Music | Thunder and Lightning… That's Y Not!

Music | Thunder and Lightning… That's Y Not!

This year’s Y Not festival sure made a splash. As a dimly lit afternoon soon turned into storm showers and threatened the festival’s continuation, it didn’t stop play.

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Following a short set two years ago, Y Not favourites Dutch Uncles returned to the festival to play to a full crowd as their Friday afternoon slot helped avoid the onset of hangovers, mud and soggy clothing. Ah, the fancy dress festival. Frontman Duncan remarks on 2013’s lacking effort: “you looked a lot better last time”, as he turns a blind eye to the horse mask-clad drunk putting his best foot forward, strangely – and by no means coincidentally – to the rushing rhythms of ‘Dressage’. Dancing around the stage slapping xylophone sticks mimicking a typical ‘Hello Wembley’ type performance, Dutch Uncles go down well once again.Mystery Jets’ prompt on-stage arrival is ridden with irony as the band walk on to tropical Americana music. If we learnt one thing, it’s that cowboy hats and Americana fashions perhaps aren’t the best rain-proof attire. “We’re amazed at how much energy you have, it’s pissing it down”. Well that’s the thing, most of us have no energy, most of us are too bound up in the ‘rules of fun’ that festivals secretively give us, that we’re too wussy to just go home, have a cup of tea and watch the best Friday night TV has to offer. Those who are enjoying the rain, dancing around with faces covered in rave paint in their hotpants – despite rows of goosebumps forming on their bare knees – are young teenagers. Or festival goers who seem sneaky enough to have hijacked the drug amnesty bin.

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Lightning flashes go unnoticed at first as most are distracted by the flashes of light from the stage. As the familiar intro to ‘Two Doors Down’ excites those who swear by 2008’s ‘indiest indie hits evaaa’ compilation, the funs stops. “We’ve just been told we need to go… there’s a thunderstorm coming”. The worst possible words you could hear at a festival are unsurprisingly greeted by boos. Teenage girls become suddenly conscious of the frizz-threatening downpour of rain that has gone unnoticed throughout the day. Everyone runs for cover, only for the new fun (shelter) to be ruined by an arena evacuation. Like the apocalypse, everyone is rushing around. Queues quickly form at burger vans and tea shops as the brave grab as many supplies as they can.Maybe I was being dramatic… the ‘apocalypse’ didn’t last long, just like the styling of my hair, as I fill with jealousy at the sight of The Horrors’ dark and perfectly hair sprayed figures appear on stage. They’re late… quite late, but at this rate everyone is just happy they made it out alive, even if their puddle-filled tents haven’t. Frontman Faris Badwan retires his usual mysteriousness. He’s prancing around the stage, working the crowd for once. “I can’t believe you’re standing in the rain for us”. As time runs behind, a shortened set lacks the possibility of hearing any of their forthcoming album.

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It’s a great surprise to see that by day two spirits haven’t faded. Those who survived the storm are ready for fancy dress day. ‘Superheroes’ apparently, as a Marouane Fellaini fancy dress costume provides lots of attention with cheers and boos from passers-by. The afternoon of sunshine brings out the crowds for main stage acts Fiction, Pylo and Sky Larkin. But in true British style, it doesn’t last.

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One thing is for sure, Y Not goers love to dance in the rain, and as Swim Deep break into their rendition of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, the crowd are swiftly swept into the depths of anticipation for the rest of the night. The fun is back on and there’s more to the night than cosying up in a cushioned-out old car at the drive-in cinema.For some it may have been surprising for Ash not to be headlining the festival. With an impressive back catalogue of hits, large crowds gathered ahead of a headline set from The Cribs. Even an unsuccessful UFO flight (which had intended on taking off during ASH’s final song) wasn’t a loss on the performance.

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It’s been quite the climb to the top for Wakefield trio The Cribs. Even with a series of tough-at-the top events (frontman Ryan Jarman spent time in hospital before his guitar was stolen at the beginning of the summer), the band were ready as ever to put on a show to the record-breaking crowd. Favourites such as ‘Men’s Needs’ and ‘Come On Be A No One’ sent the crowd wild as teens are pushed against the barrier, rife with the fear of suffocation, while the touching words of ‘Be Safe’ was a highlight of the set, which was later deemed one of the band’s best ever.

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As Sunday arrived, so did the hangovers. The ultimate cure came in the form of King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys… We’re all sceptical too, it’s not the most convincing of names. Then, so-called Kings of Swing brightened moods, along with the hefty concoction of excitement for headliners The Darkness and cheap beer, with even more tanked up, still-costumed fans turning up towards the end of the set. It’s clear that rain doesn’t stop play here. Y Not’s friendly atmosphere and line-up highlights set it aside from the rest. It’s not just any old ‘small’ festival, it’s the best out there.

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Charlotte Stones

photos: Braden Fletcher

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