night then came to an end with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, who played what I consider to be the best set of the entire weekend. A perfect blend of both albums and Oasis classics culminated in a huge singalong of Don’t Look Back In Anger. I couldn’t help but sing my heart out as I was blinded by the smoke of the flares. Beautiful. I was also lucky to catch The Amazons, who were ridiculously good.Whilst not quite as eventful a line up, the Sunday of Y Not Festival still saw some incredibly impressive bands, one of the stand-outs being Vant. All I’ll say regarding Vant is that, if you haven’t seen them live before- now is the time. Do it. I did try to attend The Magic Gang, however when I went along to the stage time that the Y Not Festival website told me, it was most definitely not The Magic Gang playing. Weird. Two bands that I managed to catch on The Giant Squid stage that day were Creeper and Gnarwolves, both bands played near perfect sets, with Creeper’s unfortunately being let down by a crowd I can only describe as ‘dead’. Then came The Hives, the true highlight of the Sunday. Their set was nothing short of phenomenal, with their songs Tick, Tick Boom and Hate To Say I Told You So retaining their status as anthems all these years on. Then came the final headliners of the festival, Madness. I was very excited for Madness. Their repertoire of songs is filled with songs that can make you laugh, cry and dance. Yet, their set was completely without balance. Whilst it was great that they saved the ‘best till last’, this did mean enduring around 50 minutes of songs that most people didn’t even know. This was then followed by an encore that included a brand new song, something that doesn’t seem like the smartest move. A great band, and a great live band too- but some work needed on the structuring of the set.
In conclusion, whilst a ‘medium’ festival, Y Not’s line up was far from being ‘medium’ this year challenging the likes of Reading and Leeds and T In The Park. I highly advise going next year- it was mint.