One of the most eagerly anticipated festivals of the summer kicked off on Friday in the idyllic surroundings of Lowther Deer Park Cumbria,
Into its seventh year and scooping “Best small festival” in 2010 and 2011 Kendal was sold out in record time with this year’s being the biggest yet with 13,000 festival goers trooping onto the fields.
The predicted downpours on Friday were instead exchanged for sunshine and blue skies and the Chai Wallahs tent was undoubtedly the place to be at this years festival with acts such as Karima Francis, Lucy Rose, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Dreadzone and the Amazing Ryan Keen a singer songwriter from Totnes Devon, Also the hometown of the superb Ben Howard, After touring with Ed Sheeran for most of the year he released his debut single “Focus” the video of which, produced by the animator Andy Shackleford won “Best music video” at The Limelight short film awards 2012, His EP also entitled “Focus” is available on iTunes and from ryankeen.co.uk/store .
This guy’s certainly one to watch in 2012 and is exceptionally talented with his unique performance and style.
The main stage was packed out for Scroobius Pip who went down a storm but the highlight for many were Maximo Park some saying it was the performance of the weekend so far, The night ended with a trip to the Glow Dance Tent to see Shy FX raise the roof with a blinding set,
Then came the 20 minute trek to the Emperors field, It seems we all paid a premium for very little if any reward and the toilet situation wasn’t great, In fact some of the worst facilities I’ve ever seen at a festival, A definite thumbs down compared to last year, long queues, long waits, over flowing toilets, and some being taken away and not replaced for hours without explanation, leaving people in The Emperors Field just a little bit annoyed to say the least.
Saturday was Fancy Dress with the theme being “Fairy Tale & Comic Book’s“ I’m sure I spotted “Dr Seuss” and a Mad Hatter or two.
One of the best places to hang out and chill had to be The Garden Of Eden, Such a different vibe, set up on the hillside away from the main area, Vintage clothing stalls, world cuisine and tent’s offering Indian head massage as well as other healing practices.
The main stage saw performances from Dodgy, The View and Shed Seven but THE highlight of the whole weekend came from none other than Mercury prize winner Dizzee Rascal, Fresh from opening the London 2012 Olympics the previous night with the official song “Scream” He was joined on stage by Katie Pepper ( Signed to Dizzee’s “Dirty Stank Record label”) to perform it for us, Waving an Olympic torch around he informed everyone that an official video was in the process of being recorded and the Kendal crowd would be making an appearance, so keep your eyes peeled. The finale was mind blowing with a vibrant laser show, Awesome Pyrotechnics and people going absolutely…. “BONKERS”
The only place that hadn’t been ventured to at this point was “Tim Peaks Diner” a metaphysical place first spoken of on BBC6 Music which then turned into a virtual world of songs and Jam and cake’s and craic, With “The Charlatans” front man Tim Burgess as creator, Many people graced this quaint wooden Diner over the weekend but the cherry on the virtual cake had to be the legendary Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice) If you missed out on a visit you certainly missed out on a treat. The guy’s in this place were even kind enough to let you use their facilities to charge your phones and laptops, Saving you precious Beer money, I heard it cost £5.00 in some spots just to charge your phone for an hour!! “Tim Peaks Diner” Quality people and quality food, Nice one guys !!
Sundays Main Stage acts were “We are scientists” “James” and “Inspiral Carpets” all great bands and performed to huge crowds but for most double Kerrang award winner‘s “Feeder” were the one’s who stole the Sunday show belting out hit’s “Feeling the moment” “Buck Rogers” and the thought provoking “High” and “Just the way I’m feeling” Great band equally great set, a real treat and to many insanely underrated, These guy’s have 8 studio albums with the most successful being “Comfort in Sound” recorded shortly after Jon Lee’s tragic death in 2002 which sold over half a million copies.
Back in the Chai Wallahs “King Porter Stomp” brought some flava to the evening with some pretty neat beats, The finale for this year was a 2 hour set of funk and soul by partying Liverpudlian Craig Charles .. And off to the Glow Dance Tent for the final hour of 2012 Kendal Calling to see the wicked “Andy H B2B Mikey Ft Ad-Apt” What better way to finish than in a packed tent, with great people, bangin’ tunes and a free supply of bottled water .. Rain?? What rain !!
Despite the reported thefts the cancelled appearances from Ms Dynamite and Benga and the exceedingly crappy crappers or lack thereof it really is the north’s biggest and best festival by far, Increasing the ticket sales but not the capacity thus turning the fields into sardine tins wasn’t the best move and perhaps has people thinking that maybe it’s becoming a little money hungry, Let’s hope this isn’t the case and that next years goes on to be even better .
Thank-you Kendal Calling.
See you in the field’s in 2013 !!