Y Not Festival 2015


Y Not Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in style with an impressive line up that included Snoop Dogg, Primal Scream, Johnny Marr, Reverend & The Makers, Don Broco, Young Guns, Deaf Havana and hundreds more across an exciting weekend in Derbyshire.

Day 1 – Friday 31st July

Rap royalty Snoop Dogg headlined the opening day of this fast-growing festival in the Peak District, alongside the likes of Reverend & The Makers and Y Not debutants Young Guns.

The crowds arrived on site early in the day and the music got underway at 12 o’clock. Luckily, the sun had come out for the festival-goers and many laid out on the grass soaking up the nice weather as solo artist The Beach entertained them with some acoustic tracks to open up the main stage.

Four-piece rockers Black Honey were up next and had to battle through a number of early technical issues, but still managed to impress the Derbyshire crowd with a powerful and entertaining five song set that included ‘Spinning Wheel’ and ‘Sleep Forever’ before closing with the haunting ‘Mothership’ track. And Glasgow duo Honeyblood continued the strong start to the festival with an entertaining showing that included ‘Super Rat’, ‘Choker’ and ‘Killer Bangs’ from their debut self-titled release as well as new song ‘Love Is A Disease’.

Comedy folk group The Lancashire Hotpots then lifted things up a level, attracting a large crowd and proving to be one of the highlights of the weekend! With their humourous songs about British culture, which included ‘The Perfect Pint’, ‘Keys Wallet Phone’ and of course, ‘Chippy Tea’, Bernard Thresher and co. had everyone smiling and singing along.

Friday at Y Not boasted arguably the strongest main stage line up of the weekend, and with Slaves, Young Guns and Reverend & The Makers the next three acts performing, it was difficult to dispute this.

The energy that Slaves bring to a performance is always tough to match and it was no different at Y Not as the the whole field bounced to their set of tracks including ‘The Hunter’, ‘Cheer Up London’ and ‘Feed The Mantaray’, which saw a crowd-surfing mantaray – who was later joined in the crowd by lead-vocalist Isaac Holman!

Londoners Young Guns then made their Y Not debut a memorable one with the crowd belting out the bands stadium-fitting anthems such as ‘I Want Out’, ‘Daylight’, ‘Rising Up’ and ‘Bones’ as frontman Gustav Wood promoted the group’s latest album ‘Ones and Zeroes’, jokingly telling the crowd to “go steal that sh*t!”

Y Not regulars Reverend & The Makers, fronted by Sheffield legend Jon McClure, attracted one of the largest audiences of the entire weekend as their combination of new material from their upcoming release ‘Mirrors’ and the classics, such as ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ and the perfect crowd-moving track ‘Silence Is Talking’, proved a major hit with this festival crowd.

Super Furry Animals provided the top support for headliner Snoop Dogg on the main stage, but I instead decided to head over to the Giant Squid tent to see Scottish trio The Xcerts.

Fronted by Murray Macleod, this group from Aberdeen never fail to put on an entertaining live performance and it was no different on this intimate stage. ‘Slackerpop’, ‘Shaking In The Water’ and album title-track ‘There Is Only You’ were among the songs performed by the trio, before Macleod was left alone on stage to give a beautiful rendition of ‘Aberdeen 1987’ – the highlight of The Xcerts‘ 45-minute set.

As 10 o’clock fast approached, it was time to return to the main stage to witness the performance of American performer Snoop Dogg. Naturally, he arrived on stage fashionably late but the crowd did not care as the rapper received the largest reception of the day from the adoring fans.

Performing for over an hour, Snoop Dogg gave an outstanding performance with hits such as ‘Gin and Juice’ and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ alongside snippets of songs from various artists he has worked with including Dr Dre (‘Still D.R.E’), Katy Perry (‘California Gurls’) and Akon (‘I Wanna F*ck You’).

The rapper also performed tributes to his late friends and fellow artists 2pac and The Notorious B.I.G as well as getting the crowd bouncing to covers of ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ by The Arrows and ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain.

Finally, he thanked the audience, telling them he would “return to Matlock UK anytime you want” before closing with ‘Young, Wild & Free’ and then leaving the stage to Bob Mrley’s ‘Jammin’ – bringing to an end an outstanding first day of music at Y Not Festival 2015.

The Beach (Main Stage)

Black Honey (Main Stage)

Honeyblood (Main Stage)

The Lancashire Hotpots (Main Stage)

Slaves (Main Stage)

Young Guns (Main Stage)

Reverend & The Makers (Main Stage)

The Xcerts (Giant Squid)

Snoop Dogg (Main Stage)

Day 2 – Saturday 1st August

The second day at Y Not Festival saw electronic duo Basement Jaxx headline the main stage, but it was Don Broco‘s headline slot on the Giant Squid stage that proved to be one of the highlight’s of the weekend. Elsewhere, Deaf Havana, Saint Raymond and even 90’s TV fitness guru Mr Motivator were some of the other big names on show.

After a late Friday night for many, it was an early start to day two of Y Not as Mr Motivator performed his famous workout and motivational speech to get everybody prepared for another full day of music.

Derbyshire ‘synth-pop’ five-piece Aztects and Brighton indie group High Tyde were the first musical acts on the main stage. The latter impressed particularly with tracks from their debut EP ‘Fuzz’ and an energetic performance that saw the frontman Cody end up over the barrier and mosh-pitting with the rest of crowd!

Having started at the main stage, I now headed over to the Giant Squid tent to check out performances from Vant and Allusondrugs – two of the best up and coming bands at the moment.

First up was Vant, a four-piece whose name comes from that of the frontman Mattie Vant. With their short, yet memorable arsenal of tracks, including ‘Parasite’ and ‘Do You Know Me?’ and a powerfully energetic stage presence the quartet made a big impression on those in attendance and proved why they are one of the bands to watch right now.

Nirvana-esque group Allusondrugs followed with a mesmerising performance of their own. The five-piece from Leeds celebrated Yorkshire Day by entertaining the crowd at the Giant Squid with a powerful 30 minute set that included ‘Nervous’ and ‘I Should Have Gone To Uni’.

It was now back to the main stage, where Birmingham quartet Jaws entertained the Y Not crowd before Deaf Havana, playing for the second time at this festival and their “first show in ages”, hit the stage with a typically magnificent performance that included ‘Boston Square’, ’22’ (not that one!) and brand new track ‘Cassiopeia’.

Basement Jaxx and Ocean Colour Scheme were top of the main stage bill on Saturday evening, but for me the final act of the day at this venue before heading back to the Giant Squid was Saint Raymond. 

Recalling memories of visiting the festival as a fan many years ago as well as describing today as “my best show of festival season”, 20 year old Saint Raymond, whose real name is Callum Burrows, thrilled the crowd with tracks from his recently released debut album ‘Young Blood’.

Finally, it was back over to the Giant Squid to watch Hacktivist and headline act Don Broco. 

Rap-metal group Hacktivist proved to be another weekend highlight as their incredibly energetic performance got the crowd moving like few other artists. The five-piece from Milton Keynes, fronted by vocalists J Hurley and Ben Marvin, performed tracks from their upcoming self-titled debut album as well as a particularly memorable heavy cover of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s song ‘Niggas In Paris’, which helped to warm the crowd up perfectly for the arrival of Don Broco.

Formed in 2008, alternative rock quartet Don Broco burst into popularity with their hugely successful debut album ‘Priorities’. Three years later, the group’s second album ‘Automatic’ is due out next week and the band fronted by Rob Damiani performed a mixture of tracks from the two – with songs such as ‘Priorities’ and ‘Whole Truth’ accompanied by ‘Automatic’ and ‘What You Do To Me’, as well as single ‘You Wanna Know’ and even an early throwback with the heavier tongue-in-cheek track ‘Thug Workout’.

And Don Broco proved themselves as outstanding live performers to match their discography, with incredible energy and willingness to keep the crowd involved for the duration. It was a truly brilliant performance from the Bedford band and certainly one of the best Y Not Festival has ever played host to!

Mr Motivator (Main Stage)

Aztecs (Main Stage)

High Tyde (Main Stage)

Vant (Giant Squid)

Allusondrugs (Giant Squid)

Jaws (Main Stage)

Deaf Havana (Main Stage)

Saint Raymond (Main Stage)

Hacktivist (Giant Squid)

Don Broco (Giant Squid)

Day 3 – Sunday 2nd August

Music legends Primal Scream and Johnny Marr were among the big names at the final day of Y Not Festival as an amazing weekend headed towards its conclusion.

I decided to begin my day by checking out some of the different stages, starting with the lovely Hog & Barrel tent which took on the look of a barn, with haystacks doubling up as seats in the intimate venue. Derby musician Kezia Gill got the day off to an enjoyable start, showing that she is clearly a talented artist with both singing and song-writing ability.

Fellow female solo-artist and BBC introduction pick Georgie was up next, performing to a large crowd on the Quarry Stage, before I headed to the main stage to see performances from highly-rated up and coming bands Twin Wild and Blossoms.

Rock quartet Twin Wild were up first, having travelled all the way from London to make their Y Not debut. And it was an impressive half-hour performance from the group, fronted by Richard Hutchinson, who had the stage presence and sound of a much bigger band. There is no doubt these are a group to watch out for!

Blossoms, a five-piece indie group from Stockport, followed this up with a particularly memorable performance of their own. Tracks included ‘Cut Me And I’ll Bleed’ and ‘You Pulled A Gun On Me’ and concluded with ‘Blow’ before cocky frontman Tom Ogden and the rest of the band marched off the Y Not main stage leaving behind a big impression.

It was now back to the Hog & Barrel stage to watch Chesterfield indie folk duo The Natterjacks play their second show of the festival! Performing tracks from their debut album ‘Highlands’, the duo were such a hit with the crowd that they were roared back on for a short and unexpected encore, performing a brilliant rendition of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness’.

One of my favourite stages of the weekend had been the Giant Squid, so I decided to see Zoax there to experience the tent one final time for this year. And it turned out to be an excellent decision, as this heavy five-piece from London performed by far one of the most memorable and itense sets of the festival – expressive frontman Adam  Carroll spending much a gig in with the crowd and certainly keeping his promise to put a smile on everyone’s face!

The final day of the festival saw plenty of moving between stages and I quickly headed back to the main stage to see The Strypes, an Irish rock ‘n’ roll quartet whose CV includes supporting the Arctic Monkeys.

Fronted by the cocky, harmonica-playing Ross Farrelly, The Strypes showed real stage presence and an excellent sound to go with it – their songs including ‘What A Shame’ and ‘Blue Collar Jane’, leaving a huge impression before their set was unfortunately cut short due to time constraints.

A sprint back to the Quarry stage meant we saw the majority of an impressive set from another up and coming group The Bohicas, who were a big hit with the large crowd performing tracks including the memorable, catchy ‘To Die For’.

Following a short break, a return to the main stage was essential to see two legendary names close the weekend – Johnny Marr and Primal Scream.

Primal Scream, the Scottish rock group started as a solo venture by frontman Bobby Gillespie, have been around for over 30 years and thrilled the crowd with their headline set that brought the festival to  close – performing their hit tracks from over the years including ‘Movin On Up’, ‘Burning Wheel’, ‘Higher Than The Sun’ and ‘Rocks’.

However, it was The Smiths legend Johnny Marr who proved to be the highlight of the final day’s acts. Attracting one of the largest crowd’s of the weekend, this music legend and former songwriting partner of Morrisey performed a combination of solo material from his album ‘The Messenger’ and Smiths hits including ‘Panic’, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ and ‘How Soon Is Now?’ before closing with the magnificent ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ – resulting in a massive crowd sing-a-long as the great showman Johnny Marr looked over the Y Not crowd in awe.

My first visit to Y Not Festival proved to be a tremendous experience. The relaxed nature of the weekend alongside an impressive line-up proved it to be one of the best festivals of its size and understandably one of the fast growing in the country.

Kezia Gill (Hog & Barrel)

Georgie (Quarry)

Twin Wild (Main Stage)

Blossoms (Main Stage)

The Natterjacks (Hog & Barrel)

Zoax (Giant Squid)

The Strypes (Main Stage)

The Bohicas (Quarry)


Johnny Marr (Main Stage)

Primal Scream (Main Stage)




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