'We've still got tinnies and mates'
Cai Trefor

16:06 31st July 2017

Music fans at Y Not Festival have shared their experience of dealing with culled sets, a cancelled last day and severe mud conditions exclusively with Gigwise.

The decision made to pull the plug on the event, which is held annually in the Derbyshire Dales, entirely on the last day was made after festival organisers put the safety of its festival goers at the forefront. “The potential risks are too severe for Sunday to go ahead,” they said on their website.

"On Saturday night it became increasingly clear conditions were deteriorating and at midnight there was not one agency which felt it was safe to continue," director John Grape told the BBC.

The cancellation was made after weather-induced problems had already blighted people's experience thourghout the weekend. The first major news was The Vaccines having their headline set cut. They took to Twitter to explain saying they were told it “wasn’t safe” to play but wanted to. 

The cancellation wasn’t exactly abrupt. It was announced after the main stage was running at a reduced capacity anyway. A man named Jimi told Gigwise: “A couple of bands we saw on the mainstage on Friday had 15 minute sets instead of 45 minute sets.” He also told us The Magic Gang, who were supposed to be on one of the other stages, also didn’t play. His friend Oli affirmed: "the weather was really bad on Friday."

(the arduous task of carrying heavy camping gear in thick mud)

Saturday went much more to plan, didn't rain, and everyone scheduled for the main stage that day played. But some fans at the site felt communication issues blighted the relative success.

Oli told Gigwise: “They pushed everything forward on Saturday by a couple of hours to try and miss the rain. We missed a lot of stuff because we didn’t know what time things were on. If you were sat in your camp, you wouldn't know until you got to the arena that they'd been pushed back."

In addition to big flashing screen in the main arena that detailed the change in set times on the day, the festival used social media and their website to inform people of the changes. But those who did not have signal or opted not to check their phones or go down early to the arena would have been caught out and missed some of their bands.

Nevertheless, Stereophonics played and managed to be the only headliner to do so the entire weekend. This reality that two of the main band hadn't played prompted Jimi, who was wearing a Two Door Cinema Club t-shirt, to call out for a refund; “It should be substantial,” he said.

The BBC reports that the festival will say in the “coming days" whether there will be refunds or not.

Another group of people at their camp - Matt, Jimi, Rory, Becca, Hannah and Naomi - who came to Y Not because "the line-ups well good," or "because Kendal was sold out" chose to speak to Gigwise about the logistical problems the mud caused.

“A festival should be easy to get about but it's like you’re going on an outdoor adventure and took ages to get anywhere," they said. "We wish there was more woodchip on the walkways.”
Jimi added: “There were loads of cars were getting stuck in the mud and I imagine this would be a problem for the emergency services and a main reason to cancel. I feel that due to the bad weather forecast perhaps more could have put flooring down though. We've seen worse weather at other festivals and it's not been cancelled.”

Festival director John Grape told the BBC that organisers had not been caught out by the conditions and that they had 80 tonnes of woodchip to firm up soggy ground. Gigwise has asked the organisers for a response to the opinion that there was a lack of preparation by punters and we are awaiting an answer.

The treacherous conditions also had an impact on the general atmosphere. There was a bleakness across much of the festival site even before Sunday, according to a source. 

When asked if they felt there were less people about even before it was cancelled Naomi said: "A lot of people would have gone home. You couldn't walk about. These people just down from us had their tents got flooded out and went home."

Despite all the chaos, and our interviewees being people who've just been told that their favourite bands aren't going to be playing, the optimism among them is admirable. 

Jimi and Oli, who we first spoke to on Sunday morning (30 July), said they were going to stay despite the cancellation as their bus is booked for Monday. "We're all camped up we've still got tinnies," they said with a skip in their step.

A girl who was experiencing her first ever proper camping festial, added: "I've had the best weekend ever because of my mates and we've made it good. I'd come again."

Whilst these punters are blessed with an attitude that makes the most of things the mounting pressure for refunds from punters is strong evidence that what was supposed to be a fun weekend has been one of mounting stress, especially if you came by car:

(A volunteer working tirelessly to help)

(The campsite footpaths were among the muddiest areas)

(Calm after the storm)

Photo: Shaun Gordon