Kendal Calling - The History of the Festival

Kendal Calling – The History of the Festival

Each year for the last decade thousands of people have flocked to Kendal Calling festival for a weekend of music, celebration and joy. The stunning Lowther Deer Park has been host to the festival for the last 7 years and the jaw-dropping landscapes add to the glorious festival atmosphere. Over the years Kendal Calling has seen some big names; including Mumford & Sons, The Streets, Johnny Marr, Happy Mondays, James, Snoop Dogg and many more!

2006 was the year it all began. A selection of music lovers decided to throw themselves their first music weekender. Amazingly they had Pendulum and British Sea Power play, with various other acts. The first Kendal Calling was held at Abbot Hall Park in Kendal.

In 2007 it was already time for the festival to expand, the party moved to Grate Farm and twice as many music lovers came to join the fun. 2007 hosted the old school ravers Grooverider, as well as the incredible Carl Barat’s Dirty Pretty Things. It was evident from the beginning that this festival was going to be a huge success, for many more years to come.

Four thousand people attended in 2008 to party all day and night at Grate Farm. Once again the festival pulled out the big guns and the lucky four thousand were entertained by the likes of Dizzee Rascal, DJ Yoda, Super Furry Animals and the London DJs Scratch Perverts. In the third successful year the organisers knew that 2009 had to be bigger and better than ever before.

2009 was the year of the move to Kendal Calling’s home at Lowther Deer Park, situated in the peaceful Cumbrian countryside we all know and love. The festival folk had the time of their lives dancing in the fields to Mumford & Sons, Ash, Zutons and The Streets. 2009 was also the year the infamous Cumbrian Olympics began, which had the party people doing everything from building sandcastles to sliding down ski slopes.

In 2010 the fancy dress helped take the festival up a notch – not to mention the introduction of the Real Ale Festival. Calvin Harris, Doves, Stereo MCs and Badly Drawn Boy took the stage. Badly Drawn Boy’s set had a special moment where the singer songwriter’s daughter Edie was welcomed onstage for a song. 2010 was also the year that led Kendal Calling to receive the award for the Best Small Festival at the UK Festival Awards.

Blondie took the crowds by storm in 2011, being the biggest star to perform at the festival so far, which helped the festival sell out in record time. The festival broke the world record for the largest Kendal Mint Cake, wonder how long you could make that last? The line-up for 2011 was an excellent and eclectic mix. The crowds were treated to not only Blondie, but also Echo & the Bunnymen, Frank Turner, The Cribs and House of Pain.

The festival continued to grow on a rapid scale in 2012. The crowds saw the return of Dizzee Rascal, as well as Maximo Park, We Are Scientists and James. Tim Burgess of The Charlatans opened Tim Peaks Diner to serve the much needed coffee to keep everyone going, whilst being entertained with some great sets from The View, Nick Heyward and Edwyn Collins.

By 2013, the festival was extremely well established, managing to bag Basement Jaxx, Primal Scream and The Charlatans for headline slots. In addition to this, a fantastic mixture of acts including; Johnny Marr, London Grammar, The 1975, Seasick Steve, Public Enemy and so much more. The festival continued to grow not only in capacity and stature, but also by winning the Best Medium Festival award for 2013.

Just when you thought the festival could not get any better, 2014 pulled out all the stops for the best weekend yet. With headliners such as Suede, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls and Example, something for all. There were countless amazing DJ sets, as well as roller discos, the intergalactic Cumbrian games, dance offs at secret shows in the Woodlands and moon walk record attempts. Also taking the main stage in 2014 was Newton Faulkner, Happy Mondays and Ocean Colour Scene. How much fun can you fit into one weekend?

Finally, 2015 was Kendal Calling’s tenth birthday and everyone knew it was going to be big. 2015 was the first year to open the main stage on the Thursday night, kicking off the weekend of amazing headliners. James, Elbow, The Vaccines, Snoop Dogg and Kaiser Chiefs kept spirits high and arms in the air. The opening of Lost Eden in the Woodlands area introduced a magical land of creative fun for all. Stunning performance art between two new stages added even more reason to come and join the festival fun.

2016 has a lot to live up to, however there is absolutely no doubt it will follow the pattern. 2016 will be the biggest and best Kendal Calling yet!

Five acts to look out for at Kendal Calling 2016