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Y Not 2017

Festival (28/07/17 - 30/07/17)

Derbyshire, UK
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

Set in the rural countryside of Derbyshire in the UK, Y Not is a uniquely situated and diverse festival. Now in its twelfth year, the festival offers an array of musical acts spanning multiple genres from mainstream pop, to dance, rap, acoustic and heavy alternative bands, and its past success led to Broadwick Live acquiring the festival at the end of 2016, as part of its expanding festival business.

In previous years, Y Not has enjoyed the benefits of its end-of-July calendar slot, which has traditionally bathed the Derbyshire hillsides with glorious sunshine. This year however, the weather has taken an ugly turn, and the new owners struggle to deal with the adverse conditions. As well as the weather, the organisers have attempted a new layout, mainly related to the camping areas, and as we sit for 2 hours queuing in traffic to enter the festival grounds, teething problems are already showing. 

Due to the traffic, we’re still on the road outside the festival while Bad Sign perform. It’s a shame to miss the band, who were excellent at this year’s 2000 Trees festival, but at least they were able to play. On entry to the festival, we’re greeting by signs on the Main Stage advising that acts are temporarily cancelled due to rain-related safety issues, the open-fronted stage having no barrier to stop rain pouring onto the electrical equipment. Reports of performances being cancelled continue throughout the day as the rain shows no sign of stopping.

Luckily, we’ve come for the alternative bands, and under the tented shelter of The Giant Squid, the show goes on. Though the rain certainly doesn’t delight the punters, it works in SHVPES’ favour, as people pour into the tent for shelter. The screamed vocals and heavy riffs certainly give a different vibe to the pop artists performing on the other stages, but those in the tent don’t seem to mind. It helps when your execution is spot on and that’s exactly what SHVPES manage.

It’s a sign of an excellent band when you can endure technical difficulties on stage with no impact on performance and Grumble Bee tick that box. The trio may well be struggling to hear themselves on stage, but front of house things sound perfect, Jack Bennett’s heartfelt voice pristine and powerful against the punchy instrumentals. Grumble Bee keep going from strength to strength with every performance and with new singles “Red” and “Bravest Soul” sounding huge, we’re excited for more new material in the not-too distant future.

Vukovi are one of the tightest acts of the bill, the band flowing in complete unison throughout their set. Their brand of alt-rock is ideal for a festival; the pop hooks and up-tempo rhythms make for an easy listen and there are plenty of heads bobbing and feet tapping in approval. Midway through the set songs do start to feel recycled, but it’s fun and enjoyable and brings some much needed sunshine to combat the quagmire forming outside the tent.

When you see Heck on a line-up you know that at the very least you’ll be entertained; the band have built a reputation on their unconstrained performances and this is no exception. Half an hour before Heck are due to play, guitarist/vocalists Matt Reynolds and Jonny Hall are side-of-stage surveying the tent, checking out their boundaries. More than once their eyes set on the two scaffolding poles holding up the tent and sure enough midway through the set, Reynolds starts to climb one, much to the dismay of the security staff. Between Hall and Reynolds walking across the bar, stage diving and starting circle pits in the mud outside the tent, there’s a solid backbone of loud, in-your-face hardcore that’s somehow always brilliantly executed no matter how insane the performance.

Roam have the songs to be a popular festival band and their catchy pop punk should be a bit here, but the execution is too sloppy to fully captivate the crowd. Front-man Alex Costello is entertaining with his backflips and general high energy, but it’s not until the second half of the set that his vocals settle and start to produce. It’s strange to see the rest of the band largely static and not sharing Costello’s energy, making this performance a bad day at the office for the Eastbourne quintet.

In contrast, Young Guns’ alt-rock can be too middle-of-the-road to hold a festival crowd’s attention for a long set, but when you have the confidence and energy on stage to back it up, the crowd can easily warm up. For Y Not festival-goers, Young Guns are an ideal choice; their more recent material is more in-line with the mainstream rock acts across the rest of festival and as such, their set goes down as well. 

Although the mood inside The Giant Squid is positive, outside there are plenty of people suffering. A quick check of social media reveals complaints of wide-spread thefts in the campsites, burst water pipes restricting access to clean water, unclean toilets and no hay being laid out on paths to soak up the mounting rivers of mud. Y Not festival has been a safe haven for families to enjoy the festival experience in the past, something that differentiates it from mainstream festivals and makes it unique, so it’s even more distressing to read about a lack of security measures to prevent the general public being able to set up camp in the family camping areas, putting children in an unsafe environment.

After a day of torrential rain on the Friday, the site’s fields are churned to mud making it difficult for vehicles to enter or exit the site. With continued bad weather not helping the situation, on Sunday morning the festival has to be cancelled, the safe exit of all guests from the site becoming a primary concern. With the help of local tow trucks and helpers, Sunday’s itinerary is sadly filled with rescuing cars from waterlogged fields rather than enjoying live music. 

Over the past eleven years, Y Not has been a hugely successful and enjoyable festival, making 2017 a definite exception rather than the rule. Though the adverse weather has been an unwelcome guest for new owners Broadwick Live to contend with, it has masked other issues that can’t be solely attributed to the rain. Festivals can function in the rain and mud, as any veteran of Glastonbury or Download Festival will tell you, but it requires solid contingency planning and infrastructure to do so, particularly in upholding high standards of security and safety across the event at all times. As an ever-expanding festival company, Broadwick Live have enough tenure and experience to repair Y Not‘s reputation in the future, but if a repeat of this year’s experience is allowed to happen, it could mean a sad end for this otherwise popular festival.

Y Not

Y Not 2016

Festival (29/07/16 - 31/07/16)

Derbyshire, UK
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Derbyshire’s Y Not Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary last year and now in its second decade, 2016 became the event’s largest offering yet. Headlining acts such as Madness, Fun Loving Criminals, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and The Hives, provided no shortage of mainstream appeal and crowds gathered in record numbers to give the three-day weekend a vibrant atmosphere.

One of Y Not Festival’s finest traits is its uniquely diverse itinerary, offering plenty of options for those not swayed by the event’s mainstream artists. With on-site activities like face painting, giant board games, hula hoops and vintage arcade games, you could mistake this for a giant country fate, were it not for the various music stages, acoustic performances, hookah bars and dance music tents.

For those that like their music a little heavier, The Giant Squid is the place to check out some of the best emerging talent in the UK’s alternative scene. Heck have built a reputation as one of the most entertaining live acts around, well known for going beyond the boundaries of the stage and paying little regard for their equipment (or safety) in the process. This performance was partially subdued thanks to vocalist/guitarist Matt Reynolds breaking his foot during the band’s performance at 2000 Trees, but the set was no less impressive, proving that the band’s frantically pulsating songs are just as memorable as their traditional onstage antics. For Black Peaks, holding back is an unknown concept and their astonishing run of superb performances continued in The Giant Squid. Vocalist Will Gardner maintains his position as one of the most refreshing vocalists on the scene, managing to switch from silky smooth croons to elongated, guttural screams at the drop of a knee.

Welsh newcomers The Decoy may have a difficult sound to describe, but they’re certainly not hard to admire. Described as a blend of Biffy Clyro, Incubus and The Police, the three-piece announced themselves with a fantastic collection of songs from their recent debut Avalon, which were every bit as engaging as their banter between songs. Throughout 2016, Arcane Roots have been going from strength to strength, somehow improving their already awe-inspiring live performances with each passing visit to the stage. It helps that the three-piece have a catalogue full of anthemic songs designed to sound huge in a live setting and having performed so regularly throughout the festival season, they perform as a watertight unit that’s unwaveringly professional and accomplished in every aspect. The band will be releasing a new album soon and we couldn’t be more excited to hear what they have in store.

Since ending their seven year hiatus, UK tech-metal pioneers SikTh have been gathering steam, powered by the inevitable sense of hype building up around them. On the eve of their first ever tour in the US, the band provided a fitting end to a weekend of excellent British  bands on The Giant Squid. As the band rifle through tracks from their debut The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out, Wait for Something Wild and follow-up Death of a Dead Day with their signature blend of mesmerising, technical musicianship and infectious grooves, you’d never know that some of these songs were written 13 years ago. SikTh may have been away for seven years, but this performance proves that they’re still the undisputed kings of the tech-metal scene and with the promise of a new album next year, they’re well and truly back on the throne.

With another impressive musical line-up and a family-friendly atmosphere, Y Not Festival once again provided an unrivalled sense of relaxation and fun amidst the UK festival season. It’s no wonder that the festival has grown to be so successful and having begun its second decade in fine form and we’ll be hoping that this unique character and atmosphere is still being celebrated well into its third.

Heck Release Incredible New Video For ‘Mope’

Heck PromoHeck have released a unique new music video for Mope, the third video to come from their critically acclaimed debut album, Instructions. The video was directed by Dan Sturgess at a secret location in the middle of England. One shot. Zero chance.
 
Heck‘s album, Instructions, can be ordered on download and physical formats here
 
The incredible video for Mope, and their upcoming tour dates, can be viewed below

Read More…

2000trees

2000 Trees

Festival (07/07/16 - 09/07/16)

Cheltenham, UK
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

This year was the 10th anniversary of 2000 Trees, a festival set in the south west of England that focuses on promoting new and underground bands from the rock and indie world. At a capacity of just 5,000 it has a uniquely intimate and friendly atmosphere and with such a pristine level of organisation, it’s clear to see how the festival has achieved a full decade of success.

The Main Stage is reserved for days two and three, leaving the smaller stages to host the opening day’s bands. The tented covering of The Cave stage was only just sturdy enough to contain the massive power of Black Peaks, who continue to dominate every stage they throw themselves onto. Rifling through songs from their superb debut album Statues with power, precision and captivating stage presence, it won’t be long before the band are headlining these events. The place to be for the remainder of the day is The Forest, a dedicated acoustic stage whose woodland setting, surrounded by lantern lights, hay bales and hammocks, provides a fantastic atmosphere as well as a great place to sit down, chill out and sing along to some striped-back favourites from the festival’s line-up. Black Peaks’ acoustic renditions are far removed from their ferocious on-stage antics but matched in quality nonetheless, as is multi-instrumentalist songwriter Grumble Bee, who got the crowd singing along to raw reimaginings of his Disconnect EP.

Day two brings the Main Stage into play but technical issues cloud the first few acts of the day, particularly Crooks, whose usually excellent live set is marred by mix problems for the first half of the performance. It’s disappointing to see a band miss the opportunity to show a crowd what they can really do and by the time the band and the sound engineers get into full swing, it’s time for the set to close. Over at The Axiom stage Press to Meco have no such troubles, immaculately voicing their fantastic three-part harmonies to the delight of the crowd. Despite all three members also providing the technically challenging, angular riffs and rhythms, their vocals are flawless throughout and one of the stand out bands of the weekend.

Actor Jamie Campbell Bower (known for Sweeney Todd and Harry Potter among others) proves that his gritty alt-rock band Counterfeit are more than just a fleeting side-project with a rousing set that sees the crowd frantically nodding along. Bower holds the crowd’s attention well, using his stage experience to establish himself as a captivating frontman and with throaty vocals and gutsy rock anthems to back up his swagger, the band sound right at home on a big stage. Basement are in fine form since coming out of hiatus, making their 50 minute set feel more like 10 in The Cave. Rattling through songs from their latest album Promise Everything as well as the best of their back catalogue, Basement were one of the highlights of an impressive day.

Having endured two days of festival life, the crowd may have wanted a slow start to the final day, but Heck had other plans. The band’s frantic noise-rock is somehow less intense than the antics of frontmen Matt Reynolds and Jonny Hall, who spend more time in the crowd than on stage. Heck must be a sound engineer’s worst nightmare as mic stands go flying and leads are stretched to their limits, but for all the high-energy antics, there’s a core of quality, tight music running alongside, filled with complex rhythms and angular riffs. For all the punishment given to their instruments, Reynolds took the most damage, managing to break his foot in his own circle pit toward the end of the set. Arcane Roots are more subdued, but no less impressive. The trio’s slow, drawn out keyboard-driven opener doesn’t make for the best introduction to the set or their new material, but it soon picks up with the remainder of the performance and based on the strength of their catalogue to date, there’s no reason to doubt the upcoming album will be any less convincing.

It’s easy to see how 2000 Trees has stretched to its 10th anniversary, with such a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and excellent line-up of bands. It’s great to see band members freely enjoying the acts wih the regular punters, further emphasising the community spirit and laid back atmosphere that makes the festival so unique. The organisers struck gold by adding hardcore legends Refused to the bill and there could’ve been no better way to see out the 10th anniversary party. Refused stole the entire weekend, the power of their set engulfing everything before it, making the other bands seem minor in comparison. It’s great to have them back following a lengthy hiatus and tracks from latest album Freedom sound huge on the Main Stage. Frontman Derek Lyxzen’s heart-warming thanks to the crowd for sticking with the band and coming back to see them no doubt resonated with the collective masses at 2000 Trees who, after another incredible weekend, will certainly be looking forward to sticking with this festival as it begins its second decade next year.