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 format for Thursday saw just Ash and The Charlatans played to those who had chosen to upgrade to the extra day. These slots had potential to be tough performances, as most of festival goers still wondered around familiarising themselves with the the unusually quaint scenery.
Ash play an impressive set to open the main stage, as the campers finally started to congregate along the hill facing the Northern Irish rockers. Although the set is well received throughout, there is a slight feeling of stalling until Charlatans. They manage to expel this with hits ‘Girl From Mars’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’, gaining the crowds approval as the beer continued to flow in the now improving weather. By the end of the set they have done more than enough to earn the tough slot as festival opener, and make way for the highly anticipated arrival of the iconic Northwich band.
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. Always the crowd pleaser, Burgess takes requests from the crowd as along with his band he ploughs through a jam packed set, with very little chit chat from himself. The highlight of the set comes via ‘The Only One’. As they play their biggest tune the field is transformed into a sea of shoulder riding fans, complete with dad dancing from those who do keep their feet grounded.
A triumphant opening night of Kendal Calling, underlined by a show stopping set. Tonight sees Rudimental try to match it, but the one thing that is clear from the opening night is that the bar has been set high.