It feels like the gods are against the organisers of Y Not Festival. After torrential rain and high winds forced them to end last year’s festivities a day early, the team behind the Derbyshire festival would have been hoping for an easier ride in 2018.
It did appear to be smooth sailing at first, with blazing heat and bright sunshine welcoming early arrivers to a new site at Aston Hill Farm, adjacent to the old location, on the evening of Thursday 26 July.
Sheffield’s Reverend and the Makers put in a typically raucous performance that evening, before Razorlight took the crowd back to the noughties with a headline set filled with their biggest hits.
The new larger site was certainly an improvement for the festival, allowing easier access for pedestrians and vehicles, and the new and improved main stage was an impressive site.
Friday kicked off with The Orielles for Forge Press, as the budding Halifax band did a great job of captivating the main stage crowd despite their self-confessed small size. After impressive sets from indie outfits The Sherlocks and Circa Waves, Welsh stalwarts Manic Street Preachers took to the stage to deliver a career spanning set before The Libertines ended the first full day in their usual frenzied style.
Unfortunately, despite the weeks of sun prior to the weekend of the festival, the heavens re-opened on Saturday, wreaking havoc on scheduling. Early main stage acts were moved to tents or pushed back as the high winds and rain made for unsafe conditions. Even the move to new campsites couldn’t prevent a few loose tents from flying off into neighbouring fields.
Nevertheless, the festival organisers had clearly learned from last year’s shortcomings and the music continued. Sheffield’s RedFaces packed out a tent rather than the main stage, but delivered a performance just as strong as their previous weekend’s Tramlines set. The Amazons then finally took to the main stage after some intense mopping from festival staff, before Spector’s set in the small The Giant Squid tent surpassed all expectations to earn itself the prestigious accolade as a Forge Press festival highlight.
Last up on Saturday were Catfish and the Bottlemen, returning to the festival as headliners two years on from their last appearance at Y Not. Despite not having released any more music since their previous slot, the band has clearly come on leaps and bounds since they warmed up for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in 2016. If there were any doubts over whether Catfish were worthy of this headline slot, they were quashed within minutes of taking to the stage.
Similar adjustments were made to set times on the Sunday, yet very few acts had their sets called off, a testament to the festival’s new contingency plans.
Bad Sounds, Caro and The Wombats were all in high spirits despite the poor weather, and Peace delivered a fine headline performance on The Quarry stage, even though their set was cut short.
The weather did have one final shot at the festival, with showers and high winds causing Sunday headliners Jamiroquai to pause and then cancel their performance mid-set, much to the disappointment of many loyal fans.
However, considering the adverse conditions once again thrust upon them, the organisers of Y Not can only be commended for their resilience over the course of the weekend. Had it not been for the extra precautions taken, this year’s festival could well have been a washout similar to 2017’s disaster.
This was not the case, and the majority of the 30,000 strong crowd will have gone home thoroughly pleased with their weekend of music in the Peaks.