As I sat last Sunday guarded from the relentless elements by my trusty poncho in Y Not’s misty mountain camping field I had an overwhelming sense of a bittersweet redemption story.
After the antics of last year led to the festival being cast from popular acclaim and reduced to ridicule our proverbial fallen angel was gifted an opportunity by its loyal fan base to reclaim its previous pedestal.
The festival was well organised with paths placed almost everywhere needed for cars and pedestrians and with volunteers all over the site to ensure things ran smoothly. There was also an excellent range of activities such as a cinema tent and carnival rides such as a Helter Skelter, however, despite Friday being roasting hot all day the weather on Saturday and Sunday did its absolute best to triumph over the festival as it did last year. These near constant rains did not succeed however due to the organisational improvements of the festival and hence Y Not’s organisers can only be credited for this.
The reason my feeling on Sunday was bittersweet was that me and my fellow campers were sat surrounded by what looked like a refugee camp. Seemingly at least half (if not more) of the festival goers had abandoned the fields on the Sunday morning leading to our final day of celebration feeling more like a musical funeral. I don’t feel this was the fault of the organisers or the volunteers however as I was perfectly fine with the conditions and was genuinely speechless at the exodus, perhaps it was caused by fears about last years failings.
Despite this the acts were all phenomenal and the lineup itself was as strong as you could ever hope to find at a small festival. The bold decision to risk Catfish and the Bottlemen as a Saturday night bill topper more than paid dividends as they had the Big Gin stage rammed and Derbyshire’s finest sang along with the “Pacifier” rockers every word. The Libertines also played what might be the tightest set in that beautiful mess of a bands history and Pete Doherty looked like for the first time ever he might be more sober than the audience. Another notable set was that of the ever underrated Wombats who despite the new albums arguable regression to their trademark quirkiness from Glitterbug’s grandeur delivered a set teeming with anthems.
Y Not 2018, whilst not the festival it could have been, was certainly at the very least the festival it should have been and the organisational improvement from last year cannot be understated. Those who were willing to brave the rain were richly rewarded by incredible bands and experiences. Even the usually full festival medical tent rarely had a queue beyond ten minutes and all of this makes me excited for what’s in store for Y Not’s future. It was a great festival and I’m happy to be able to finally say again that my local festival is up there with the best.