Mountain Warehouse next to Booths in town have wellies on offer this week, you might (definitely will) need them.
For a festival on the fringe of the Lake District, Kendal Calling has been pretty fortunate with the weather, but as the festival’s tenth chapter looms this coming weekend, it may be that I especially find myself snapped back to reality after the scorching sunshine of Benicassim earlier this month.
That’s not the only thing that’ll be different about Kendal Calling this year though, the new licensing announced earlier this year means that the weekend, which is now marked as one of the highlights of the music calendar in the North West, will for the first time be 4 days long. A 5pm start of Thursday evening extends the party and sales have shown a large proportion of those attending will be pitching up on Thursday before the rest arrive on the usual Friday morning. It’s not just about getting a good pitch this year either, the lineup for the opening night could well be the best of the weekend. The highly-rated Sunset Sons start things off on the main stage; the surf-inspired band that clicked after playing gigs in The Alps come to an equally tranquil part of the world to get the ball rolling. Following them, one of the most exciting bands around in Blossoms, spending a lot of the past 18 months on the support circuit they’ve been duly awarded a slot on the main stage this year. Black Rivers follow them before arguably the best live act ever to grace the Kendal Calling stage return for a second time. James are back this year as good as ever, last year they returned to form with La Petit Mort (you can do your own research as to what that actually means). Before you even begin to talk about ‘Laid’, ‘Sit Down’ and the catalogue of hits they can bring to the table, the live performance led by Tim Booth closed the show back in 2012 and is set to begin 2015’s festival with unrivalled energy and a unique presence that is not to be missed. There are a few Thursday tickets floating around to add to your weekend ticket if you haven’t got hold of one already.
As previously mentioned, this year is Kendal Calling’s 10th anniversary. With 10 successful years under their belt and acts that have ranged from Example to Blondie and so much in between, you probably wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that the names at the top of the billing this year aren’t quite as impressive as hoped. In fact, the lineup almost looks like there are still 3 headliners to announce. Without the surprise of a last minute announcement, the most exciting parts of the festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be away from the main stage. The Vaccines on Friday could go either way, a lengthy list of hits often overshadowed by mediocre live performances, maybe the headline slot will inspire them on Friday night. Look out for Augustines before them, the New York band are renowned for their intensity during live perfrormances. Mr Scruff is on the Chai Wallah stage too, he’s a KC favourite and one to go for if the main stage headliners don’t take your fancy. On the new Lost Stage, Dub Pistols, who were great last year, are at the top of the bill on Friday – check them out if you’re into The Specials.
Saturday’s lineup begs for sunshine and blue skies, the ambient Elbow are headlining with songs like ‘Grounds For Divorce’ amongst their most popular. The trademark (see: overplayed) ‘One Day Like This’ will no doubt be a feature after Kodaline have played, the second time they’ll do so at Kendal Calling. The fantastic Lucy Rose will be the stand out act of the day. I’d argue she’d be better fit in a tent, maybe on the Calling Out stage, but she’ll be excellent regardless and well worth a watch.
Sunday is where the more household names crop up. Headliners Kaiser Chiefs return to Cumbria for the first time since they played at Carlisle Racecourse and will pleasantly surprise those who claim not particularly to be fans. A new-look Ricky Wilson heads up a band that have now moved away from the pop rock they started out by producing and are now much more of a solid live indie rock band. New album ‘Education, Education, Education and War’ is loosely based on activities of World War 1 and, barring a few obscure lines, it was a good turnout with a number of songs already recognised at this years’ festivals. The recently arrested Snoop Dogg (Snoop Doggy Dogg/Snoop Lion/DJ Snoopadelic/Snoopzilla Bigg/Snoop Dogg) is on the main stage in a bizarre appointment that is sure to attract plenty of attention on the final night. Before him, whichever name he decides to go by, are Embrace. Their debut album from 1998, ‘The Good Will Out’ was the source of a massive 7 singles, ‘Come Back To What You Know’ being the pick of the bunch as well as 2004’s ‘Ashes’ as the 3rd test of the cricket competition of the same name comes to a conclusion whilst the band play.
Over at the Glow Dance Tent, Bondax and Groove Armada are the names that stand out. The latter are doing a DJ set (as opposed to a live set?), I don’t really know what difference that makes, sorry about that.
Spend your afternoon’s at Tim Peaks, the coffee shop/live music venue that sits proudly on the hill near the cleaner portaloos – you can’t go wrong. The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess is the man behind the setup and often makes an appearance with members of bands that are performing over the weekend also being spotted up there. The likes of Guy Garvey and Ricky Wilson are bound to be at Tim Peaks at some point, I’d bet that Snoop Dogg won’t be there, but you never know. Also, there’s an Indie Disco every night from 11pm-3am at the Calling Out stage. The House Party is one of the best places on the site with acts like Baggy Mondays, who’ve previously been a highlight of the weekend for me personally. As I’ve said, there’s so much beyond the main stage; the Jägermeister tent has returned (we expect at least 1 in 3 people to be wearing a bandana by Saturday morning) and there are a number of quirky stalls that you can pick up vintage clothes and festival memorabilia from that you’ll realise you don’t really want when you get home.
If you’ve not got a ticket yet, get onto @Twickets on Twitter, there might be a few going if you’re lucky.
If you have got a ticket, have a great weekend!