Y Not Festival returned to the Peak District on 27th – 30th July with another huge year celebrating their sixteenth edition. Weekend headliners ROYAL BLOOD, KASABIAN, PAUL WELLER and Thursday’s headliners BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB were joined by a host of brilliant acts across the four days including: THE WOMBATS, JAMES, DMA’S, CIRCA WAVES, MAISIE PETERS, EVERYTHING EVERYTHING, SEA GIRLS, THE PIGEON DETECTIVES, THE REYTONS, THE LATHUMS, THE CHARLATANS, MYSTERY JETS, SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR, JAMIE WEBSTER, KT TUNSTALL, CMAT, YONAKA, BILLY NOMATES and many more.
Kicking off the weekend in front of a beautiful sunset, BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB took to the Big Gin stage (main stage) on Thursday 27th July. Playing tracks from their lauded album I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose, the crowd came alive to tracks like ‘Always Like This’ and ‘Evening / Morning’. Friday 28th then welcomed rock duo ROYAL BLOOD with their heavy riffs and striking light show, drawing a huge crowd of head-banging fans.
With their striking and boisterous brand of powerful yet playful guitar music, KASABIAN blew the top off of the Big Gin stage on Saturday 29th. Front man Serge said, “This has been a beautiful Saturday night at Y Not Festival. This is why we do this, for crowds like you, so thank you!”. The set list did not disappoint, moving through smash hits ‘Club Foot’, ‘Shoot The Runner’, ‘LSF’ and closing out on a tremendous bang with ‘Fire’. This is a set punters will reminisce about for many years to come.
PAUL WELLER closed the weekend on Sunday 30th with songs spanning his illustrious career, from his days with The Jam and his successful solo work that followed. Weller chose to pay tribute to the late Sinead O’Connor during his set, dedicating ‘Broken Stones’ to his “sister in song”. This was Weller’s first appearance at Y Not, and was certainly a show for the festival’s history books.
Revving up the crowd on Friday, local band THE REYTONS took to the Big Gin stage after the great success of their debut album Kids Off The Estate and latest, 2023 album What’s Rock And Roll?. A big stage upgrade from their last performance at the festival, frontman Jonny Yerrell exclaimed, “We played in a tiny tent last time, but we’ve worked our way up and now we’re on the main stage! We’re currently travelling around the world doing what we love and that’s thanks to people like you, backing this band. Let’s have it Y Not!”.
The Big Gin stage on Saturday brought us a superstar and national sweetheart, SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR, who got the crowd moving left and right, even extending to dance routines which looked just like a flash mob: “It’s such a pleasure to be here at Y Not! What a lovely festival – so much fun. Let’s break the ice and do a routine together”. Garnering much adoration for her kitchen disco during lockdown, Ellis-Bextor brought her children onto the stage for her final song ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’.
Stepping out to a packed out tent at The Quarry later that day, Dublin act Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson AKA CMAT treated the Derbyshire crowd to a completely different second half to their set than originally planned, this time “digging deep into our country music repertoire”. With her entrancing, theatrical style, CMAT captured the audience, as she declared, “If I could stay on this stage for another 3 and a half hours I absolutely would, as you lot are the best!”.
Closing The Quarry on Sunday night, SEA GIRLS returned to Y Not festival to a huge tent bursting with energy. They performed brand new song ‘Weekends And Weekdays’, ahead of its official release in August, as well as fan favourites ‘Ready For More’, ‘Closer’ and ‘Call Me Out’.
Y Not 2023 also saw many firsts, with local band SHADOWS OF A SILHOUETTE playing their first ever main stage performance, and Liverpudlian act RED RUM CLUB debuted new track ‘Black Cat’. THE PIGEON DETECTIVES’ leading man Matt Bowman covered impressive ground on the Big Gin stage, jumping from speaker to speaker, and filling the Derbyshire field with joyous indie energy. Other highlights from across the weekend include pop star on-the-rise MAISIE PETERS, Y Not Band App winners THE DEEP BLUE and British rockers CRAWLERS.
Thank you so much to everyone who joined us at Y Not 2023 – we’re always so grateful for the support from our customers year after year, and you all made this edition of the festival feel so special. It’s been an incredible event, starting early with Thursday headliners Bombay Bicycle Club, and welcoming Royal Blood, Kasabian and Paul Weller to the Big Gin Stage over the weekend. There was so much local talent and up-and-comers on our stages this year – it feels like a really exciting time for new music, and we’re so happy to champion that. Thank you for standing by us – see you in 2024!Jason Oakley, Managing Director at Y Not Festival