DIZZEE Rascal, The Fratellis, White Lies, De La Soul, Razorlight, Shed Seven and Frank Turner are among the eclectic line-up of bands at the Y Not Festival in Derbyshire this weekend.
Over four days the picturesque location of Pike Hall, near Matlock, plays host to 15,000 people – including more than 150 bands – who have travelled from all over the UK to enjoy a melting pot of emotional, energetic and exhilarating live music from every conceivable genre.
“We deliberately set out to deliver as wide a selection of music as possible,” explains one of the festival organisers Simon Mawbey.
“The line-up tends to be mainly guitar-based acts but that covers a whole range of genres from indie, pop and dance to punk, funk, jazz rock, soul and blues”.
Simon has been involved with the festival since 2005 when a group of friends decided to experiment with holding an outdoor live music event, which they called the Big Gin Fest in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. Re-named the Y Not Festival in 2006, it has continued to grow, becoming a regular annual event attracting bigger acts year on year.
“We aim for a good cross section of emerging and well-established musicians, plus we also draw in good mix of local talent too, he says.
Y Not works on the principle – ‘if you don’t come for something you already love, you will certainly find something new to love here’.
Favourites from the Brit Pop era Shed Seven feature in this year’s line-up and plan to perform a selection of their classic hits from the 1990s.
Front man Rick Witter says the band all went in different musical directions after they split in 2003 but they have been over-whelmed with the reception from fans since re-forming for a reunion gig in 2007.
“We were pleasantly surprised to discover how much people had taken our songs to their hearts over the years. When we followed that gig up with a tour we had to book extra dates and bigger venues.”
Shed Seven now re-form for regular winter tours, interspersed with summer festivals and don’t totally rule out the possibility of new songs and recordings at some point in the future.
“We are just enjoying touring again at the moment without any pressures and expectations,” says Rick. “ I know the industry has changed a lot; and the recording process is easier now so the subject does come up but we all have different commitments to consider too.”
Rick has a regular Sunday night radio show in his home town of York and says that, although The Smiths and The Stone Roses were a big influence on his song writing in the 90s, his tastes have evolved and widened over time.
“As I get older I tend to think less in genres and just in terms of music,” he says. “Unfortunately, we can’t stay at Y Not all weekend but I’d have liked to hear some of the sets, particularly Circa Waves, Yuk and Swim Deep.”
Closer to home; up and coming Burton band Max Raptor will headline on Thursday to open this year’s event.
Max Raptor are Y Not regulars. Vocalist Wil Ray says it is around the seventh time they have played and the band has grown in stature alongside the growth of the festival.
“In 2012 we first headlined one of the stages and our fans there have grown over the years too,” he says.“Our set last year was completely packed out and everyone was really rocking.”
Playing their own brand of modern punk Max Raptor attract appreciation from a wide age range
“We seem to have fans ranging in years from 16-55,” adds Wil who specialises in delivering poignant, socially relevant lyrics.
He says that Max Raptor - who go out on tour again in October - have always enjoyed the laid back intimate feel of Y Not and look forward to listening to spending all weekend there.
Y Not organisers are fully aware that the intimacy and the location of the festival are important aspects of its appeal believe they have got the balance right.”
“We hope to retain the carefree, good-time atmosphere of those original, dawning years,” says Simon who is also confident that there is a long future ahead for outdoor festivals where people can gather to enjoy watching bands together in the sun.
“Digital streaming of music, convenient though it is, can’t even compete with seeing bands live. It’s the sharing of that experience which is special and draws people year after year – the chance to listen to music and party together.
SEE THE SHOW
WHAT: YNot Festival
WHERE: Pikehall, Derbyshire
WHEN: Today until August 3
ADMISSIONS: Various prices
TICKETS: Visit www.ynotfestivals.co.uk