Y Not Festival was born after a house party, planned by festival organiser Ralph Broadbent, had to be moved at the very last minute because his parents decided not to go away.
Ralph took his bands, friends, a gazebo and a portaloo to an abandoned quarry in Derbyshire, the result: ‘Big Gin Fest’ (as it was known then).
Over the past ten years Y Not has evolved from an over spilled house party into a festival that exudes character with so much to offer.
Now hosted at Pike Hall, for one weekend a year Y Not Festival turns the normally subdued Derbyshire Dales into 72 hours of great music, campsite parties and a whole host of things to ensure that sleep is just an afterthought.
Y Not now boasts four stages, dance tents, a reggae tent and various other bars and shacks with pop up acts and secret sets.
While some of the bands towards the top of the bill may be good for satisfying bleary-eyed nostalgia late into the night (Andrew WK and the Reel Big Fish will surely provide something for muddy festival revellers to hug each other and jump around to) – more solid additions to the line-up defiantly lie further down.
Hip-hop royalty De La Soul and the London post-punk rockers White Lies (having both just played Glastonbury) are among the better established ‘big hitters’, but it’s some of the new kids on the block that are really getting us excited. Blackpool’s new-wave trio Darlia, Brit-pop revivers Superfood and Brighton’s surf-psychers The Wytches are some of the notable highlights. Y Not favourites: Swim Deep are back for the second year too (check out the full line up here).
Like many independent festivals, Y Not provides the perfect platform for new bands to be inducted on to the festival scene – the Allotment is a stage dedicated entirely to unsigned acts – and hosts a whole weekends worth of new music – shortlisted by the organisers and voted for by the public.
But aside from the bands the thing that has never failed to impress in previous years is all the little extras this festival has to discover.
There are no pints of Fosters or Strongbow at Y Not, instead a handful of beer tents scattered across the site serving local brew beers, ales and ciders, straight from the barrel – the 9% moonshine a must try.
Last year a campsite rumour, started by the festival organisers, alerted Y Notters to a ‘secret’ stage that would host an unannounced line up – on the second day a large wooden wardrobe at the back of the one of the beer tents – that could easily have been overlooked as a piece of quirky festival décor – was opened up to reveal an undercover passage to a miniature indoor arena, completely sealed off from the rest of the site – blowing the minds of many of those propping up the bar who had perhaps had a few too many moonshines.
In it’s short lifetime Y Not has already set the bar so high – it’s obvious this is a festival that cares about the people – and although it has grown year on year still makes every effort to maintain that intimate feel. With fresh, new additions to the site every year, we can’t wait to see what Y Not 2014 has in store this time.
Will De Nardo