Kendal Calling reveals Kaylied Line-up

Kendal Calling 2015

Kendal CallingNow in its 10th year, Kendal Calling has grown from strength to strength in more ways than one. Five years along at Lowther Deer Park and now entertaining over 23,000 punters, this Cumbrian festival has certainly had more peaks than it has troughs (if you’ll excuse the pun).

Already packed on the Thursday, by Friday morning stewards were having to open up four extra fields for the burgeoning crowds of happy campers. Lucky early arrivals were greeted with Stockport locals Blossoms blaring their bluesy indie pop out to the main stage just before 7pm. The fresh-faced five returned on Friday for a packed gig by the coffee grounds at Tim Peaks diner. Their ‘tripped-out guitars’ dazzled the humid log cabin. Stockport’s self-professed super group may have finished “fashionably early”, but still it was fifty minutes of perfectly hazy tunes. Following their recent release of single ‘Blown Rose’ the band seemed to be on a new high.

James topped off the first night at the main stage and started off Kendal’s 10th celebrations in style. Epitomising a softer side of the Hacienda days of Manchester, as a headliner they brought the crowd together with their singalong anthems. The red glow of the stage permeating the hearts and minds of proud parents laughing as their offsprings screamed “Oh, sit down next to me.”

Tim Peaks Diner, the wonderfully weird brain child of Tim Burgess from The Charlatans made its fourth appearance at Kendal, with proper Yorkshire brews and nice net curtains. From Northern Soul on the Friday to Samba on Sunday, it was easy to pop in and have a boogie in the wooded interiors between gigs.

This year’s Real Ale Festival at Kendal saw a better pint for your buck than the usual imported tinny. An array of tasty local drinks, with names such as ‘Drop it like it’s Hop’ being a nod to Sunday night’s performer, Snoop Dogg, as well as a refreshing end to the opening night!

2013 saw Late Night Cinema Tent come to Kendal and this year it was back with delights, such as The Big Lebowski. Chuckling along to the Dude’s chaotic mayhem seemed all too appropriate after a chilly stroll through the equally psyched out woods.  Just what the woods entailed, was definitely a big surprise. Dubbed ‘Lost Eden’, scattered trails led through an enticing array of artistic oddities. As a white stag sculpture was led purposefully through the crowds, it was the perfect place to watch John Pearson‘s live art inspired by the ancient Carvetti tribe before heading off to more music.

It was by night, however, that the woods truly came to life. What seemed a white ball by day became a glowing display of visuals entitled ‘Liminal’ by Helson and Jackets. Amidst the Transit Van of Dan Rawlings, British Sea Power took over the Woodlands stage on Saturday night, easily trumping Elbow‘s efforts on the main stage. No strangers to the festival, BSP blasted out a greatest hits set, kicking off with the shimmering krautrock beats of ‘Machineries of Joy’ and leading into familiar sounds from their recently re-released debut album The Decline of British Sea Power. Many in the crowd were holding up foliage (as is tradition for the BSP faithful) when BSP’s very own bear mascot, Ursine Ultra, joined the fans giving out hugs amidst the rousing chorus of ‘Waving Flags’. Their set culminated with a crowd surfing expedition by the guitarist Martin Noble, who somehow managed to be sharing his bottle of whiskey along the way. Indeed, the Lost Eden setting could not have been more apt.

With this year’s line-up, it was often far more interesting to be away from the mudded pits of the main stage, as the intriguing Jagerhaus bill also proved. Friday night’s staunching show from the electronic cool of Lonelady was one such treat. Focussing on her brilliant new album Hinterland, Julie Campbell‘s performance had a beautiful, urgent and poetic poignancy clearly appreciated by the captivated crowd.

Escaping the torrential downpour on Friday, it was lovely to be able to slip into the cosy interior of famous eaterie, Gandhi’s Flipflop, to chill out with a Chai Tea and listen to some open mic entertainment before gearing up for Mr Scruff‘s solid three-hour set of usual quirky, cartoony proportions.

Saturday saw the sun come out and a shock of heat on the drenched earth caused hilarious mud fights at the picturesque, lakeside Soap Box stage to ensue. However, it was worth returning to the main stage eventually for the impromptu return of Super Furry Animals in place of Kodaline. These Welsh critters made a welcome change of line-up for many as they donned hazmat suits during what was ironically the brightest spell of the weekend. Playing perfectly fitting hits, such as ‘Hello Sunshine’, to a dreamy, evening audience.

Venturing back into the woods saw late night delights in the form of two extra-terrestrial DJs known as Faux Sisters at The Lost Stage. This glitter fest was a pleasant contrast to the machismo of the larger dance stages as a trippy late night crowd bopped about amidst silhouetted trees.

Sunday welcomed an Essex hero ‘Uncle Bill’, aka Billy Bragg. His afternoon set on the main stage saw weepy-eyed crowds get a lesson on true socialist values and a much-needed shower from the skies above.

Chai Wallah by day offered a flat plane of picnic blanketed troops of kids and their parents sitting enraptured by the quirky folk of Aaron & Kit. Though their somewhat darkly themed songs of hunting threatened to miss the mark of this eco-centric crowd, excellently crafted fiddle solos soon had everyone’s toes tapping.

As the woods emptied in the final evening, it became apparent that Snoop Dogg had finally descended on Kendal Calling. Drawing a huge crowd, it seemed his charms were lost on members nearer the back, name dropping like it was hot, when it, in fact, felt distinctly lukewarm!

Escaping the hot-panted booty shaking, was a mix of ska by Bipolar Sunshine at the Calling Out stage. While the sound mixing at times fell a little flat, the vocals of ex-Kid British member Adio Merchant regained as he belted out new hits from latest EP Daydreamer.

And it wasn’t before the last night that the true charms of The Riot Jazz tent really sparked off, quite literally! With over 1,500m of fairy lights lovingly put up, this tent had something of an eccentric family wedding atmosphere about it, with none of the cheese and all of the booze-fuelled enthusiasm! Honeyfeet gave an assured performance on Sunday night as Ríoghnach Connolly belted out over Rik Warren‘s fiery harmonica!

After the high-octane, firecracker send-off of the Kaiser Chiefs on the main stage, Riot Jazz seemed a perfect place to round off the festival. Beautiful Balkan beats and bluesy voice of After Hours gave way to crazy stomping tunes from The Chicken Brothers. It was dancing until the wee hours all around as people refused to snuff the candles on Kendal’s 10th year. Happy birthday, Kendal Calling! And here’s to the next 10 years!

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.