Y Not Festival 2014

1380303_10151953411554334_914965449_nweb1-3 August
Pikehall, Derbyshire

“Is that a meat sheep?” was one of a series of curious, unrelenting questions from a very animated Titch, one half of mash-up merchants Squire of Gothos and key proponent of the city’s most prolific rave collectives, Off Me Nut Records. Only twenty minutes or so from Eccy Road and we found ourselves negotiating the tree-lined country lanes of Derbyshire, having answered a last-minute mercy call to transport the aforementioned illustrious DJ and his unfeasibly large suitcase of expensive analogue gear to this year’s Y Not Festival.

Nine years young and born out of a group of like-minded mates getting together to party in a disused quarry, Y Not has evolved into an award-winning festival that has retained its homegrown roots in spite of the international headline artists it now attracts.

But we’re not interested in the standard, main stage festival shtick this weekend. Instead, there is the enigmatic allure of Sheffield-based events organisers Tribe of Xanadu and their ever-expanding offer to get to grips with. Initial confusion reigns as a difference in opinion between what constitutes an octopus and a squid prevents an expeditious arrival to the stage at which Titch is due to perform. After learning that the venue for his set is unrelated to any form of cephalopods, Titch is despatched to a camper van themed spaceship in Area 51 to prepare for his impending, live acid techno rave shenanigans.


As well as the UFO stage, Xanadu consists of its main tent, the dark and small but perfectly formed Bassweight area, and the rustic, shambolic charm of the Hog and Barrel’s cider sodden hay bales. The majority of these are populated by so many familiar Sheffield characters over the whole weekend that it feels as though the city has been lifted up and planted in a field near Matlock.

There are some heady vibes going down in Bassweight from bashment and dancehall specialists Clarks, but the Friday night party only really gets started when K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade take to the main Xanadu stage en masse. Unleashing a tsunami of infective and diverse rhythms, the nine-piece feed off a frenzied but good natured capacity crowd, none more so than charismatic front men, Franz Von and Kweku, whose lyrical interplay and audience interaction genuinely puts them in a league of their own.

Saturday is largely spent dipping in and out of Xanadu’s varied delights, including samples of traditional festival pursuits like dodgems, swings, helter skelter, gyroscope and, erm, roller disco, Dubcentral’s Mr Meerkat happily and expertly soundtracking our occasional need to shelter from the elements.


However, we then hear whispers of a covert, hedonistic retreat and it is this potential nirvana that we set our sights upon. Following extensive enquiries, two sweet elderly ladies beckon us into a tent where we discover all manner of mania to be had, behind and beyond an inconspicuous book case.

Within this secret pleasure palace, we firstly bear witness to Skillz back to back with Dr Cryptic, a toxic combination with classic garage and early bassline goodness being dropped left, right and centre, before Nottingham’s Tumble Audio take over with a cavalcade of old skool grime anthems that ignite an outbreak of crowd surfing, our love for this particular Xanadu concoction having now been truly cemented.

There is no competition in terms of where to round off a glorious weekend and that is right back in the thick of things, our dedication rewarded with a dubplate specials and jungle mix from A-Kid, warming up a slightly smaller and younger but no less enthusiastic crowd for Sheffield bass stalwart Alex Deadman, who has even more exclusive dubs and dubplates to showcase, including a well-timed and respectful nod to K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade. Y Not indeed.

Words: Wayne Hoyle
Images: Tribe of Xanadu



1 comment

  1. One of the superior items i’ve read in the week.

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