Festivals: Kendal Calling

Location: Lowther Deer Park, The Lake District 

Ticket Price: £115 (Weekend) N.B. 2013 Prices

Perfect For: Everyone! Kendal has something that appeals to anyone and everyone. For the younger festival goers there’s the dance tent which is open till 3, as well other small tents where various amusements can be found (along with a sense of a bohemia from the suspicion that the stewards are actually having as much fun as you are behind closed doors). For the more relaxed (or even family oriented) festival goer, the relaxed atmosphere makes it an easy festival to go to without feeling on edge. And keep in mind, this is all for a price that is almost half than those of the big name festivals.

Kendal Calling won the Best Medium Sized Festival Prize in the UK Festival Awards last year, and it’s easy to see why – it manages to attract the big names without hiking up massive prices. Primal Scream, the Charlatans and Basement Jaxx headlined along with Johnny Marr, Seasick Steve, the 1975 and London Grammar. The weather, again, was perfect (until the Saturday night where it poured it down and left huge mud pools in which drunker folk would wallow). Some of the best musical performances actually came from relatively unknown bands in the ‘Chai Wallah tent’, such as More Like Trees or the City Shanty band who drank with the audience before their set, finishing a bottle of whisky between them.


Had Kendal Calling been a food festival, however, it would have stood up in its own right – sublime Turkish Kebabs and Gourmet ice-cream were available, as well as my personal favourite venue ‘Ghandi’s Flip Flop’, a small café where you were ushered into a small shack, asked to remove your shoes and sit around small tables on cushions whilst eating fantastic food to your heart’s content.

Overall though, it was the people that gave Kendal its charm – a collection of 25,000 or so people came together, and not one of them was sane. The happiness and consumption on a huge scale gave rise to nothing short of brilliance. I’ll spare you the details since I cannot give them their full glory in print, and it’s just something you have to experience yourself. There’s no doubt in my mind that you will be impressed.

Best Aspect: The lunatics you meet

Best Performance: A toss-up between Basement Jaxx, The Charlatans and Dub Pistols

Worst Performance: Katy Carr

This year, the Dub Pistols return behind headline acts Suede and Frank Turner – The Happy Mondays and De La Soul also feature, so the music, as always, is incredibly varied.



This article was written by Sam Brunt


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