Festival Guide: Kendal Calling

Where? Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

When? Thursday 27 – Sunday 30 July 2017

Who’s Headlining? Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics & Franz Ferdinand

Who else is on? Frank Turner, Jake Bugg, Slaves, DMA’s, Kate Nash, & More. This year includes big names in Indie, Rock, Grime, House, Dance and even Comedy, their most versatile line up to date.

Brief History: In 2006 it began life as a two-day and 900 person capacity festival, but over the last decade has firmly established itself as one of the coolest and fastest growing smaller festivals around. Since its opening year, which was headlined by British Sea Power, Kendal Calling has attracted some of the biggest names in music. Snoop Dogg, Blondie, Public Enemy, Noel Gallagher and Elbow are just some of the names who have graced the main stage of Lowther Deer Park. Along with Y Not, it continues the battle to be the ‘best of the rest’ outside of the major UK Festivals.

Awards: Best Small Festival (2010, 2011). Best Medium Festival (2013, 2016). Best Toilets (2015).

How To Get There: 10 Minute drive from Junction 40 of the M6. Alternatively, 6 Miles from Penrith train station.

How to Get Tickets: Tickets are SOLD OUT for Kendal Calling 2017, but if you have a weekend ticket (Friday-Sunday), be sure to fork out the little extra for the Thursday pass, always worth it for the extra day in the fields. Thursday passes available via http://www.kendalcalling.com/tickets

What We Said Last Year:
On Charlatans getting the festival off to a flyer, we said;

“The picturesque fields of Lowther Deer Park filled up on Thursday, and although the views above the vast rolling hillside of Cumbria were bleak, the excitement in the air for four days of music hung heavier than the weather. The band fronted by Tim Burgess, still donning his now famous blonde bowl haircut, launched into a set filled with tunes from all over their back catalogue. They have the now crammed in crowd moving their feet early as North Country Boy is surprisingly second on, as a fan unveils a smoke bomb towards the front, pouring white smoke into the crisp northern sky.”

On Noel Gallagher’s set to close the festival on Sunday night, we said;

“Half the crowd may be losing their voices after a string of sing-along anthems, but they can belt Don’t Look Back in Anger out back at Noel. Saturday ended with a feeling of euphoria after Madness’ upbeat set. Sunday ends with astronomical power as he belts out the final “… I heard you say”. One of the greatest music icons this country has ever produced brings the curtain down on what has been an unequivocal success of a festival. How will they ever better that? We shall see. Until next year, Kendal Calling.”

All Kendal Calling 2016 reviews available through the link to my authors page below the article.

Sam’s Tips:

Kendal’s biggest selling points are the differences it offers from your major festivals, with it’s small tents and stages in the forest really becoming it’s trademark. Here are my stage-by-stage tips for things to see to escape the rush of the headliners.

Main Stage -The Shimmer Band: Up-and-comers who came to light after touring with This Feeling, and their brand of Pysh-Indie will suit the scenic  stages of Kendal down to a tee. The Shimmer Band have everything the quintessential Kendal band need, and if you haven’t heard these boys yet, this festival will be a better time than ever to change that.

Calling Out – The Coral: All out indie fest throughout the days in the Calling Out tent, The Hunna, Palace, Little Comets and Blaenavon are all playing, but its hard to look further than The Coral if you’re after the best tip for the weekend. A general rule for the weekend though, if in doubt, head for Calling Out.

The Glow Tent – Mike Skinner: Creator of game changers The Streets back at the start of the millennium, and now he’s back to DJ in Kendal’s mini dance-fest which runs in the Glow Tent all weekend. In contrast to the rest of the festival, this stage is a no hold barred survival marathon. The Woodlands can be a saviour after a heavy night in here.

Tim Peak’s Diner – Don Letts (DJ Set): The popular Tim Peak’s Diner has become widespread at smaller Festivals over the last couple of years, also making triumphant appearances at the likes of Sound City in Liverpool. After its success last year it returns to Cumbria, and Don Letts Ska and Reggae bets will provide a great soundtrack

Woodlands – Mexrrissey: Fancy seeing something unique and totally unthinkable? Then Mexrrissey are the ones to watch. This band took it upon themselves to do something you didn’t even know you wanted, and put the Mexico into Morrissey. Their Mexican Smiths’ covers will be strange, there’s a high probability nobody will understand a word, but these Latin American’s are sure to sum up the quirkiness of Kendal.

House Party – Clint Boon: Closed last years festival with his set running through to the early hours of Monday morning on the same stage. The setup of this stage does justice to its name, packed in with bunting and decorations dangling from the low ceiling, it is perfect for the former Inspiral Carpet and his all night indie disco.

If you have a spare minute after all of that, you can also take a look at; Chai Wallah Tent for all things Psych, The Riot Jazz tent for something very different, or the Carvetti for the acoustic side of Kendal.

Even after all this, if music gets too much you can hit the cinema, the soapbox comedy tent, or even the Jägermeister tent. Enjoy!

Listen to our Kendal Calling playlist:

Sam Wright

Sam Wright

Music Journalist, formally at MOJO Magazine. Black Country born, now mainly covering Birmingham and North-West England
Sam Wright

Latest posts by Sam Wright (see all)