Festival Guide 2010: Kendal Calling

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So, it’s either the end of another university year or the end of university full-stop drawing near for you. What have you got planned for the summer? Off travelling? Maybe that’s not on the cards but you still feel the need to enjoy the summer to the hilt. That’s exactly where I was last summer. End of my Masters, no money for travelling but needing to let my hair down. I ended up at Kendal Calling, a small-scale grassroots festival in the heart of Cumbria. It turned out to be something rather special and you can read the review.

This year’s Kendal Calling promises to be just as good. With three days and nights of music and entertainment for £85 over the period of Friday 30th to Sunday 1st August, Kendal Calling arguably represents one of the better-value festivals this summer.

KC 2010 boasts Calvin Harris, Doves and The Coral as headline acts on the Main Stage for the three nights. These are ably supported by the likes of The Futureheads; Chicago’s OK Go; UK hip-hop legends Dub Pistols; local heroes Wild Beasts; British Sea Power; the return of one of last year’s festival revelations The King Blues; The Subways; Stereo MC’s and Kid British.

Of course, going to a festival is not all about the “big” names on the main stage. Rather it should be about experiencing the whole package, encompassing genres you would usually shy away from and finding new acts never encountered before. KC, as with other festivals, allows for this with its multitude of stages. For me the best of which, although there are others, are the Dance Tent; the Calling Out Stage and the Kaylied Stage.

The Kaylied stage features music based on a love for tradition and this year is curated by the legendary Manchester venue – Band on the Wall. Highlights from this stage this year include Mark Chadwick – singer and lead guitarist from The Levellers; Sweden’s First Aid Kit – similar in style to Fleet Foxes; singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop – mentored by Tom Waits; bluesmen Skip MacDonald and John Smith; ska outfit Baked A la Ska – yes it IS a cool name; The Unabombers and did I mention the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show and Lancashire’s finest comedy folk band The Lancashire Hotpots. I so want to see them.

The Dance Tent, in association with promoters Wax:On and Ape, brings to you, amongst others, Erol Alkan; DJ Yoda; Plump DJs; Elite Force; High Contrast; People Get Real; Emalkay; DJs Justin Robertson, Rich Reason and Ken Evil; Eskimo Twins and perennial favourite South African-born local legend Ash Howell. Add to this bundle the Calling Out Stage featuring the best in new music and there’s some value packed into the festival for sure.

With option of buying a £20 ticket for camping on the Thursday before the festival, where the Freakeasy – “a pan-dimensional speakeasy, somewhere between Rick’s Bar and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe containing the sights, sounds, thrills and spills of the distant past and the near future”, make of that what you will but it sounds fun to me – will be open, KC 2010 is shaping up to show why it was nominated for Best Grassroots Festival and Best Small Festival at the 2009 UK Festival Awards. Come find me at the green tent with the fishes on…

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