The ninth annual Y Not festival at Pikehall boasted its strongest line-up yet. And despite the rain, Andy Darlington was glad he stuck around for a great weekend of entertainment.
TORRENTIAL rain made for a rather soggy and muddy affair this weekend as Derbyshire’s largest music festival was staged at Pikehall.
The ninth annual Y Not certainly promised great things. The line-up was arguably the strongest yet, with big names such as Dizzee Rascal, The Fratellis and White Lies tempting thousands of people and ensuring that all tickets sold out.
Even the warm-up band on the Thursday night was a big name, unlike in other years, with the headliner being Goldie Lookin’ Chain.
There was plenty of local talent too, with Derby bands such as Lost Alone and the James Warner Prophecies on the bill.
My friends and I arrived on the Thursday evening and pitched our tents before going for a wander around the arena – home to the many stages, some dedicated to specific genres such as heavy rock and reggae.
The range of food looked tempting, too, and included Derbyshire sellers such as the Original Bakewell Pudding Company alongside the usual caterers.
I began my musical journey on Friday with a low-key performance in the Allotment – one of the smaller stages – from Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell, this time performing with side project Zazou.
There were some talented musicians playing everything from violin and double bass to guitars and bongos, but the songs lacked a little soul for me.
The same can’t be said for Razorlight, second on the bill on the main stage later on. Racing through a set of greatest hits, they had everyone singing along and dancing for all they were worth.
I was looking forward to seeing headliners White Lies but it seemed like a far better idea to have a go on the new roller rink. I fell over twice – the perils of skating after drinking real ale.
Speaking of which, the organisers really must be praised for the range of drinks – everything from proper cloudy cider to real ale from the Leatherbritches brewery.
The following day promised even better things musically – at least for my tastes.
We were treated to a great gig from Beans on Toast – particularly the part where he popped into the audience and sat atop a fan’s shoulders to perform one song, leading to many others doing the same. Not me, though, with my back.
He was also performing the first festival set of four in 24 hours, his second that day being down in Somerset.
Back on to the main stage and I was really looking forward to seeing Britpop act Shed Seven – a band I saw perform an epic gig in Warrington in their heyday.
This was a decent set of some blinding tunes, but there was no communication with the crowd and frontman Rik Witter had seemingly lost all the swagger that made him so much fun to watch almost 20 years ago.
No such problem with Saturday headliner Dizzee Rascal. I’m not really a fan of rap music, so wasn’t sure whether or not to bother.
But when I found myself singing along to Bonkers at the top of my voice and pogoing on the third row, I was glad I’d stuck around.
It was a great weekend and it’s easy to see why this small but perfectly formed festivals has so many fans and has won so many awards. Same again next