If I learnt one thing from YO1 festival, it’s that when queuing reaches a certain saturation society breaks down completely, replacing all conceptions of manners and tolerance with pure desire. Not the lesson I was expecting to learn from York’s premier music festival’s second carnation, but nevertheless, I feel my jostling abilities have significantly improved over the last 12 hours thanks to what was an enjoyable experience, only slightly spoilt by what will probably be remembered as the “queue-pocalypse” of 2013.
YO1’s website described the location of the Knavesmire with: “if you’re from York, you’ll know where it is. Kind of.” Surprisingly, this proved insufficient for locating the festival; a rather better system of signposting was to follow the stream of girls who couldn’t decide whether YO1 dress code was all-out glasto or a rather flowery Bangers and Mash. This eventually took me through the gates of the racecourse itself and into a surprisingly large grassy enclosure which would prove more than capable of holding the crowds, and much to everyone’s angst, could have comfortably held a few extra bars and food outlets too.
For the first few hours it was business as usual. A steady stream of people entering the grounds come 2pm meant a decent crowd jigged along to The Marzec Group’s reliable grooves on a slightly behind schedule afternoon. DJ Yoda really got people moving to a fantastic combination of bass and classics (nothing makes me lose my shit faster than Toto’s ‘Africa’), whilst all around the festival a wonderful blend of genres was making sure there was something for all ages represented.
So far nothing but sunshine and smiles. However as more people started joining in on the fun it all started to change. Not so much at the stages themselves – which apart from perhaps the Bison stage were all perfectly sized for their expected capacities – instead, slowly but surely queues started emerging around the festival. By early evening beer, food and relieving oneself became a mission I only associate with unpleasant places like airports, conferences and French service stations.
What was perhaps most painful about this services shortage was that, once you got what you desired, it was so good. The range and quality of food on offer was some of the best I’ve experienced at any festival. The facilities were clean and well-stocked and the extensive range of ales at very reasonable prices meant that the bars should have been cleaning up. But due to a simple miscalculation of supply and demand it wasn’t quite as mutually satisfying as it should have been.
It’s just upsetting when an event has things so right but at the same time just falls short in overall deliverance. In fact, had half as many people turned up, this could well have been the perfect small festival. Perhaps that is more along the lines of what the YO1 organisers were expecting turnout to be, but with no tickets available on the door, it seems that if anything YO1 was only stumped by its own success. Let’s hope it learns from this year’s shortcomings and delivers what it truly deserves to in the future.