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Spotlight: Kendal Calling 2023 Preview

It’s almost time for one of the best musical festivals the UK has to offer (clearly a personal view but who is to say I’m wrong) Kendal Calling.

If you are heading along to the fields south of Penrith this year you will need to make some tough calls on where to be and who to see. If you’ve been before you’ll know its impossible to get round all of the stages and see all of the bands. Add in the women’s world cup (I wonder if the cheers will be as loud this year as last), the return of the excellent bier halle, the cinema, the comedians and the excellent selection of top quality food and you begin to get some idea of just how good this is going to be!

Last year saw some well known acts such as Stereophonics, Supergrass and Sophie Ellis Bextor show why they are such festival favourites (not forgetting perennial crowd pleasers the Lancashire Hot Pots, Chippy Tea anyone?) but also saw some standout breakthrough performances, in a few years time some people will get to boast that they saw Delilah Bonn as part of the Earache Takeover or Jamie Webster getting the whole crowd going never minding Elvanna and Henge, who are always entertaining!

So who should you see this year, well everyone obviously! However, if you want some pointers you might want to consider some of the following.

As headliners it’s hard to see past Chic, having seem them on several occasions now they will bring the party to Thursday night! If you go see Chic and you don’t dance get someone to check your pulse, you may be dead? However, get there early to see Black Honey, amongst the other opening bands. They are going to be a truly outstanding band to see before Chic, you have been warned!

Over the rest of the weekend there are some many acts to choose from, personally I won’t be missing Natalie Imbruglia, as 'Torn' is one of my favourite songs ever plus KT Tunstall, who is a truly outstanding live performer, the Enemy who will make you glad they didn’t live and die in that town, Kiefer Sutherland (how can you not go see Jack Bauer!), Mel C (because she is also excellent live), Blossoms and, the clear winner of Glastonbury, Sir Rick (Morrisey) Astley.

I will also be there for the Happy Mondays, Bez was there last year on the Thursday night but this time he’s bringing Shaun with him this year, Step On until your hearts content!

I also can’t wait for Sonique, she is a long time love of mine who is going to blow everyone away with just how good she is. Add Frank Tuner, the recent number one album providers and returning for the second year in a row, lottery Winners (I was sadly excited when I passed them back stage last year) and Example into the mix and you begin to realise what a treat you have in store!

There are so many more, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, Royal Blood, We Are Scientists etc etc, I don’t mean to slight any of them, there are so many good options this year wherever you end up in the fields or under a tent you are going to see someone exceptional.

However the real joy of Kendal for me is the acts you don’t know so well who you discover and instantly fall for, last year it was Baby Queen, Delilah Bonn, Mille Manders and the Shut Up, Jamie Webster, Dead Pony (back again this year which is excellent news) and Lucia and the Best Boys but these were only some among the many who I discovered.

This year I’m going to try to see most, if not all, of the following as having listened to them in advance, I think they will all be excellent. Frankie Jobling, Stone (returning after being excellent on the main stage last year), Dead Pony, The Hunna, Circa Waves, Matilda Mann, the always excellent Murder Capital, Corella, Connie Constance, Kelly Swindall, Cate, Riot Jazz Brass Band, Spector and Alice Merton. However, and I can’t stress this enough, I know I’m going to find someone I’ve yet to listen to or be aware of who is going to blow me away!

See you at Kendal, I’ll be the one with the big smile on my face and, on the Saturday, looking like I am a refugee from the first summer of love!

Words - Iain McClay


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