During the national Covid-19 lockdown live music and gigs came to a standstill as venues shut and the population observed government guidelines. The You Are Not Alone (YANA) Festival will be one of the first UK music festivals to take place post Covid-19. The Manchester event will take place on Sunday 29th November and is an all day festival held across several venues throughout the City. With over fifty performers not including secret sets, the £10 ticket looks to be an absolute bargain. YANA is being held in conjunction with and to raise awareness for MIND, a mental health charity.
Event organiser Ben Taylor is no stranger to promoting gigs and festivals having worked with such names as The Courteeners, The 1975 and The Foals at various venues including Night & Day, Sound Control, Jimmy’s and Manchester Roadhouse. Ben explains that the festival was due to take place earlier this year:
“The festival was actually due to take place at the end of March this year, but with the virus hitting I made the decision to move to the end of November. The whole purpose of YANA is to raise money for Manchester Mind, create an inclusive environment full of love and great music, and to encourage people to talk about their mental health. The charity do such an amazing job, and with Coronavirus causing a huge rise in anxiety, we knew they’d be stretched to their limits. Moving the festival was a no brainer really, we want it to be a safe and fun place for everyone, punters, crew, artists etc.”
Manchester MIND, the charity in which the festival is supporting is something Ben feels passionately about:
“I’ve huge love and respect for everyone at Manchester Mind. They’ve delivered 30 years of mental health support for local people, and strive daily to make mental health more aware. It’s something that needs to be more recognised, it affects most people in some part of their lives, whether it be yourself or family and friends.
In the space of 18 months, I lost 4 friends to suicide. It knocked me a lot. I felt I wanted and needed to help, and the best way I could was to put on a fundraiser, which then turned into a multi-venue festival over night.
Straight away I knew I wanted to do this for Manchester Mind. One quick conversation and it was happening. something else, sold out event, the sun was shining, lots of smiling faces and we raised just under £3000 for the charity.”
Jess Kemp, a Manchester based singer - songwriter who has a new single Matter Of Time out on the 3rd of July, is performing at YANA Fest with her full band and is one of the must-see acts
“I for one am so excited to get up on that stage and play again” she says.”If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has given me the time to regroup my ideas and thoughts and there’s lots of exciting things in the pipeline. It will be mega to get up on stage again at YANA, especially with my full band.”
Both Jess and festival organiser Ben Taylor imagine that the atmosphere will be incredible at the Festival.
“It’s going to be amazing. So much energy has been held in and mustered up throughout these times, so to be able to drop all of that into a huge Manchester all day-er is going to be ace! I can’t wait!” comes from Jess and Ben is equally as hyped “The thought that it could be the first festival post pandemic fills me with a lot of joy, yeah very proud of that. Just to see some sort of live show right now would be the one. I know everyone is missing the buzz of catching bands. I expect the atmosphere to be very lively, very grateful and very exciting. I can’t wait.”.
Other performers at the festival are Hates Talking, Lucy Gaffney, The Clause, Freeda, Cobain Jones and dozens of others.
Keep an eye out next week for details on how you can win a pair of tickets to YANA Fest.