It’s not always an easy feat, drawing city dwellers to the countryside. Nature, quiet and fresh air are all very nice, but somewhat unfamiliar to creatures of the noisy urban jungle and its lovely, familiar smog. In a week’s time however, the countryside’s peace will be shattered. Well, in Cumbria anyway, where Kendal Calling will return for its sixth year of music, mayhem and erm, mint cakes. From 29-31 July, Lowther Deer Park will play host to the festival, which strikes a unique balance between vintage and contemporary, as well as being a showcase for a whole heap of British musical talent.
Friday sees drum & bass duo and, according to Pharrell Williams, “The most exciting producers in the UK today” Chase & Status headline, and the dance-inducing theme continues as they’re joined by the likes of The Whip and hip hop veterans House of Pain. Saturday holds a more alternative prospect, with hotly tipped Alice Gold set to wow the crowds, and sharply suited 3 piece The Young Knives sure to charm. Melodic gloom-peddlers Echo & The Bunnymen are followed by The Cribs, with their unpolished, raucous brand of pop guaranteed to make their live show stand out. On Sunday, legendary Stranglers’ front man Hugh Cornwell is followed by cult star Frank Turner and folk-punk heroes The Levellers, but the main wealth of excitement has to be reserved for Blondie, with their impossibly perfect take on pop – topped with the caustic wit of the ever-spectacular Debbie Harry – sure to be one of the weekend’s unforgettable highlights.
Calling Out Stage
Frankie & The Heartstrings headline on Friday, providing cute indie boy bookishness and sea shanty harmonies. The other draw of the day is Too Young To Love, who play spaced out poppy melodies that evoke MGMT and will definitely bring a touch of the otherworldly to Kendal. Bear Driver are our recommendation for Saturday, a tight dream-pop six piece with Arcade Fire leanings – pretty lovely stuff without being too twee, while Sonic Boom Six top the bill.
Sunday sees I am In Love play their bittersweet, ethereal 80s pop, along with Let’s Buy Happiness who have mastered tuneful indie pop that wears its heart firmly on its cardiganned sleeve. The Chapman Family are also ones to watch, their unrelenting take on disillusion and melancholy recalling the more raw side of Placebo. Fenech-Soler are set to headline on Sunday, their synthetic, polished songs undoubtedly soon to be radio-bothering hits.
On The Fringe
The rest of the stages host an eclectic bunch, and there’ll certainly be something for everyone. The line up runs the gamut from Caspa, Herve, Nero and Yousef to Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, The Lovely Eggs and a whole host of hidden treats and surprises in-between.
But besides the music, there’s much more to look forward to at Kendal Calling. Those who take to the dressing up theme of “Beasts & Machines” will surely feel at home in the Monstrous Garden. The Riot Jazz stage provides a vision of Victoriana and classic Britannia with an extra dose of chintz, a Hip Hop house party will mix up proceedings on Saturday, and a spoken word stage offers storytelling & comedy for music-weary eardrums. The Ugly Bug Ball, featuring zebra burlesque, sounds like a blast and there’s Rockanory (bedtime stories read by rock stars) for those who like their fairytales to pack a punch, all on top of a real ale festival, the world’s largest Kendal mintcake and a Sailor Jerrys vintage bar.
Kendal Calling hasn’t boxed itself in, or limited itself to one genre, one crowd or one era. It boasts a truly eclectic line up, and that’s something to celebrate. With all of this entertainment, as well as countless stages of music to showcase everything from fresh new bands to hardened veterans and superstar DJs, Kendal Calling might well be enough to tempt even the most committed urbanites into the country for what’s set to be an amazing weekend!