Summer festival season is gearing back up, it’s that time of year where we abandon city skyscrapers and trek to the countryside for an extended weekend of partying in the fields and singing our lungs out to our favourite bands, gathered with our nearest and dearest. In July, Derbyshire’s idyllic Y Not Festival returns – occupying the weekend of 25th-28th of July – the joys of shared experience will be bolstered by an action-packed programme of live music, stand up comedy, fairground fun and all kinds of entertaining extras (including Hip Hop karaoke and a drag-circus-burlesque show).
Not only is this year’s billing the most enticing it has been in years, the festival also has devoted its efforts to making 2019’s edition more sustainable and environmentally-aware. Confirming the initiation of a new campaign – ‘Keep the Peaks Green’ – Y Not aims to cut down on plastic, boost recycling and reduce its landfill waste. The festival offers a number of ways in which ticket holders and vendors can help in this task: 1, hand in a bag of rubbish and you’ll be reimbursed with a tenner. 2, single use plastics are strictly prohibited for sale. 3, a new camping zone is to be introduced to the site, Pitch Village will provide punters with a tent, put it for you and take it down when you leave, meaning that you have the option to leave home without packing that pesky nylon dome. Good, right?
Following the successful re-location of Y Not to Aston Hill Farm, this year’s shindig will once again benefit from the site’s easy access routes, panoramic sightlines, short walking distance from car to festival, camp to arena, and well-mapped staging.
Now onto the music. The bill is packed with big hitters from the indie and alternative world; there’s some incredible company beyond the household names too, rest assured there’ll be no hanging about with spare time on your hands with a line up this tantalizing. The top draw headliners include Elbow, Two Door Cinema Club and Foals (with White Lies opening the event on the Thursday). A host of stellar up-and-comers grace every stage across the board, from indie pop activists Anteros to abrasive punks The Murder Capital, and back round again to calypso darlings Cassia, there are too many highlights to list singularly. So, instead, we’re going to focus on a few of the artists that deserve a raised holler. Check out our hit list below, and we do hope that you enjoy your festival journey in whatever form it may take.
October Drift // Friday – The Giant Squid
Fresh from supporting Noel Gallagher, Red Rum Club and Editors, this Somerset four are growing in intensity with every show they play. Well seasoned in the art of performance, an October Drift set is always impossible to pindown. The band’s energy is relentless, they play with a fire in their bellies and each member is as fearless as they come (don’t be alarmed if you see the frontman dismount the stage and ascend a lofty beam or join the audience in united action). The music is fast, loud and abrasive but also mellow, perceptive and very much embracing, they may dart about the stage in a flurry but what really sticks is the emotional core of the lyrics and the delivery. A really delightful band to experience in any form.
Lion // Friday – The Giant Squid
A singer-songwriter from the New Forest, Lion is Beth Lowen. The music is primed with a sense of defiance and resilience, a tussle between temptation and collapse, sensuality and guardedness. Lion is an interesting artist; her songs are sometimes beautiful, sometimes roaring ragers, sometimes groovy hipshakers. Knowing the breadth of music Lion has released so far, the live set will most likely offer balance and dramatically-shifting tempos. Definitely a performance to earmark in your schedule.
Pip Blom // Saturday – The Quarry
A band from the Netherlands, titled after chief singer, songwriter and guitarist Pip Blom. Their fearless leader, Pip has created a space for openness and blistering musicality. The group have very recently released their debut album, choc full of sharp melody, ripping chords and fantastically playful vocals. It’s a dream to hear wherever you are – and the live show is even more necessary. Fun energy buzzes alongside frantic raucous and positively invigorating music. We say, Pip Blom’s set is a sure must.
Feet // Saturday – The Giant Squid
Off kilter, engrossingly merry and undeniably memorable, Feet are a combination of Britpop, psych, punk and art. Guitar music is once more unpredictable and beautiful, songs like ‘English Weather’ and ‘Petty Thieving’ assert provocative commentary with bristling melodics driving the band’s intent, but also with a wacky video here and an obtuse lyric there it clarifies the band’s lack of pretence. Feet’s music isn’t salacious, it’s a celebration of identity and inventiveness. They recall Blur but in a way if they went rogue and decided to dabble in Devo’s world. A set that promises highs, the only low will be the emptiness that extends when Feet leave the stage.
Glass Caves // Saturday – The Saloon Bar
The Yorkshire group’s soaring, cinematic indie is always best served live. Altogether with a bunch of newly written hits and sublime classics, Glass Caves have mood and style in the bag but take it that extra step towards unforgettable with emotively delivered lyrics and passionate performance. This will be a busy set, going off the dedication we usually see surrounding any Glass Caves show. The band perform big too, and the energy is catching, it’s a proper hands-in-the-air, sing along, sway fest. Get down early for this one.
Talkboy // Saturday – The Saloon Bar
A rare occasion to watch Leeds’ rising newbies Talkboy play an acoustic show. Even in a full arrangement you hear what makes this band tick: hand-on-heart lyricism, textured vocals, multi-layered harmonies and precision songcraft. Acoustically these elements become even more present and emotionally rewarding. We love this band. We can’t ignore that. And we think you will too. An unbeatable start to kick off Saturday’s adventures.
Nile Marr // Sunday – The Saloon Bar
After the success of Man Made, Nile Marr took some time off to work on other projects but kept music close. In 2019, he’s returned with new music and a new live show, although now presented under his own birth name the music is no less passionate or personal. Coming off a period of touring and travelling the world playing guitar in Hans Zimmer’s live band, Marr was inspired to get the band back together and write more music. Inspired by his homecoming to Manchester, the songs offer new insights and developments. A unique performance for its the only way you can hear the new music (the new releases haven’t made it online just yet), so there’s no excuse to miss this.
Lazy Day // Sunday – The Saloon Bar
The London band’s songwriting is exemplary, while the three primary musicians (Beni Evans, Liam Hoflay and Kris Lavin) hold down the rhythm and melody sections like pros, the total genius of Tilly Scantlebury’s writing permeates every inch of Lazy Day’s affecting artistry. From the cool vocals to the deeply resonant arrangements, the band sound effortless, raw, and so in the moment – a complete mastery of inflection, tone and impact. A joy to listen to on record and presumably an even bigger thrill to hear live. Think Lucy Dacus backed by The Big Moon. We’ll be down the front instantly.
Y Not Festival takes place on 25th-28th July in Derbyshire’s Pikehall, tickets are on sale now and are priced at £139.50 +fees. Tickets can be purchased here.
Photo Credit: Carolina Faruolo