There's something uniquely liberating about the first evening of a festival; inhibitions are cast off and comedowns are yet to set in; respective sites aren't yet sullied by beer cans and half-eaten burgers, and the toilets aren't something you enter at your own risk. It's a rare twelve hour window where people still look and smell their best and there's no-one wandering around pallid and sweaty, bedecked in a sleeping bag whilst trying to shake off last night's Jager haze. Couple this with the rural idyll of Pikehall in the beautiful Peak District, not to mention a couple of quality opening bands, and Thursday's at Y-Not Festival are an absolute winner.
With tent successfully pitched and armed with a bottle of gin and tonic, we decide to explore this year's site, heading roughly in the direction of the Quarry stage for Thursday night headliners, Ash. Though little has changed in terms of the size of the festival, its scope has increased noticeably since last year, with The Octopuses Garden offering more in the way of stalls and small stages. With nothing on offer yet however, we head to The Quarry and arriving to an already heaving tent, decide to watch from the periphery, perched on the side of a giant sea turtle.
Providing us with a 15 song strong set, they play what proves to be one of the longer sets of the weekend, taking in tracks from across their career and most likely turning on host of younger punters on to the joys of their pre-'Burn Baby Burn' material. Folk-punker Beans on Toast meanders past at one point, posing for a photograph with a couple before asking if they had any weed, perfectly epitomising the type of festival Y-Not is - the kind where bands can wander around freely without being swamped with autograph requests, comfortable enough to ask strangers for a smoke. Ash finish up with an excellent double-header of 'Girl From Mars' and the aforementioned 'Burn Baby Burn', closing the first night of the festival in fantastic style. Making our way back to the tent it's clear that people are already in well in to the spirit of things; The Octopuses Garden now throbbing with good vibes and basslines whilst Sgt Peppers Meadow hums with sound of bumper cars and a rollerdisco. We opt for an early night however, knowing full well that a clear head will serve us far better tomorrow than a dry mouth and bleary eyes.