Kendal Calling returns for its 13th year, this July. Celebrating 10 years since the festival moved to its current home, it’s fair to say that it’s evolved somewhat since its 900 capacity debut in 2006. As the name suggests, Kendal Calling has its origins in the South Lakeland town of, er, Kendal, despite the fact that it can now be found some 22 miles north, on the Lowther Deer Park near Penrith. The festival has grown to stand its own amongst the largest in Northern England, due in no small part to the impressive roster that continues to be offered to punters. Not only do they book big names but they book good names, notable alumni include The Libertines, Happy Mondays, Slaves and Dizzee Rascal. This year’s offering is no different with Doves, IDLES, Courteeners, Mystery Jets, Nile Rodgers and Chic, Manic Street Preachers and Orbital all appearing towards the top of the bill.
The festival scene is gradually evolving into a more environmentally conscious being, with recycling and reusable pint glasses being found at more and more events, however Kendal Calling has upped the stakes considerably by announcing that they will be teaming up with Extinction Rebellion for this year’s event. The worldwide environmental campaign movement will be curating an area dedicated to raising awareness of the environmental crises threatening the planet, including climate change and the extinction of species, through a programme of workshops and events that also promise to show how we can make a difference. Extinction Rebellion is one of the most hard hitting and arguably the most important movements of modern times, and this collaboration shows that Kendal Calling are more than just paying lip service to the emergency that this planet is facing.
As well as all this, the family friendly festival which includes the Jurassic themed Kids Calling, is boasting an incredible array of food and drink, comedy, children’s entertainment and more. It promises to be an amazing weekend, set in one of the most beautiful areas that this country has to offer.
Not to be Missed.
Tickets are available from here - https://www.kendalcalling.co.uk/tickets
With so many bands playing it is near impossible to do a full break down of exactly who you should see, but all the same here is our personal top 10 must sees.
Doves (Main Stage, Saturday)
One of the greatest bands to come out of the North West, well actually, anywhere, in the last 20 years, Doves have returned following a near decade break. As well as supporting Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds this summer, they are playing a handful of gigs and festivals, including Kendal Calling. As well as their achingly beautiful back catalogue, the band are said to be writing new material, which makes this unmissable for any fan.
LIINES (Tim Peaks Diner, Friday)
Fresh from their nationwide tour with Sleaford Mods, this Manchester Post Punk act are sure to absolutely smash their Kendal Calling set. You might not have heard of them yet, but I promise that you won’t be sorry when you do.
IDLES (Calling Out, Saturday)
Bristolian Indie punksters IDLES released their sophomore album in 2018 and continue to blow away audiences with their unique blend of vulnerability and take no shit tunes. I’m not altogether sure why they’re playing what is essentially a breakthrough artists’ stage when they could surely rip up the main event, but it’s bound to be amazing.
The Hempolics (Chai Wallah, Saturday)
Championed by 6 Music, The Hempolics produce a seriously dubby yet fresh and radio friendly Reggae sound that is going to sound amazing at any festival. Borrowing inspiration from genres outside the traditional remit of Reggae artists, it’s sure to appeal to more than just the purists.
Mark Radcliffe’s Une (Tim Peaks Diner, Saturday)
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what to expect from this, and that is entirely why it can’t be missed. Broadcaster Mark Radcliffe has joined up with electronica type Paul Langley for this project, and they’ll be preceding Kendal Calling with a set at Bluedot the week before. The blurb I’ve read isn’t particularly enlightening, but incredibly intriguing: “UNE is Electronic music spanning many styles with a plaintive lonely voice at its heart”.
Tom Jones (Main Stage, Sunday)
The legends’ slot has been made, well legendary, by Glastonbury, and Tom Jones is filling it at Kendal Calling. I like to pretend that I’m super cool and have an amazingly edgy taste in music, but come on, it’s Tom Jones isn’t it? I’d like to think that I’ll be standing at the back, looking suitably disinterested, but really I’ll be standing at the front roaring ‘Delilah’ with the best of them.
Clint Boon (House Party, Sunday)
Former Inspiral Carpets mastermind, Clint Boon has kept himself busy over the years. Having rolled up the Carpets (sorry, not sorry) he went on to front the amazing Clint Boon Experience, before becoming a headline club DJ. As well as being incredibly talented, he always seems a genuinely nice bloke as well, definitely one not to miss.
Bands FC Takeover (House Party, Friday)
Twitter sensation Bands FC, who make amazing images which combine football teams’ crests with bands (think Bjork combined with York City, or Pulp with Sheffield Wednesday) are taking over the House Party stage. Again, I’m not entirely sure what this is going to entail but I do know that late Britpoppers Bis will be playing, as well as Hacienda legend Dave Haslam, which is pretty mouth watering stuff.
The Courteeners (Main Stage, Sunday)
Wrapping up proceedings on Sunday night will be Manchester’s The Courteeners, it’s perhaps easy to write these off as an Oasis for a younger generation, but I can’t help but feel that’s based on nothing more than their lead singer’s first name, and their city of origin. Despite the fact that they receive little to no airplay, the band have sold out a 50,000 gig at Heaton Park this summer, and consistently create a riotous atmosphere with their infectious and anthemic songs, everywhere they go. They were made to headline festivals, and play huge shows, and this is sure to be pretty amazing.
Dan Webster (Chai Wallah, Sunday)
Dan Webster has been writing and performing for many years, and has deservedly built a name for himself outside of his native York. Fusing Folk with a little bit of Country, Bluegrass and a soupçon of whatever else he fancies, Webster’s music weaves stories that beguile, with an enchanting passion.
Preview - Jon Stokes