You Are Not Alone Festival March 5th 2022, Northern Quarter Manchester.

After a two year absence due to Covid, You Are Not Alone Festival (YANA) returned bigger than ever before with the sunshine making a guest appearance.

The festival was held over 8 venues in the Northern Quarter and flummoxed the previous 3 venues, with over 70 bands playing, it allowed everyone to come together in aid of Manchester Mind with all profits from the festival going to the charity.

The venues included The Castle Hotel, Gullivers HQ, Off the Square, The Rose and Monkey Hotel, Aatma, The Peer hat, 33 Oldham Street. 

Having originally booked the festival in 2020 the new date of March the 5th landed on my 40th birthday so seemed absolutely perfect and enabled us support a charity that meant a lot to us as a group, having been diagnosed with Cyclothamia 4 years ago, and had friends that have struggled with their mental health it was good to all come together, listen to some amazing music and know all profits would support Manchester Mind

We collected out wristbands in The Peer Hat and were on our way over to The Castle to watch our first band, The Haciendas, who we actually met on our walk over and who played an acoustic set. 

The venue was opposite Gullivers HQ, so was easy to navigate, with so many good bands playing we tried really hard not to miss anyone; we managed to catch the end of Double Good Company, then Cold Water Swimmers in the Ballroom who brought in a really busy crowd. 

Gullivers ballroom stage had a really theatrical historical feel to it The Jade Assembly sounded amazing with current single ‘Take me home’ matching the theatrical ambience of the venue. 

33 Oldham Street also featured the stage sponsored by RGM we managed to bump into ‘Generation’ before their set on this stage who were ecstatic about performing.

The Clause and The Rats both played off the wall and pulled in an amazing crowd, not only did The Clause have people singing on the floor to ‘in my Element’ but they had people up on the stairs case singing back the words to them. 

Rats saw the venue filling up and they were able to constantly shift the energy throughout their set. Going down the front it was amazing seeing the connection they have with their fans, mental health is something the band has always encouraged people to speak out about so at the end the band spoke about how important it was before blasting out ‘Figure It Out’ to the crowd.

Heading back to Gullivers ballroom ‘Gathering Of Strangers’ came on with lead singer Conor Rabone demonstrating his front man energy to the crowd. With songs like ‘No Remorse‘ holding depth and picking up energy to ‘Cherry Red’ which was definitely a crowd favourite.

Welsh singer Megan Wyn was performing on the stage downstairs in Gullivers; our group went to watch her. This girl and her guitar are hypnotising, singing her new single and attracting many new fans with her laid back performance that makes her talent look effortless.

Coming together through music feels magical, it enables you to forget everything for a small moment in time when everyone is singing along to lyrics that resonate with you for whatever reason, which I feel is why music and mental health are so interconnected. For some those lyrics may carry more understanding than those close to them. 

MANCHESTER MIND “Our purpose is to create a space where mental health comes first. We believe that everyone deserves to be supported in their mental health needs and that we have a part to play in that.”

Finally, I’d like to say a massive thank you and congratulations to Ben Taylor for organising such an incredibly successful event and bringing people together to put mental health to the front line for Discussion.

Words and Photos Tamsin Jones