Y Not festival brings the Peak District to life

Y Not saw over 50 bands entertain the masses for a three day weekend at the “small, fresh and loud” festival, held in Pikehall in the Peak District. The hilly countryside is the unlikely location for the up and coming music festival, started in 2006. Drive over the peak of a hill and you’re confronted by large colourful tents and the silver dome of the main stage.


Darwin Deez performed a knock out show at Y Not Festival. Photo: Hannah Walton

The festival was headlined by The Futureheads, The Subways and The Mystery Jets but there were some other fantastic performances throughout the day. The highlight of the whole festival has to be Darwin Deez on Saturday. He may not have headlined or taken the spotlight on the Big Gin Stage but the Quarry tent was jam packed with fans.

Darwin and the band delivered with fantastic music with the selection of songs from their debut album being spot on. They also added a little something that made for one of the best live performances from anyone with little dances between tracks. The “West Side Story” style dance off and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” were definite highlights in his knock out show.

The band seemed to enjoy themselves with huge grins which were only surpassed by those of the audience. At least 20 crowd surfers were helped down by security, the majority of which were during the finale “Radar Detector” which was a fantastic energetic end to the set.

Headlining on Friday were the Sunderland favourites, The Futureheads. The mix of old and new tracks was perfectly chosen although the debut album tracks seemed unappreciated by the younger members of the crowd with fewer cheers for such hits as “Meantime” and “Man Ray”.


Elliott Morris had an early start at the festival but still managed to pull in a crowd. Photo: Samantha Viner

Among all the big names, local acoustic star Elliott Morris also performed at Y Not as part of BBC Introducing. There were smiles all round as “Nothing in Particular” changed into the medley of Rage Against the Machine and Justin Timberlake to name but a few.

Elliott performed a brilliant set ending with the token Basshunter “All I Ever Wanted” cover. Although there was only a small crowd to begin with, Elliott gained a reasonable audience as his set continued.

And as this is a festival, it’s not all about the music. Y Not prides itself on the atmosphere and strangely enough – the toilets, which won a toilets of the year award in 2008. It’s difficult to see how Y Not won this though. Especially when you see a security guard go in, come straight back out and be sick. It was like a sick game of Russian Roulette.

Aside from the that, the festival was full of atmosphere. Camp fires created a very real but disregarded health risk and the Saturday night fancy dress offered up some amazing ideas for nights out. Mario Brothers, Avatar, Shaun the Sheep and even the Average Joes and The Globo-Gym Purple Cobras of “Dodgeball” fame made their way around the site.

Another thing to remember with festivals is that all important cash factor that magically disappears with extortionate festival prices. Except it didn’t. The beer tent offered some great local beers and ciders alongside the usual suspects at reasonable prices, especially the £2.50 pear cider.

Y Not offered a great festival experience with some brilliant performances and an even better atmosphere. Definitely recommended, after all Y Not?

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