YO1 Festival review – fantastic music, great food, shame about the queues

Colin Rowntree playing the blues in the Bison Coffee Tent. Photographs: YorkMix
6 May 2013 @ 11.59 am
| Entertainment
Colin Rowntree playing the blues in the Bison Coffee Tent. Photographs: YorkMix
Colin Rowntree playing the blues in the Bison Coffee Tent. Photographs: YorkMix

Review: YO1 Festival
Venue: Knavesmire, May 5

This second year of the YO1 Festival aimed to increase its popularity with a more central venue and higher-profile acts. It delivered on both, but with problems.

Billed as a festival of music, street food and ales – and building on last year’s low-key family event at Askham Bryan College – we (three adults and three children aged seven to 11) set off excitedly in the rare spring sunshine. By the time we hit York Racecourse at 2pm and sped past the already lengthy entry queue, a cooler wind was blowing in.

Straight to the bouncy castle – that’s kids for you! Not enough bounce was the verdict and glum faces all round. Actually I think we were had on that score, since anything smaller than the Minster would have under-performed.

Keeping the kids happy - pretty much the only family-friendly element of the festival
Keeping the kids happy – pretty much the only family-friendly element of the festival

Next to the Bison Coffee Tent to hear local blues-brother Colin Rowntree. Kids whinging, but we enjoyed a very raw and earthy set from down-to-earth lad. @Mosborne93 was wowed by his “most beautiful guitar I have ever seen” – a Resonator apparently. He made great use of it too!

 

Expensive-but-lovely YorVale ice creams in to keep the kids happy(ish). Us adults made a break for the beer tent. This proved to be a good move as the queues were already lengthening. Older kids despatched and on to the Main Stage to see (hear) DJ Yoda.

Now I don’t dance, for obvious reasons, and I had a seven-year-old on my shoulders, but you would have to have been dead not to move to his set. Hit after hit. Everything from the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, through Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five to A Tribe Called Quest. Seamless and a bit of Mario in the middle lit my son’s face up!

Next some more beer. Clearly we are not true alcoholics as we were not prepared to join an hour-long rugby scrum to enjoy a pint. At least this would reduce the time spent queueing for the toilets! Skip the beer and head back to the Main Tent to hear 2013 Brit Award shortlisted AlunaGeorge. Bright, heart-warming and appreciated by a hungry crowd. You Know You Like it particularly hit the spot.

AlunaGeorge -  a typical festival phone-photo from the back!
AlunaGeorge – a typical festival phone-photo from the back!

Thinking of food, we all split up and joined our respective queues. Large hot dog for Freddie (£3), 10″ margarita pizza for the girls (£5) and fantastic fish and chips in three different batters – plain, lemon and chilli and black pepper and sea salt (£5). All excellent quality and reasonable value.

A final visit to the Irie Vibes Stage over on the quiet West side of the site. A half-an-hour chillout in the sweet-smelling fog surrounding the tent dancing to Channel One’s reggae mix. Another well-appreciated set.

YO1 Festival - happy music-seakers enjoy the late afternoon sun on the Knavesmire
YO1 Festival – happy music-seakers enjoy the late afternoon sun on the Knavesmire

By now the kids were running out of patience and with no prospect of more drinks this side of the bank holiday, we bugged out early. Rudimental clearly far out-of-reach for this family, we headed home.

Our verdict? Loads of fantastic tunes of every shape and colour. Lovely food. Great beer (if you could get any). But the recurring word in all of this was “queue”. So much effort had clearly gone into the day and it would be a shame if this festival does not become a permanent feature on the York events calendar.