The first thing to be said about this festival is that it is VERY family friendly. It's actively encouraged, and in fact, we may have been the only couple there who didn't have kids with us. That said, the atmosphere and setting are both fantastic and with just a 6,000 capacity, a large proportion of which are more interested in playing swingball or making cardboard swords and shields than watching the music, getting up close and personal with any of the acts is hassle free.

Starting at 4 pm on the Friday and finishing at 4 pm on Sunday, the bands occupy 4 stages, and with very few clashes between them, you can see pretty much all you want to see on the always impressive lineup.


The action started in earnest with the wonderful Teleman followed by Woman's Hour, both only playing for a criminally short half an hour each, but going down well nevertheless. Fiona Jane from Woman's Hour exudes a cool calmness into their music, despite the heat in the tent.

Friday threw up what turned out to be my band of the festival, and surprise of the festival. Toy were my highlight, their hypnotic kraut rock style was blistering on the fabulous sound system of the main stage under the equally blistering sun, mainly playing songs from latest album Join The Dots. Then came my surprise of the weekend, especially as I had compromised by giving Wolf Alice a miss due to the one direct clash. Dan le Sac vs Scoobius Pip headlined a packed Lodge Stage, and they had the place jumping. The thumping baselines over which Scroobius Pip raps was both thrilling and exciting, and his banter with the family audience was hilarious.....he reckons the gig took the world record for the most kids on parents shoulders they had played to...

Closing the first night were the ubiquitous British Sea Power, doing as usual what BSP do. Even the two dancing bears in the audience had a good time.


Saturday dawned even hotter than Friday, and it meant having to vacate the tent by about 9am to avoid the personal sauna, so into the arena for breakfast and first band of the day in the stifling Dock Stage, Post War Glamour Kids from Leeds. Post - punk indie is on offer, and a wake up call to those with a morning head.

Raglans on the main stage provided anthemic Irish sing alongs and again woke up a dozy audience. They were followed by the fabulous Eliza & The Bear. An indie band with tunes. Looking forward to a date for their debut album.

We then spent the afternoon attempting to keep out of the sun, so we were hopping about between the shady tented stages and saw Sam Airey, Samantha Crain and We Were Evergreen.

Our first trip to the Obelisk Stage was for the 7pm show of Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls. The hour flew by with a mix of nostalgic Wonderstuff oldies and his equally good solo songs. His storytelling and anecdotes were entertaining and I don't mind admitting that this West Midlands boy had a tear in his eye as he left the stage to a rapturous standing ovation.

Paper Aeroplanes were pleasant and quiet in comparison, but we were building ourselves up to the main act of the weekend....

The legend that is Johnny Marr took to the main stage in front of the biggest crowd so far, and opened with Panic. Those of us middle aged watching went nuts....

Looking the part in sharp suits, the band tore through a mixture of tracks from solo album The Messenger, and a generous amount of Smiths classics such as Bigmouth Strikes Again and Stop Me If You Think You Have Heard This One Before. The last track of the main set was There Is A Light That Never Goes Out......guess how that felt...?

The three encores were : Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, I Fought The Law and How Soon Is Now. Fantastic, amazing, emotional, rapturous....

Just before leaving the stage, Johnny instructed that the night was young and to go enjoy ourselves, so we did, back at the Obelisk Stage.

Keston Cobblers Club provided the afterhours entertainment, with their Leisure Society-like folk and we danced into the early hours.


Sunday is always the pack up and come down day, but there were still a couple of bands on the must see list.

Sheffield's Slow Club played the Lodge Stage, with mainly stuff from their fabulous new album Complete Surrender. A fabulous performance, really engaging and appreciative of the still large crowd.

Then finally, Stornoway closed the weekend with their Main Stage appearance. Nice way to finish a festival, not too demanding of the weary punters in the still intense heat.

I'm not sure I've ever been so hot or tired after a festival, but it was well worth it. Excellent bands, food, drink (beer provided by the always excellent York brewery) and this year, exceptional weather.

Keith @kjsmith4082