Some of us would never dream of taking the kids to a music festival. Y Not Festival has changed my mind. Kids at festivals have an enviable amount of fun. 2018 has seen festivals step up the family-friendly area everywhere with Oxford’s Common People and London’s Citadel also pulling out all the stops for parents with young children.
Y-Not got a bad rap last year, having to shut down on the final day due to mud and poor organisation. Still, I returned for a seventh year because this small Peak District festival keeps pulling me back. It’s not so small any more, with the sell-out capacity increasing from 15,000 in 2015 to around 30,000 this year. Nonetheless, while it gets bigger, the quality of the activities and calibre of the music gets better. While 2017 saw impossible queues from campsite to arena and very muddy wash out, 2018 was refreshingly much pleasanter. Losing out on the tail-end of July’s heatwave, the festival was washed out on day three but my high spirits said that could happen anywhere – no doubt Kendal Calling received the same downpour.
We rocked up and pitched our tent in the family camping area. While Black Dog and Whole Lotta Camping will see you shacked up nose-to-tent with your fellow campers, Family Camping is much more spacious, which made getting set up much less stressful. It’s the closest to the parking area too, which made us feel very smug. The earlier you arrive, the closer parking spot you’ll get. The best bit, which we didn’t realise until the following morning, there are early-morning activities on the family campsite – obviously because kids wake up hours before the rest of the festival-goers.
Keeping everyone entertained
Kids under 12 go free – if that isn’t a brilliant incentive, we don’t know what is. The family area is filled with all-day games, magic shows and much more. The Yellow Submarine is your regular hang out, with theatrical performances, pirate shows and a disco every evening. The Library tent gives way to chill time, while the Circus Tent will turn your tot into a master juggler or performer. The list really goes on. We were even able to catch Finding Dory at the Nighthawk Cinema – a great place for kids films during the daytime.
We know if won’t be possible to catch all the bands with young children in tow, but don’t dismiss enjoying any music all together. Make a plan for the day: make it a combination of music and kids’ activities. If the kids are up for seeing some music, ensure you arrive early and leave ten minutes before the end to avoid the crowd surge. Don’t forget ear defenders and may a pull-along trailer too.
The killer line-up
Hearing of the The Libertines string of disappointing shows, I arrived with my expectations in check. Pete and Carl stole the show on Friday, showing us as much Libertines love as when they first stormed the scene in the noughties. Manic Street Preachers preceded the main headliners with dedicated fans reminding me how much their favourite band hate playing festivals. They played their set tartly and left. It took Buzzcocks to remind me that bands from back then still love to play with as much gusto as ever with closing song ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ causing the crowd to erupt with energy. Spector were my new-found love with an eclectic set to a small crowd. Sunday saw the weather take a turn but we persisted for the sake of The Fat White Family and Shame who were both outstanding, as usual. Jamiroquai who was unfortunately switched off due to rain, with dismayed fans booing him off stage, despite it not being his fault the show had to stop. It was certainly the biggest line-up yet with returning old favourite Beans On Toast being discovered by a bunch of new fans and Sheffield’s Reverend and The Makers delivering their well-known bangers to a shouty local crowd on the Thursday preview.
All in all, Y-Not Festival came out on top this year. Coming up against it all weekend, the organisers really triumphed on last year, despite the weather on the final day. We left a happy family after a brilliant, fun-filled weekend.
If you need any more reasons, check out the 17 Things To Do With The Kids At Y-Not.
WHEN: 25-28 July, 2019
WHERE: Pikehall, Derbyshire
GREAT FOR: All the family
Book your tickets here for 2019. We really hope to see you there!