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Festival Review: Y Not - Derbyshire, UK

Derbyshire’s Y Not Festival which began all the way back in 2006 has managed to carve out a bit of a niche in the UK festival circuit with its unique combination of legendary acts such as Jamiroquai and The Libertines who are billed alongside some of the most exciting young acts that Britain has to offer like Shame or The Orielles who both delivered impeccable spellbinding sets over the weekend.

Last year’s festival was disastrous with acts being cancelled left, right and centre before the entire Sunday was called off which left fans furious. With this in mind the Y Not understandably bosses took extra precautions which meant moving artists including Superfood and Bad Sounds from their main stage sets to tents earlier in the day to make sure the stage was safe for later on in the day. Although, Sunday’s headliner Jamiroquai’s euphoric set was cut short as festival bosses decided to take a ‘temporary’ break to make sure the equipment was safe because of strong winds. However; JK and the gang didn’t return to the stage with the Derbyshire festival’s Twitter account stating they refused to come back on even though they had been given the green light to do so.

This rightfully angered many fans including myself as the set was going so well and would have been the perfect way to end the weekend and JK’s voice had been on point before they got pulled but fortunately the must-see Fat White Family were on hand to headline The Giant Squid stage and even managed to play their set which they had been booked to do.

The set of the weekend by a distance had come earlier on Sunday night from Shame with the upstarts roaring through their magnificent debut album Songs Of Praise which is undoubtedly a contender for album of the year and had the crowd bursting with mosh-pits. They also treated crowd to an impressive new tune which in true Shame style still doesn’t have a name. The South London five-piece’s set felt like an unforgettable moment by a band who could easily become the voice of their generation, thanks somewhat to the infectious passion that oozes from Charlie Steen.

The Orielles provided a glorious set on the main-stage on Friday which was the perfect accompaniment for a sunny afternoon with a beer at a Festival even despite the band insisting they are too small for the main-stage and should be in a tent.  Later in the day, Circa Waves played an impressive set in the baking t-shirt weather to a huge crowd who was loving every minute of their set especially the singles from their first record which were tailormade for festivals. Similarly, on Sunday The Go! Team were a magnificent booking and songs like ‘Ladyflash’ are exactly what you want to be listening to as the sun rears its beautiful head.

On Saturday evening it was time for the charismatic Tom Grennan to headline The Quarry straight off the back of hitting the Top 5 with his debut Lighting Matches. The 23-year-old’s face was a picture throughout and you could see just how much he was loving every minute of his set. The soulful singer noted how he played the same tent a year ago to almost nobody at 1pm and know he’s headlining it. Festival bosses tried to cut him off two songs early for going over his curfew which led to Grennan encouraging thousands to boo the Y Not bosses who swiftly gave in and let him play ‘Something In The Water’ followed by a mass-sing-along to the glorious ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’.

Saturday also provided a delicious set from Birmingham’s Jaws who sounded as tight as it gets thanks to years of touring and they played to a packed out Giant Squid of loving fans accompanied with flares who lapped up their half an hour slot which was crammed with hits like ‘Be Slowly’, ‘Surround You’ and the stunning ‘Stay In’.

Catfish & The Bottlemen rode on to the main-stage for their headline set to the tune of Helter Skelter which set the tone for their energetic show which was at a pushed back time due to the weather. The stormy weather didn’t halt the Llandudno lads from getting undeniably the biggest crowd of the weekend as well as the grandest reception from the crowd who defiantly sang the words of every single song back proudly to Van McCann. They might not be the best band in the world or be as acclaimed as the other headliners but you can’t deny Van McCann’s showmanship and ability to put on a rock ‘n’ roll show.

The Libertines were on top form on Friday evening for their headline set and songs like ‘Gunga Din’ and ‘You’re My Waterloo’ were greeted like songs from ‘Up The Bracket’ from the younger adoring festival crowd. There were no glitches like you might expect from a Libertines set and was a surprisingly smooth set full of classics and the boys looked to be enjoying every second of this new chapter in their life.

Overall, the weekend was a rousing success with inspired bookings such as which incorporated acts from across generations providing something for everyone and gave the festival a family-friendly feel without losing a carnival style atmosphere. Tickets for next year’s festival are already on sale with a limited number on sale for just £99.50 here.