Live Review: Y Not Festival 2018

Y Not Festival holds a special place on the live music circuit. Few festivals combine the talent of tomorrow with the legends of yesterday quite like them which is why, year on year the festival grows both in capacity, and in stature. Following on from the disaster that was 2017, it was incredibly unfortunate that poor weather hit the Pikehall site yet again. Despite that though, the festival was incredibly well organised and credit must go to all the organisers for keeping all festival attendees and artists safe in very dangerous weather and making it a wonderful weekend. Here are some of our weekend highlights and ratings for you to relive the festival.

“Bang Bang Romeo step it up a notch to kick off the weekend in style”

Arriving on Thursday night at festivals often signals an evening of heavy drinking followed by a long night of doing not much. At Y Not though – they filled their main stage and more importantly, The Allotment stage with some of the best talent in the UK right now. We kicked off our evening with Mint (HHH) who played to a belting crowd and smashed through their set of indie bangers. With Hypoallergenic and Wonderland the highlights, the Y Not crowd were treated to an on point set from a band that can only get better.

Razorlight (HHH) sounded more in form than on previous outings and would have provided our entertainment for the entire evening had Bang Bang Romeo (HHHH) not being headlining our favourite second stage. Having seen them smash Tramlines the weekend before we knew exactly what to expect, but the guys really raised it a level to prove why they’re worthy of headlining much bigger stages in years to come.

“Main Stage dominates proceedings with best Friday lineup in the UK this year”

Whilst we normally do stick to the smaller stages, discovering some of the finest talent about; it was hard to deny the quality of the Friday lineup on main stage at this year’s Y Not. The Sherlocks (HHHH) are about as refined as you can get for an indie rock band right now. Getting their Live for the Moment album played to a tee, they even treated fans to a brand new track signalling a bright start for the Sheffield band’s next chapter.

Circa Waves (HHH) are probably one of the finest bands in the UK when it comes to upscaling their studio tracks to the live stage. They always sound bigger, better and more composed live and once again their set did not fail to impress. Their Different Creatures cycle is on it’s last legs now but still a great watch all the same. Manic Street Preachers (HHH) were, as ever professional on stage and despite playing to a crowd much younger than their typical audience, delivered a stunning set of greatest hits blended in with their new record.

One band who are back better than ever following the small blip of losing their front man, is Mallory Knox (HHHHH) who delivered one of the sets of the weekend in their new form. First single Black Holes impressed and the new versions of Ghost in the Mirror and Beggars signalled a fresh start for the band. Closing the night were The Libertines (HHHH) with a huge headline set. With doubts over Pete Doherty’s health and fitness prior to the show, the honed band delivered a fine set closing with crowd pleaser I Get Along. 

“Weather can’t stop the fun with Sheafs stealing the show on windy Peak District Saturday”

It was an incredibly slow start to the day with the arena being delayed and many opting to take shelter in their tents before the third day kicked off. There was little rest though for us as we headed to The Quarry to witness something incredibly special as Sheafs (HHHHH) hit the stage to a packed out crowd (albeit largely due to the weather) and destroyed the festival’s second stage. The band are on somewhat of a catastrophic rise right now and their massive singles Mind Pollution and Shock Machine spelled an end to the bad mood and they truly announced themselves as one of the bands to watch right now.

From SHEAFS to Dead Royalties (HHHH), Y Not Festival had come alive by about 3pm. The post-punk band from Bristol brought the party to The Allotment and although we’d not heard of the band before seeing them, we knew all about them by the time we left the arena that day. The band seemed like one that was yet to make a real impact on the circuit, largely stuck in the locality so playing this festival opened them up to the masses and having our ears hear them for the first time, we’re sure to plug anything that comes from them. Surprise set of the day by far!

Other day highlights came from Kaiser Chiefs (HHHH) and The Amazons (HHH), but with Catfish and the Bottlemen (HH) failing to impress, the evening well and truly belonged to The Allotment and Himalayas (HHHH) and Jordan Allen (HHHH). 

All the way from Wales, Himalayas are a band I’ve been wanting to see for some time. Their huge track Thank God I’m Not You reached our Top 40 Singles of 2017 and they did not disappoint on the live stage. New single If I Tell You was electric and everyone in the tent watching, felt a real sense of excitement watching the band destroy their set. Lead singer Joseph Williams was exceptional on the mic; this will be a festival set that’ll stick with me for some time. Following was always going to be difficult, but if there’s one man that can follow anybody it’s Jordan Allen.

Ripping through a set of old and new, Jordan and his band tore the roof off the This Feeling stage. New tracks Synchronised and Half Live Lover stood out but as always R.O.S.I.E and Helter Skelter stole the show. With an extra 15 minutes added onto their set, they looked at home on the Y Not stage and there were few sets that topped it all weekend. Big, big 2018 and beyond ahead for this band!

“Final day ruined by the weather but Rosborough provides a ray of sunshine”

Music festivals are made for seeing your favourite artists play their greatest hits to adoring fans. FACT. But it’s also true that festivals provide the perfect place to find your next favourite artist and on the final day of Y Not, we did just that.

We kicked off the day with a great set from Lacey (HHH) who despite the poor turnout due to the weather clearing most of the site off home, they rattled through their biggest tracks, Hoax the standout, before playing a couple of newer tracks to get us all excited for what’s to come. At 4:30, Tom Walker (HHH) hit the stage and whilst being note perfect throughout, there was always a sense of, “will you just play Leave a Light On” and let us go home. Several did in fact leave after that set (including us) to beat the traffic and escape the terrible weather the Peak District had lay on for us!

The set of the day, and perhaps even the weekend though came from Irish solo artist Rosborough (HHHHH+) who, with every song, left me in total awe of his vocal and stage presence. Never in the history of festival going, have I been so surprised and amazed at an artist as I was with Rosborough and it was a genuine pleasure to witness the set. Another Lesson, and Fall to Earth were tracks that stuck with me so it was a delight to find that Spotify has both in his current library! The set had everything from stunning vocals, to composed guitars and an excellent use of soundscaping and drums, all combining into nothing short of a live work of art. We will be keeping a very, very close eye on Rosborough and the upcoming album and urge you all to go and listen right now to this incredible talent.

Y Not Festival you were wonderful, see you in 2019!

Photo Credit: Joe Taysom
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