I’ve been to Y Not Festival pretty much every year for the past five years. This year I was sent to review the festival, and was anticipating the fun, relaxed, safe and well organised vibe I had been given previously. Sadly, this didn’t happen. With two of the three headliners called off due to bad weather, and the entirety of the final day cancelled, things really weren’t going to plan for the new production company, Global, who took over the festival management last year.
Whilst I’ll still be writing reviews of the few artists we did get a chance to enjoy over the Friday & Saturday, in the wake of the cancellation, I feel it’s better to voice some of the reactions from the people who feel their money was wasted after a fairly disastrous attempt at a ‘medium sized’ festival.
On the surface, Y-Not was different this year. After Count of Ten sold the company to Global, the capacity of the festival was raised from being in the 10,000s to well into the 20,000s. However, the festival remained on the same farm in Pikehall, a small village in Derbyshire. With roughly 10,000 more people on the same site – or in other words, 20,000 more feet – and a sketchy looking weather forecast, it didn’t take long for the festival to turn into a mud bath. Quite literally. And whilst yes, no-one can stop the forces of nature, it’s now the common view that Global could have done a much better job at preparing the site for the weather. In fact, they could have organised staffing, planning, training, signage and security, and maybe a couple of other things a lot better too: but I’ll try and keep this brief.
To quote one angry patron I overheard on Saturday morning, “We’re in f**king Derbyshire, it always bloody rains, where’s all the c***ing straw?!”. Strong words. Especially for the poor coffee kiosk chap who had to bare the brunt of it. Whilst this was amusing to overhear at 10am, our laughs were short lived as within 24 hours the festival was over, and we spent 3 hours of Sunday sat stationary in the car park, waiting to get out of the bottlenecked mud pit that was no match for my poor Ford Fiesta. We weren’t the only ones quite literally stuck in the mud; whilst some around us got their gas stoves back out to pass the time, others started a choir of angry car horns and a few cars even chucked on a bit of deep house, grabbed a beer and enjoyed the sunniest part of the whole weekend. You can kick the people out of the festival, but you can’t kick the festival out of the people.
We chatted to a particularly down trodden looking DMA’s before their water-logged set on Saturday. The Aussie trio were so fed up with the festival they even titled their set lists ‘Y-Bother 2017’.
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the first two days of the festival and enjoyed the artists I saw, with particular highlights going to JAWS, Jake Bugg and Mr Motivator; however, the way the festival was run was really inexcusable. Maybe my half deflated mattress on Sunday morning was a good metaphor for my thoughts on the festival. Enough air to enjoy your night’s sleep, (or the first couple of days at the festival), but not what you paid for, and kind of a pain. Yes, I enjoyed the music I saw, but the festival was a failure, so I’ve decided to leave you with a collection of some of my favourite social media moments from the year Y Not flopped.
And my personal favourite:
By Tom Cadman