Festival Review: Y Not Fest 2016 - The Rise of the Medium Festival 29th - 31st July

WTH Blows Photographer and Live Reviewer Ant Adams diaries his four day experience at Y Not Festival 2016.

With events like Glastonbury, Reading and Download, it is getting harder and harder each year for the smaller events to shine through. They don't have the funds to get artists like Adele, and Ozzy, so to keep an audience interested in line up can be a huge struggle for the littler festivals. Or when you do have the line up in place, it is selling the tickets to fund that. Take Hevy as an example, Enter Shikari headlining and it still couldn't sell enough tickets. It was sad to see it go, however it shows how much of a struggle the music industry can be.

Which brings me to Y Not Festival, the rise of the festival foot soldier! Sold out, an amazing line up and an awesome atmosphere throughout the weekend which even a spot of rain couldn't ruin… despite setting up my tent during a down pour.

Y Not Festival - Day 1
IN PHOTOS:By The Rivers, Crosa Rosa, Duke Mercury, Milburn, Orchards, OTHERKIN, YVES
 I arrived at what I had estimated to be early on the Thursday purely to catch the headliners, the Coral,to find the festival pretty much full up already. Tents going on for what seemed like miles with many people having beat me there. I set up my tent and head off to see what the festival has to offer, even though most of it was officially kicking off the next day.

I spent most of my day slipping between two of the smaller stages, catching fresh bands like YVES, Crosa Rosa, Penelope Isles, and my favourite band of the day Duke Mercury. A two piece power house who reminded me of all the things I love about Biffy Clyro. Raw bitterness of fuzzy guitar pedals and top half nakedness! By then the sun was coming out, and Milburn were on next. AS soon as they walk onto the Main Stage the festival erupts and goes mental. Crowd surfing, as the crowd chants the band's name back to them. "Milburn! Milburn! Milburn!" Clearly these guys are festival favourites.

Finally it was time for the Coral, the band I turned up early for. Maybe I had hyped myself up a little bit too much for them, as I found their set lacking a bit character, however 'Dreaming of You' sent me conjured flashbacks of small indie club nights, so not all was lost.

Y Not Festival - Day 2
IN PHOTOS: Asylums, Babe Punch, Beasts, Black Honey, Editors, Everything Everything, INHEAVEN, Judas, KLOE, Nai Harvest, Suspect Alibi, The Cribs, The Shimmer Band

After my first night in a tiny tent, I cheer myself up with a fish finger sandwich and head over to the Quarry for the first time to catch Suspect Alibi, first of the BBC Introducing acts today on the Quarry stage, they provide a good indie upbeat start to my day. The Giant Squid stage wasn't open yesterday, so I decided to check out Babe Punch next, they look all cute and young at first but as soon as they start playing, the band are a firestorm of modern day riot grrl! I accidentally catch the band Judas twice today, and they pull off the same high energy performance both times. Beasts provide a brutal and strong performance back over at the Giant Squid stage, tearing apart the small stage as a three­piece.

The Quarry is rammed for INHEAVEN, who bring a sense of style plus a hint of old school rock and roll to the festival. The Main Stage is rather large, even for the average four piece it can be a struggle to fill it with yourself so to speak. So when KLOE takes the stage, by herself, I am impressed on how well she holds herself and controls the crowd throughout her set.

Despite the disappointment of  finding out Black Foxxes are no longer playing, I cheer myself up with a mild break for some chips before catching one of the last few performances of Nai Harvest before they split. It takes them a while to get a flow going, but towards the end of their set showed some energy.

The Jack Daniels Stage all weekend is a breeding ground for new up and coming bands, and Southend four piece the Asylums are certainly that. They are fun and modern but like nothing you have ever seen before. They are politely possessed as they take hold of that tent! Everything Everything take over the Main Stage with their individual take on pop music, and listening to 'Cough Cough' live was a major highlight at the weekend for me.

The Cribs drunkenly tear it up straight after, their sound always sounds so raw, and personally I'd consider them the modern kings of indie rock, especially after this festival appearance.
I have never been a major fan of the Editors but I catch the start of their headline set, and it is quite clear why they are top of the bill on this Friday. I then rush over to a pretty much already full Jack Daniels tent for Black Honey, there is a lot of talk about this band, but do they live up to the hype? Yes they bloody do! The tent is in chaos as the band takes us through an hour long set.

Y Not Festival Day 3
In Photos: Band Of Skulls, Blood Youth, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Circa Waves, Heck, Hello Operator, Milk Teeth, Moose Blood, Neck Deep, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Lucy Spraggan, The Amazons.

 It had up and until this point, been quite wet at Y Not this year, but  by Saturday morning the sun was already beaming full blast before I got out of my tent. I keep it steady first catching Holy Esque and then  The Amazons (both amazing bands) before I prepare my ear drums for Blood Youth, which provides me with my first mosh pit of the weekend.

Previous X Factor contestant, Lucy Spraggan, gets the biggest crowd of the weekend at the Quarry with fans from all ages. And it goes to show that you don't need Simon to make it. Fair enough she isn't headlining this stage but everyone in and around that tent absolutely love her.

Milk Teeth is always a band I keep missing live, so I made sure I checked them out at Y Not over at the Giant Squid tent. They live up to everything I have heard about them, a chaotic but beautiful mess of grunge.  Up next on my schedule is Heck... There comes that moment, right at the beginning of every Heck show, where in the crowd you feel you are about to die. Today was no exception. Absolute chaos, and festival security completely shit themselves. Even if Heck isn't your cup of tea, their live performance along is definitely worth paying for.

Catfish and the Bottlemen I have always written off as another hype band, however my opinion was completely changed when the hit the Main Stage. With the crowd instantly screaming back the lyrics to their songs, it was a Y Not Moment I think. Following that, Moose Blood lacked that little bit of energy that I would expect from them. But Band of Skulls on the other hand got me back up and running as they roared at the crowd with their bluesy vibes!

I also caught Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds who needs no introduction. His performance was strong and he ticks every box for the typical festival headliner. Then I rush over to catch Neck Deep at the Giant Squid stage, and to be honest I was surprised to see them playing in such a small tent. But the place is over flowing, pretty much every pop punk lover at the festival is trying to squeeze themselves into this tent.

By the point, the soles of my feet and my inner soul is starting to give up on me. But with just one day left, I just keep saying to myself. “Just keep swimming!”.

Y Not Festival - Day 4
IN PHOTOS: Arcane Roots, Bang Bang Romeo, Creeper, Gnarwolves, Kagoule, King Pleasures and the Biscuit Boys, Madness, Sunset Sons, The Decoy, The Hives, thoughts, Vant, Vaults.
I head down early to catch Kagoule on the main stage on Sunday, the last day of Y Not Festival, the band handle the stupidly hungover crowd well. But it is the Decoy that surprise me. Bringing so much energy into their set so early in the day. They will be a name on a lot of  people's lips when they leave this festival. Vant back over at the Main Stage handle themselves well with a strong performance, taking up every inch of the huge stage. Followed by a beautiful set by Vaults over at
the Quarry Stage.

Up and until this point, I had never heard of King Pleasures and the Biscuit Boys, however apparently they play Y Not Festival every year. So I go check them out and boy do they bring some style! Old school men playing a mixture of soul, r'n'b, and blues, with matching blue suits too. Follow that with Bang Bang Romeo, who left me shocked after their set. Lead singer Anastasia Walker's voice scares the hell out of me, but in a good way! The way they carry themselves, Bang Bang Romeo might as well have been headlining Glastonbury.

Creeper is another hype band I have been unsure about, but once again Y Not Festival changed that for me. It is in situations like this, when at festivals, bands like to bring their 'A Game' which Creeper certainly did this weekend. Gnarwolves get the award for the most loved band of the weekend and the loudest crowd sing along, while Arcane Roots pull off a beautiful set straight after. Musically they are just beyond everyone else.

The Hives are my main band of the weekend, they definitely showed that they could easily headline this event, with a 500mph performance throughout!  Unfortunately Blossoms were my let down of the weekend, looking lost on stage in a sea of dry ice.

As expected, Sunday night closers Madness, put on a legendary performance. Despite some people being here for almost four days now, the band manage to get everyone moving and dancing, making sure they see the last night of Y Not Festival off in style
And with that, my Y Not Festival was over, and to be honest Y Not, you were wet, hot, sticky and your toilet situation was beyond disgusting, but you were amazing! I'll see you next year for all of that again and more please!