Undeniably, some of the best new and upcoming festivals this country has to boast have emerged in the most unsuspecting, picturesque corners of the UK, and namely Y Not is at the peak of that list after winning ‘UK Festival Award for Best Medium-Sized Festival’ last year. With Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Madness, The Hives, The Cribs, Catfish and The Bottlemen and Editors all given main stage headlining slots for the weekend, you don’t need a prize to know this festival is all about putting band music on a pedestal, and as it all began focusing solely on nothing other than music and good times, Y Not has done well to keep this at the centre of its essence.
This leads me on to This Feeling, a rock and roll club night dedicated to supporting and putting on new and up-and-coming bands from across the UK, which this year hosted The Allotment Stage in conjunction with Jack Rocks Events by Jack Daniels. Anyone half interested in uncovering some awe-inspiring new music before it hits the fan was in the right place, and naturally we found ourselves spending all of our weekend there. Creating a home for bands up and down the land, the club has been described by Noel Gallagher himself as “The best club in the UK for future rock and roll stars”; in fact he was heard on the Sunday mainstage giving a shoutout to the This Feeling/Jack Rocks tent during his headline set. Needless to say, it’s taken off and similarly have a number of bands that have been under it’s radar recently.
Causing a stir among the organisers just as much as they were the crowd, The Shimmer Band were the last band of the weekend to play the tent. Clashing with Sunday night’s mainstage headliner (The Madness) was not an issue for the dynamic five-piece – although the tent was packed all weekend, TSB’s climatic end to the weekend had The Allotment particularly heaving. Describing their sound as Psychedelic/Pop/Krautrock and as a definite ringleader in the re-emerging psychedelic scene, the band’s memorable ‘Shoot Me (Baby)’ track also rings elements of Brit Pop vocals with lyrics that will radiate through your brain for the entire festival. Likewise, Hidden Charms success has soared since Spindle previously caught up with the four in April last year, and after a testing handful of months the group have not lost an inch of their character that made them stand out from the start. If anything it’s spurred them on, with a number of new tracks added to their electrifying set alongside their recent single ‘Cannonball’. Some of their 60’s inspired L.A. influences have helped to define their infectious sound, which coupled with their enigmatic rock riffs has pushed Hidden Charms onto creating something uniquely unforgettable that can engage with the masses. It’s not only their records that have been airing on the likes of BBC Radio 1 that will catch your attention, the band are just as impressive live. Ending in a heap on the floor, their energy on stage is palpable.
White Room, who have recently began attracting the heed of many lucky enough to stumble across them, quickly became one of our highlights of the weekend. Swallowing up the space on the stage, right up to sitting on the light riggings above, frontman of the band Jake Smallwood is an entertainer and performer just as much as he is a vocalist. Do not be duped their youthful appearances and fun-loving nature, they will literally knock you off your feet by the time their finished with you. Speaking of hanging off the light riggings, CABBAGE, a Mancunian neo post-punk fivesome offered possibly one of the most ruthless and wild performances to ever come out of 2016. Giving the impression that they don’t really care what anyone thinks – including you nor me – Cabbage just get up and do it, and they do it with utter conviction.
After garnering an influx of attention after playing three stages at this summer’s Isle of Wight Festival, Paves‘ future is looking promising as the modern day answer to vintage rock-and-roll. With blues, folk and some heavily-rock rooted new tracks on the list, the band that once turned heads of locals in small London pubs now sells out their own shows and captivates entire crowds during their festival sets. Standing out for their unusual grouping of various influences, Mike Whitaker’s effortlessly powerful electric riffs will blow you away while Luke Shield’s charming mystique can also instantly switch to overwhelming and powerfully resounding vocals that will send shivers. With lyrics that are both distinctive and idiosyncratic, Paves will abduct your imagination as well as your eardrums.
And anyone who said rock ‘n’ roll had to be an all boys club should look no further than Black Honey and Bang Bang Romeo, two girl-fronted bands that completely dominated the Allotment stage with their impressively memorable sets. Headlining the tent on Friday night, Black Honey’s Izzy B Phillips is a real crowd pleaser as she jumps back and forth from the stage to the audience throughout, making the kind of connection with onlookers that other bands often struggle to keep up. All the while maintaining the catchy vocals and riffs that have been stuck in our heads since we last saw her play at Tramlines the weekend before, there’s something slightly punk’ed up in her attitude as she sings “I just want to have a good time”. Elsewhere, Anastasia Walker’s voice of Bang Bang Romeo will leave you asking yourself if you ever heard a female vocalist as strikingly powerful since the industry was putting out of someone Soul’s most celebrated female vocalists. Totally profound and all-consuming, you’ll leave the vicinity a different person than you were when you walked in.
To get your early bird tickets for 2017, visit www.ynotfestivals.co.uk.