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Kendal Calling 2011 - review and pictures

by Jenn McCambridge & Lara Cullen. Published Fri 05 Aug 2011 10:49, last updated: 09/08/11
Chase & Status
Chase & Status

More pictures available. View the gallery


High on a hill stood a lonely deer herd, okay so it's supposed to be goat herd, but the Lowther Deer Park, set in the beautiful Lake District, saw 10,000 people take to the fields for three days of hedonistic merriment.

Kendal Calling, winner of the 2010 Best Small Festival Award played out its title and showed us why they received this accolade. With activities galore and well fused line ups set across several stages the mixed crowds that included young and old, hipsters and hippies, yummy mummys and screaming kids were in for a treat and to coin a phrase there was pretty much ‘something for everyone’.

Friday saw waves of music mayhem as the festival opened. The main stage held host to House of Pain, bringing back the legendary Jump Around, and saw the headliners of the night Chase and Status stirring up a well oiled crowd. Once things died down main stage wise revellers simply danced through the night at the Club du Fromage, which hosted a variety of cheesy tunes of different beats and speeds.

Kendal Calling must have ordered sunshine for the Saturday, as music filled the air and a host of festivals goers made their way through the arenas in a variety of outfits encompassing a 'Beasts and Machines' themed fancy dress. There were the unique, the norm and the damn right weird wandering around. Just in case you have ever wondered 'where Wally' was you'd sure have found him here, probably alongside a hand-made cardboard iPod or a zombie tiger. Colourful and imaginative it aided a great vibe to the day.

An acoustic set from The Charlatans kicked the day off nicely. Tim Burgess and Mark Collins provided laid back sound bites from their heavier tracks including Hey Vanity and Just When You're Thinking Things Over. Leeds band Middleman, who are making huge waves at the moment, emphatically played to a small crowd in the Glow Dance Tent. It has to be reiterated this was nothing to do with their music but more the fact that most people were lazing in the glorious sunshine outside.

Wandering around the arenas there were plenty of delights to see, festival goers were making the most of the blazing heat in areas such as the fun filled Happy Slap Boutique, the healing vibes of the Garden of Eden, the laidback vibes of The Village Green complete with hammocks and a real ale tent and there was a library. Yes, a library in a field at a festival. Though this library was slightly different, curated by the Get It Out In Libraries team a variety of different musical acts including Sheffield’s David J Roch played, whilst the punters were served tea and cake whilst sat spectating the on-goings amongst a range of books. Pretty twee it seems but the Get It Out In Libraries team are doing great work putting on a huge range of gigs and tours around the country at the moment.

From angst filled Americana, house heroes such as Adam Freeland, indie beats from the likes of the headliners The Cribs, Sonic Boom Six’s ska mash ups and a lot of jazz courtesy of Mr Scruff and friends Saturday showed a huge diverse mix of music that had everyone getting involved until Sunday rolled in.


Rest and relaxation was the order of Sunday, courtesy of Vintage Trouble, easing a sparse but eager crowd back into the music with their pure soul sounds. The Los Angeles based band seem to be getting their fill of UK festivals at the moment, it’s no wonder why really. Fit to burst with smoothness complete with a blues fused edge it was a great wake up call. From the fills of LA to the back streets of Lancashire, the comedy folk band aptly titled the Lancashire Hotpots forged and entertained a huge crowd with their quirky covers and colloquial lyrics. From main stage comedy to folk punk in the form of Frank Turner, a chap who obviously knows how to pull the crowds with his political stances contained in lovelorn poetry and melodies. He worked the crowd and he worked them good, as did festival favourites The Levellers. These crusty types are well set to perform to the masses and they did just that. With a discography fit to burst in catchiness, they sang, they strummed and had a bloody good time.

Far from the madding fields of the main stage, there was still action to be had the problem being there was far too much choice with Craig Charles ripping up a dj frenzy in the Kaylied tent, to up and coming bands on the Calling Out stage, comedy spots in the Soapbox it was non-stop but then again this was a festival.
So as Blondie was Atomic and the main stage drew to a close with them playing hit after hit there wasn’t time to simply stand by and leave Kendal Calling, there was dancing under a moonlit sky to be had.

As Sunday turned into Monday, the reality of the real world beckoned. For one weekend there was vividness, fun, uniqueness, music, dancing, sunshine and strangers became friends. A wonderful festival in every sense of the word, let’s hope Kendal calls again in 2012.



Review by Jenn McCambridge, Pictures by Lara Cullen



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"3 days of quality music ,weather great ,its like a compact Glastonbury 'all the better for it ,roll on 2012" trevor, dumfries around 11 years, 1 month ago