REVIEW: Y Not? Festival 2011

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IT might not be big, but it is certainly loud, and with the landscape of the country’s favourite national park as a backdrop, it is easy to see why Y Not? has firmly established itself on the UK festival circuit.

What started five years ago with a single scaffold stage in a disused quarry has evolved into Derbyshire’s biggest outdoor music festival, and something of a local institution.

And with 2010’s headliners including The Subways, The Mystery Jets and The Futureheads, it’s easy to see why it was nominated for the “Best Small Festival” at the 2010 UK Festival awards.

So what of 2011’s offering? With big indie names including The Go! Team, Maximo Park and Feeder heading the line up, and Manchester ska outfit Sonic Boom Six serving up a liberal dose of anti-authoritarian punk to the main stage scenesters, it was left to London-based beatboxing legend, Beardyman to put the cherry on top of a suprisingly diverse roster.

But like most festivals, the highlights are never confined to the biggest acts or the grandest stage, and as the sun set on the final night, another beatboxer, Unome, took to the front of a tented tea shop to give Beardyman a run for his money.

The astounding vocal invention of 29-year-old Oliver Pontefract filled the tent with awe-struck onlookers, who invariably found the exit as soon as his impromtu set had finished.

His lauded performance was more impressive, considering moments before he had been drumming on stage as part of 5-piece hip hop outfit, Burleskimo, who left the Octopus’ Garden area jumping with an impressive and eclectic half-hour set.

Frontman, Mike Curran, led the crowd into a frenzy with his delivery and confident stage presence, while vocalist, Louise Gold brought more than a bit of Erykah Badu to the proceedings with her perfectly composed and catchy hooks.

The deft guitar playing of Mark Villholm was evident throughout the set, and Edward Chester didn’t put a finger wrong on his five string bass.

Fans were left desperate for more after the undeniably short slot, but all were in agreement that the Sheffield-based group were a festival highlight who should return next year, but next time on a bigger stage.

For a festival that prides itself on being “small, fresh and loud”, Y Not? delivered on all counts, and with organisers looking to double the capacity for 2012, this event can only get louder.

Y Not? was on August 5 - 7 in a field in Pikehall, near Matlock. A weekend ticket cost £65 and included on site camping.