Chronicle’s of a Festival-Goer


Life has some unexpected turns doesn’t it? I was looking for a break from my Masters dissertation last summer; wanting to go to a festival; not wanting to be part of the flock of sheep that follows a well-worn – and expensive – path to the likes of Leeds or Glastonbury and in need of some like-minded company. It seemed my options were limited to say the least. However, a friend mentioned that they had been to Kendal Calling the year before, that it was value for money and that it would suit me perfectly.

Ever the sceptical, I looked at the website and checked out the cost and the line-up. Pleasantly surprised to see a ticket price of £75 and the likes of The Zutons; Idlewild; The Streets; Frank Turner; Chase and Status and one of my favourite groups – Ash – on the bill, I took the plunge and paid up my hard-earned cash. A three day weekend in the beautiful surrounds of Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria with a group of close friends, left me mightily impressed by what organisers can achieve at festivals if their business ethics overrule the incessant search for massive profits typical of the aforementioned Leeds/Glastonbury festivals.

Next is a turn that leaves me with rewards to follow. I joined the Kendal Calling Facebook Group – as you do – and, earlier this year when the tickets went on sale, I posted my review of last year’s festival on the group page. Thinking it might make interesting reading for people considering, and those already committed to, going, I left it at that. However, Lady Luck shone on me for sure.

Shortly after posting my article, I received a message from the event organisers commending my piece. Liam Richardson, the Editor of SCAN then asked me if I was going to write on this year’s festival and if I could interview the organisers. One quick e-mail to Kendal Calling’s Press Office, complete with article attached, set off a chain of events that ended up with the promotions agency for the festival offering me two Press Passes – one for me and one for a photographer – to the festival, access to interview the organisers and the Mother Lode for an aspiring journalist – a wish list of acts to interview.

My commitment for all this bounty is to write articles for SCAN as the acts are announced, a full preview of the festival and a review once it’s all over. So here we go: ‘The Chronicle’s of a Festival-Goer’ begin.

The first acts for Kendal Calling 2010 have been announced and the prospects for another great festival are promising. This year the organisers have joined forces with legendary promoters Wax:On and Ape to host the Saturday and Sunday night Dance Tent. The bookings confirmed so far are a dance/dubstep/drum ‘n’ bass/breakbeat lover’s dream: underground idol Erol Alkan; DJ Yoda; Plump DJs; Elite Force; High Contrast; People Get Real; Emalkay – check out 2009’s ‘When I Look At You’, hailed by those in the know as the best dubstep track of the year; Manchester DJ Justin Robertson; Rich Reason; Ken Evil; Wax:On crew members Eskimo Twins and the resident DJ – Doorly – hailed by BOTH Pete Tong and Zane Lowe as the “hottest thing” – and those two do know a thing or two about the genre; Danny Byrd and perennial favourite, South African-born local legend Ash Howell, whose career took off after playing Kendal Calling 2007. I’m drooling already: and there’s more to be announced!

Kendal Calling features 8 stages and runs till 3am each morning – though I do recall a tent outside the main gates playing dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass till 6am one morning – making it one of the latest running festivals in the country. If dance isn’t your scene then don’t worry as the first smattering of acts has been announced for the Main Stage. Friday night’s headline act will be Glasgow-born electropop king – Calvin Harris. With hits such as ‘Acceptable in the 80’s’, ‘I’m Not Alone’ and ‘Ready for the Weekend’; the gold disc selling DJ should kick off the festival in style. Also on the main stage are The Futureheads; Chicago-based OK Go – Grammy award winners for the 50 million online hits video ‘Here it Goes Again’ and UK top 30 hit “Get Over It”; stars of big beat – Dub Pistols featuring a true UK hip hop legend on the mic, a man with a thirty-year career at the forefront of the genre – Rodney P. Local heroes, and Mercury prize nominees, Wild Beasts – have a listen to their album ‘Two Dancers’ to understand the critical acclaim they’ve received – will also perform a homecoming gig at this year’s festival.

Of course, this is just a taste of what’s to come. More, and bigger, acts are to be announced and you’ll get it here as soon as they are. For now, quench your thirst with a couple of acts that will light up the Kaylied Folk Stage: BBC 6 Music funk master – Craig Charles – returns alongside the witty, comedy folk band – The Lancashire Hotpots. Last year, Mr Charles was one of the highlights of the festival and the Hotpots are undoubtedly hilarious with their take on modern life from the perspective of Old Lancashire. Get hold of ‘Never Mind the Hotpots’ or ‘Pot Sounds’ – I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you where those titles came from – and listen to the likes of ‘Chippy Tea’, ‘He’s Turned Emo’, ‘I Met a Girl On MySpace’ or ‘I Fear IKEA’ and you’ll want to see them live.

Not a bad so far? £85 a ticket for three days and nights I hear you say? Well hang on, there’s a bit more yet. As well as the headliners for Saturday and Sunday night to come, along with other acts to fill your days and nights, Kendal Calling features plenty to do all day long away from the stages. There’s Europe’s biggest solar powered tent – Croissant Neuf- a kid’s area; the Garden of Eden and Peaceful Progress – a crew of creative artists, breakdancers and sculptors. More along these lines will announced shortly too.

Me? I’m already keen to start the summer off with a bang, and excited as to who will headline – that I will be interviewing for SCAN – on the Saturday and Sunday nights. There’s even a deal with Big Green Coach for a ticket and coach travel from 18 departure locations for £100 and a tree gets planted for every coach that goes to the festival. That can’t be argued with. See you all in woods in the Lake District, Friday July 30 – Sunday August 1. My tent’s the green one with fishes on it!

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