Review: Y-Not Festival, Pikehall

Picture by Tarquin Clark

By Tim Horwood: Now in its ninth year, Derbyshire’s very own Y-Not Festival, set in the rolling hills around Pikehall, opened as the Heavens did too, threatening to dampen thousands of campers’ spirits.

But, what’s a UK festival without a little adverse weather now and then? An eclectic mix of music, comedy, fairground rides and roller skating, contributed to making 2014 yet another successful year for the event.

One of the biggest names in its history, Dizzee Rascal, headlined on the Saturday night, but Y-Not is also an opportunity to showcase new talent, aptly with Derbyshire’s own Cammie Robinson opening the weekend with a performance on The Quarry, the second stage.

Friday’s Main Stage saw lively performances, as the rain took a respite, by Spector and Razorlight, followed by headliners White Lies. For me, though, the day belonged to Reel Big Fish, headlining the aforementioned Quarry, with a typically fun set.

The driving rain of Saturday began to turn the site into a mud bath, although credit to the Y-Not organisers for improving the layout of the site this year, managing it well, and keeping proceedings flowing nicely.

Never underestimate the British Summer, though….the sun shone through mid-afternoon, just as the entertaining Beans on Toast took to the stage. Back on the main stage, nineties band Shed Seven united the generations with a typically reliable show. They were followed by indie stalwarts The Fratellis and British Sea Power, before Dizzee Rascal sent the whole festival bonkers with a high energy and laser-strewn spectacle.

The best of the weather seemed to be saved for Sunday. Despite a few sore heads from the night before, the crowds were out in force, to welcome the likes of Newton Faulkner, Palma Violets, De La Soul and the brilliant Frank Turner, closing the event.

I would like to see more, local artists appearing at the festival, but special mention should be given to Derby rockers, LostAlone, and their brilliant show towards the end of Sunday. As with Cammie, these guys make the county proud.

So, Y-Not was a great festival once again, and there is so much more than just the music. It should be noted that some local companies get exposure too, such as Bakewell Bakery. Plenty for the kids too, though seemingly fewer art and craft-orientated attractions as previous years, but the usual hula hooping, some walking pet animal balloons, and the aforementioned and hugely successful roller disco.

Roll on next year and the tenth anniversary….it promises to be something very special.

Tim Horwood

Pictures by Tarquin Clark