Review: No Tomorrow Festival

Tom Bevan 11 June 2015

Arriving at Nottingham’s Wollaton Park for the sophomore edition of the weekend long No Tomorrow, my brother and I were instantly struck by the small size of the festival grounds, used to hold events every summer. The whole festival could fit into the Pyramid Stage at Glasto. Yet this slight, initial disappointment was quenched, among other things, by the press area’s perfume dispensing toilets and we’d soon plonked ourselves on the grass to watch the first day's offerings.

Zak Abel is a fresh talent with a surprisingly good voice who popped up online last year. His set was short and sweet as he rattled through the songs that you can find on his Spotify and Soundcloud pages. KWABS woke up the crowd from their sun induced stupor, and garnered the first cheer of the day when his hit ‘Walk’ came on mid-way through. Nick Mulvey pulled the classic late starter, coming out around 15 minutes after his scheduled slot – but brought with him a fabulous band so he’s forgiven. It made for a really chilled 45 minutes, and whilst I’d been trying to get my head around how he would fit into a festival mainly for club hits, he was embraced by the early evening crowd. I feel I have to mention DJ Fresh if only for the fact that he pulled more chart toppers out of the bag than I care to remember. I’ve never seen a man work so much hype into a set before and the crowd hung on every word, before being brought down to a mellower tone by headliner Jessie Ware. She finished the evening off with a more mature sound: everything fully developed, a sign of her skill no doubt. ‘Champagne Kisses’ brought the crowd back to life though and as the exits swelled with people leaving from the Stealth dance tent, the evening ended on a high.

This organisers’ decision to extend the festival to cover both days was on the whole a sensible move, potentially seeking to emulate the likes of other city festivals such as Manchester's Park Life and Bristol's Love Saves the Day. It did however lead to a slight imbalance in the line-up with Sunday bringing the truest musical delights. Raleigh Ritchie smashed his set, bounding on stage with huge amounts of energy and earning a whole new following that was truly deserved. SOAK, whose career will inevitably take off, was a personal highlight of the entire weekend and MNEK was surprisingly awesome, his outfit on point and his playful pop translating well to a festival setting. Milky Chance [interview to come] attracted a massive crowd and performed with gusto and a harmonica, finishing with their internet hit-sensation ‘Stolen Dance’. Killer. And finally, who could forget Sunday’s headliner, John Newman. Channeling an inner Gaga, he had the most self-indulgent introduction I think I’ve ever seen, but, to give him credit he was a fantastic final performer and I couldn’t help but smile at his old school glam and tiered staging.

So how can I sum up my No Tomorrow experience? Well the set times were too short in comparison to the change overs and they could have gained so much more out of the day with a little fix here. And it is true that my own personal music tastes weren’t quite catered for. Yet a weekend of drinking and chilling with mates after exams is never a bad thing and this certainly fitted the bill, especially for the Nottingham uni students whose halls backed onto the park itself. I may have been left floundering at times but the target audience seemed to be more than satisfied.