Kendal Calling couldn’t be located in a more scenic location in the UK than in the grounds of Lowther Deer Park in Cumbria. Surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery the UK has to offer, Kendal Calling returned for its seventeenth year with a line-up boasting four days of music headlined by Nile Rodgers and Chic, Blossoms, Kasabian and Royal Blood.
Having kicked off on Thursday night with Nile Rodgers & Chic and Scouting For Girls amongst the acts, the main arena was all ready for three days of partying despite the typically unpredictable UK weather doing its best to put a spanner in those works.
With multiple stages across the site, there is something for everyone and plenty of surprise around every corner of the arena. With Dick & Dom and Bandaoke putting a smile on everyone’s faces in the Parklands tent, indie favourites The Murder Capital took to the main stage with a more sombre set, introduced by way of a tribute to the recently passed Sinead O’Connor. Former Spice Girl Melanie C draws a huge crowd and rewards them with an early afternoon set and with three Spice Girls hits in succession whipping the energy levels up towards the end of the set, the party was well and truly in full swing.
Friday Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest
Speaking of energy levels Example sends the crowd wild with his rave/dance anthems and a quick peer out across the arena shows a crowd bouncing almost all the way back. It’s an impressive sight and, judging by the grin on his face, it is a scene which gets his seal of approval. Before we reach the main event, Wigan band The Lathums continue their rise with one of two sets they performed at Kendal. This one saw Latics shirts and flags littered around the packed arena as the band showed again why they are commanding high positions like this one.
Friday night’s main stage music ended with Leicester stars Kasabian smashing their headline set out of the grounds. Now fronted by Serge Pizzorno, it almost feels like the line-up change has given the band a new lease of life. Pizzorno now owns the position of band frontman so much so that, whether he is bouncing around the stage or standing centre stage with a guitar, the performance is flawless. A perfect end to day two, Kendal Calling continues the party late into the night.
Day three, and while there are plenty of hangovers and early morning breakfasts being knocked back, Manchester indie legends Happy Mondays still manage to deliver the perfect early start. Fans young and old pack out the arena as Baz, Shaun Ryder and co get Saturday off to a bangin’ start. The party continues with Leigh indie/pop band quartet The Lottery Winners put an even bigger smile on everyone’s faces with their Queen style singalong. Speaking of smiling, Irish band The Mary Wallopers are one of those bands perfect for this kind of day. The weather might be a bit crap but the jokes, the singalongs and the tomfoolery that comes with a Mary Wallopers show make their set a great way to spend thirty or so minutes.
As the reaction to the Happy Monday’s showed, today was all about the more established acts with KT Tunstall all smiles as a short rain shower threatened to dampen spirits. Of course, the songwriter/guitarist wasn’t going to let an unimportant thing like the weather ruin her time on stage and neither was a crowd who rocked along with her.
Saturday Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest
A quick stop at the Parklands stage for Hollywood A-lister Kiefer Sutherland who, as always, delivered a set of quality Americana and equally entertaining stories. Rumour has it he was even seen checking out Frank Turner later in the evening. Sadly, by the time Confidence Man made their eagerly anticipated appearance, the heavens finally opened so our next port of call was food, shelter then pop superstar Rick Astley.
Fans on the barrier donned Rick masks as, the reaction to the appearance of the 90s star was one usually reserved for headline acts. Quite honestly though, Astley delivered a performance of headliner status. Smashing out old classics like “Together Forever” and a few surprises along the way, Rick ended our second day at Kendal Calling on a high with one of the sets of the weekend.
Unfortunately heavy rain had turned the site into a bit of a treacherous mudbath by the time we arrived on Sunday for the final day. Thankfully, the walk onto the site was made that bit more bearable by the sounds of the fantastic Lancashire Hotpots kicking things off on the main stage with songs about Chippy Teas. What a way to start.
Now it’s been ages since the name Professor Green has been on our radar and judging by the reaction to his set, he was very much a welcome addition to the Kendal line-up. Like Example twenty-four hours earlier, the rapper cranked up the energy levels working this crowd up for one final push to the finish line. Next up was Aussie actress/songwriter Natalie Imbruglia who was simply sensational. Hit after hit rolled from the stage as the likes of “Wrong Impression” and “Shiver” wowed the crowd while megahits “Torn” and “Big Mistake” brought her time at Kendal to a superstar finale.
Despite the weather doing its best again to dampen spirits, the “Summer of Love” theme added a splash of colour across the site. Fans of all ages donned their favourite hippy-era clothes making sure that, while day four of Kendal Calling may have taken place under an ominous rain cloud, the mood couldn’t have been brighter.
Thankfully, the rain held off just long enough for Ricky Wilson and his fellow Kaiser Chiefs time to give this Kendal crowd a set of dancefloor filling indie anthems. From the likes of “Na Na Na Na Naa” to “Everyday I Love You Less and Less” and “Ruby” to the suitable chaotic “I Predict A Riot”, we made the decision to end our Kendal Calling there leaving forty thousand or so rained-out music fans to party enjoy the final hours of their weekend in the company of Brighton’s mighty rockers Royal Blood.
Our Kendal Calling 2023 then? It rained. It was sunny. Our footwear is ruined and our clothes are still drying out. But. The location was great. The atmosphere was one long party and the music was top notch. Roll on Kendal Calling 2024…
Tickets are on sale now for Kendal Calling 2024 which returns to Lowther Deer Park on August 1-4th. Get more details from the Official Kendal Calling Website