Thursday the 27th of July 2017 was marked into British musical history as crowds, bands and rain all cascaded into Lowther Deer Park for the 12th rendition of the magnificent Kendal Calling.
Keeping with it’s seemingly unstoppable growth the festival continued to shine this year with bigger acts, bigger crowds and the same goodwill and organisation that is quickly becoming the trademark asset, it has become the perfect blend of the quality acts of the biggest festivals and the welcoming atmosphere often reserved for more boutique events.
Signs of the festivals prosperity were everywhere from Stereophonics attracting the largest crowd in the festivals history to the plentiful stewards ensuring the festival ran as smoothly and safely as possible. This abundance of both staff and planning enabled the festival to cater to everyone from teenagers moshing into the early hours of the night to families introducing their children to live music for the first time.
A particular highlight for many families is the festivals Tiny Tim Peaks area specifically catering to young children and conveniently located next to the Tim Peaks diner itself which had some exceptional acts on this year such as The Sundowners and a special one off performance from a supergroup containing the Verve’s Nick McCabe and Pete Salisbury as well as Martin Blunt of the Charlatans with Denise Johnson on vocals. A cool as you like HIGH FIVE to our very own Wendy Smith who was on Artist Liaison manager duties – Nice one Wendy – top job!
Camping was well organised and good hearted with everyone determined to enjoy the weekend despite the absolute state the rain had left the pathway in, I think this was summarised by the frankly huge crowds the Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics still attained despite the road over being so bogged down.
However this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the community spirit built within the festival as campers helped each other through the mud, I can testify personally for this as on the Monday morning I was stuck hungover in a car with a flat battery which had also managed to get itself stuck in the mud (a scenario I’m sure many of us have faced in at least one respect when a festival closes).
Instead of being stuck for hours waiting on help, as would have happened at many festivals, within 5 minutes a fellow camper had jumpstarted the engine and 2 stewards had helped us to push the car out and onto the road allowing all of us to get home without any real issues.
The rain also was not constant, although certainly enough to give a taste of the true British festival experience, and this helped to hold off some mud in the arena where the festival excelled by putting on a multitude of bands old and new. From Brian Wilson’s legendary “Pet Sounds” to exciting young acts like Cabbage or The Blinders taking the Houseparty stage apart with their high octane punk, there really was something for everyone.
The food stalls were also vibrant and exciting with everything from a full English breakfast to a peanut butter and jam hot dog sold at the pun extravaganza that was the “Piggie Smalls” stand. The arena was seamless to enter and exit, even with regular searches, due to a large team of staff manning it.
This was mirrored by the entrance to the festival where police and several sniffer dogs showed an outstanding commitment to keeping Kendal drug free as not one camper entered the festival without passing the dog and then being searched, despite this vigilance queues were kept to an impressive minimum.
Overall I think it would be an offence to call Kendal Calling 2017 anything other than a landslide success and a testament to how a festival can be run when those who own it think as much about our experience as they would their own.
With proper organisation and precautions not even the British summertime could stop it from continuing, and that combined with the festivals friendly and positive vibe showed how Kendal has grown since its creation in 2006 from a 900-capacity idea to possibly the hottest property in British music with a capacity of 25,000 and no signs of slowing in it’s relentless march to the top. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of us in the fields in years to come.