This article was originally featured on the One&Other website.
The festival season is now slowly creeping upon us and what better way to kick it off with York’s very own YO1. Situated in York’s very own Racecourse artists crossing all genres were present. With seven stages there was seemingly something for everyone.
The Aspire TV stage hosted various activities throughout the day; including regular performances from York’s breakdance. A particular highlight of this stage was Beth McCarthy. Fresh from her performances on the BBC talent show The Voice she showcased singing ability that proved she’s destined for big things.
The next stage was the one ran by BBC Radio York and eponymously named the BBC Radio York stage. This hosted some lesser known acts, but they sure did deliver with Joe La Pop and Game Theory (not the 1980s Power Pop band) being a particular highlight.
The Bison Coffee stage provided excellent tunes as well as their excellent coffee. Wolf Solent was there to provide his own brand of rock, which was perfectly timed for the sun’s appearance from behind its cloudy mask. As well as Bison Coffee there was a range of other food and beverage outlets. Stonegate’s own House of Trembling Madness provided some alcoholic beverages in the form of their craft beer festival and with those who fancied something a bit more summery Speakeasy Libations provided cocktails. The food aspect was certainly well catered for where there being something for everyone’s tastes. Whether it was pizza, fish and chips, pulled pork subs or kebabs you were covered.
Streatza’s mobile Jamaican food was perfectly placed next to the reggae tent, named Irie Vibes. Entering this tent you often witnessed several dreadlocked men bobbing their heads to the sounds of Dandy Deleon’s, Bangarang and the Dub Barn collective.
The Please Please You tent provided the rock sound with headlining act Pulled Apart by Horses proving why they are one of the best live acts around at the moment. As well as the Leeds based rockers we also heard a set from Brighton based surf psych based band The Wytches.
For those who wanted to dance there were two stages available, the Ministry of Sound stage and the Flux stage. With DJs present throughout the day on both stages, those inside at one time must of witnessed their fellow festival goer attempting to dance with both hands full of DiamondDogs hot dog and a beer from the beer tent. Judging by the crowd size Waze and Odyssey (Flux Stage) were a particular highlight with entrants to the tent instantaneously feeling the need to dance like no one was watching.
For me and seemingly the rest of the audience though, the jewel in the YO1 crown was the Nightvision Stage. This started off strong with Renegade Brass Band and Sound Sci. Soundsci were reminiscent of an old school hip hop sound that we were destined to hear later, but they were an excellent appetiser for what was to come. Next up was the Abstract Hip Hop orchestra. Two different areas of music entirely: the gritty sound of hip hop and the high class sound of orchestral music, but the Abstract Hip Hop Orchestra did it well. They also dedicated a song to deceased producer J Dilla, a particular favourite of a group we will talk about later.
Further up the bill (but not high enough in my opinion) was Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. Playing songs from their earlier work, Pip’s solo album and their new album it seemed the crowd knew them all, singing along and relishing any opportunity for audience participation with the duo. Their final song ended with Dan le Sac solo providing a soundtrack to a light show that consumed the tent, covering it flashing reds and white which the crowd loved. Scroobius Pip implored everyone to stick around for the next act, citing that as the main reason everyone had come. From the size of the crowd it could be correct as De La Soul hit the stage.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of their seminal 3 Feet High and Rising album it was their intention to show the crowd some “good music, not like some of the bad music that’s out there at moment”. It seemed everyone was ready to hear some good music, with the audience filled with teenagers to parents holding their headphone wearing babies. As well as playing newer songs they delved into 3 Feet High and Rising with performances of “The Magic Number” and “Me, Myself and I”. The latter surely gets the award for best audience participation of the day, from where I was standing it seemed everyone (except the babies) knew the words and were more than happy to rap along with De La Soul.
With that amount of audience participation and love for the act it’s somewhat a mystery why they weren’t made headliners. That duty was instead given to Sub Focus. The English electronic producer showed why he headlined the Radio 1 Dance Stage at Reading and Leeds last year with a set that got the crowd going well into the night.
The festival season will now continue through the summer but YO1 will certainly be a hard act to follow in the stakes of crowd enjoyment.