Kendal Calling 2011

Having won 2010’s Best Small Festival Award it seemed only right to see what the UK’s biggest little festival was all about. Kendal Calling, set in the stunning landscapes of Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District, was our home for three fun filled days. With a ‘mixed bag’ line-up and heaps of varied activities we knew from the off that this was something special.

Kendal Calling provided a weekend of escapism. From Friday evening to the early hours of Monday morning a capacity crowd of around 13000 people listened, danced and it’s safe to say enjoyed the vibes.

Arriving on Friday evening and hearing the sounds of House of Pain on the main stage encouraging us to ‘jump around’ our weekend kicked off. With a varying crowd of people and ages seemed ready to let loose and get involved. The majority were waiting for the headliners Chase and Status. Once the wait was over the packed arena was ready set and boom, it went off! We were officially go! Late night antics included dancing ‘til dawn at the Club du Fromage, where as you’d expect everything that was cheese both soft and hard was played until the last man had stopped standing.

As Saturday rolled in out came the sun and the ‘Beasts and Machines’ themed fancy dress awoke festival goers from their blurry morning after the night before stances. Wandering around the arenas there was plenty to see not only the effort or lack of it in some cases with the fancy dress but the quaintness of the set ups. From chill out to vintage to house parties to real ale all tastes were catered for.

Music wise there were plenty of treats to be enthralled by. The soundtrack to the Saturday was provided by the likes of, amongst others, Tim Burgess and Mark Collins of The Charlatans, Sonic Boom Six, David J Roch, The Young Knives, Echo and The Bunnymen and the headliners of the day The Cults. A mixed bag of music but plenty to amuse the masses who seemed ready for anything, the only downside was, if you can call it a downside, the fact that people were missing out on the goings on in the undercover stages due to the sunshine. We aren’t complaining though.

Sunday although not as sunny proved to be another day filled with delights. The main stage was fit to burst with sounds and delights from Vintage Trouble, The Lancashire Hotpots, Frank Turner, The Levellers, Fenech Solar and headliners, Blondie. Off the beaten track there were massages, curry, comedy and jazz fuelled shishas, perfect for a lazy day.

As our time at Kendal was coming to a close, there was still so much to see and do. While musing over a pint of ale while sat on a hay bale, there was a brief moment of clarification. What is special about Kendal Calling is that given the small numbers and the intimacy of the arenas it’s not compacted. There’s a feeling of community, no attitudes or false promises you simply get what you see.