Kendal Calling was born from a group of music lovers who felt the fields of Cumbria could be put to better use during the summer months - in the name of music, fun and frolics.
In 2006 this saw the launch of a new two day music event in Abbot Hall Park in the center of Kendal.
Much sought after DNB trio Pendulum dropped in direct from Global Gathering and erupted the main tent on the first night. The next evening saw Kendal born British Sea Power bring the stage to life with a whole forest of branches - a backdrop that saw epic robot battles and flying plastic owls and culminated in the band climbing the main pole of the main stage marquee.
The formula was in place, Kendal had Called and it began to snowball!
In 2007 capacity doubled and the festival moved out of town to Grate Farm and saw the introduction of camping. Drum & Bass pioneer Grooverider spun the decks and over 100 other artists performed on various stages including Dirty Pretty Things and Wild Beasts. Local musicians and national artists played alongside each other and the crowds loved it.
In 2008 the floodgates broke as 4,000 revelers heard the call!
The Friday night was electric as the number one artist in the UK, Dizzee Rascal, proved that the worst mud and rain ever seen in August on Grate Farm couldn't dampen the spirits of the audience.
DJ Yoda christened the newly introduced Dance tent with a set he considered “better than Glastonbury” and Babyhead thrilled crowds in the Kaylied tent where the festival spawned a traditional edge. Mud sculptures and lots of local brewed ales inspired revelry ensued.
2009 saw the festival controversially up sticks and move north to Lowther Deer Park. With an audience just too big to pack into Grate Farm we moved to a site that used to be a wildlife theme park, the perfect setting for a Lake District Festival!
Filled with deer (originally a gift from King Henry VIII) and 2,000 year old trees set in stunning scenery we hosted the most diverse array of live music, world cuisine, games, frolics - and even 80 tonnes of snow - that the Lake District has ever seen.
The Streets, Beardy Man, Craig Charles, Mumford & Sons and more music than you can shake a squirrel at brought the park alive for the weekend in epic fashion. This year also saw the birth of the now legendary Cumbrian Olymipics, a series of games engineered to take you to the very edges of your sanity and perseverence - and beyond.
In 2010 friends old and new joined the festival for it’s second year at Lowther Deer Park. To celebrate the fifth anniversary festival-goers did the themselves proud with creative and crazy fancy dress costumes and antics.
Croissant Neuf, the longest-established area of Glastonbury, was added and played host to the Kaylied stage, the Holy Quail pub with the Kendal Callings’ first-ever Real Ale Festival, and a whole host of stunning décor and performance art to wow, amaze and stimulate the senses.
Doves, Subways, Erol Alkan, Calvin Harris, Stereo MCs, Pulled Apart By Horses and many more treated crowds to amazing performances. Memorable moments included a spine-tingling duet from Badly Drawn Boy and his daughter, OKGO inviting the audience members on stage whilst confetti canons went off, a freakshow with naked skaters, and Bez djing to the Houseparty ravers.
Five years has gone by in the blink of an eye.. as they say time flies when your having fun and that’s certainly been the case for us.
"Hello Kendal... this is Blondie calling"
2011 wow what a year! The festival sold out in record time, scooped a music industry award for Live UKs Best Small Festival, broke a World Record for the World's largest mint cake, and had some of the most legendary performances to date in the fields!
House of Pain kick started the Friday night and had everyone 'Jumping Around' like never before, Beardyman free-styled about Kendal callers in fancy dress, Frank Turner made the whole main stage crowd sit down and jump up at his command, The La's treated us to not one but two surprise performances, and the Houseparty and Happy Slap Boutique became a ravers paradise with their partying shenanigans! There was a beautiful Monstrous Garden, lots of crazy circus antics, tight rope walking, a plethora of stunning decor including our very own version of the Loch Ness Monster..Bownessy!
The crowds yet again made the festival it's best year yet. So many magical memories... Blondie being the highlight for many.
Fix up it's totes amazeballs!
2012 saw the return of the ultimate showman Dizzee Rascal. Hot from his performance at the Olympics, Dizzee brought a pyrotechinic explosion of big beats, sharp lyrics and a 'bonkers' atmosphere complete with a torrent of fireworks and sky of streamers. Madchester legends James brought the festival to a close with frontman Tim Booth crowdsurfing the amphitheatre.
There were new additions and collaborations aplenty including DJ Yoda but this time with a Trans-siberian March Band. Tim Burgess brought his virtual diner to reality with the first ever Tim Peaks serving up coffee and Totes Amazeballs cereal, plus hosting intimate acoustic sets from Edwyn Collins, Nick Heywood (Aztec Camera), The View and many more.
Chai Wallahs popped it's Kendal Calling cherry and became the hub of the Kaylied, we branched out into the Woodlands, The Deer Lodge affordable luxury camping was introduced and the fields were awash with Fairytale and Comic book characters... we even had our very own Gingerbread house!
We literally cannot wait till 2013's festival. Roll on summer!
The Kendal Tapestry