Where all good things come together

Fan favorite, Chai Wallahs returns to Kendal Calling for its 12th year! A welcoming space for music from across the globe, it has been hosting hip hop, funk, soul, brass, reggae, ska, jazz and just about everything else since way back in 2012 but the story of Chai goes much deeper than just the music.

Chai set out with a mission statement of providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere to those with open minds, while fostering creativity, advocating healing and platforming a diverse, often overlooked sector of the music industry.

Chai Wallahs started out as a simple Chai stall, selling incense, tea and housing drumming workshops. Over the years, the traveling tent expanded its range to herbal shots, juices, smoothies and a few under the counter brandies and as the years went by – the party just kept growing. In came a stage, a soundsystem and of course, the legendary performers.

From world-class DJs to 50-piece folk ensembles – Chai Wallahs has long prided itself on support of emerging artists at the beginning of their careers. In the early days, it was Jamie Woon, Kae Tempest, and Portico Quartet, then came Gentleman’s Dub Club and Mr Scruff, while the past few years have seen acts like KOG and TC & The Groove Family pass through.

This year is no different as returning favorites and new faces will take to the stage, including:

The Allergies Live! – These two Bristol based rascals are pioneers of the party, teachers of turntablism, bringers of bangers. They say….“We like breaks, funky bass lines, horns, and dance floor grooves”. So do we!  Now fronted by Soul Sensation Marietta Smith, Ugly Duckling’s Andy Cooper, and James Morten on Sax, this is the ultimate party band to kick off the weekend.

Omega Nebula – Electronic future-dub duo OMEGA NEBULA are a force. Their music takes the most powerful elements of dub reggae and dubstep and rolls them into uplifting, emotionally weighted anthems with a unique sonic identity.

Dr Meaker – Their high octane, award winning live show has put them in consideration to be the world’s best live drum & bass act. Expect fire from the brass, heart wrenching soul from the incredible voices of Celestine and Laurent John, and a rhythm section sent from space to shatter the Earth!

Ríoghnach Connolly & Honeyfeet – An eclectic troupe based in Manchester, Honeyfeet’s heavy sound spans from the bountiful to the subtle, with everything from big-band swing to Alabama blues-tinged folk, all held together by the powerful vocals and flute from Ríoghnach.

The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble The UK’s biggest folk band. A stage busting 50 members mix traditional English and Celtic reels, heaving rock grooves, funk, jazz, hip-hop, ska and reggae. Eastern European and Asian flourishes complete the sound, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the group.

Plus we’ve plenty more where they came from – expect a weekend full of the greatest grassroots music from across this country’s burgeoning emerging music scene! However it’s no secret that since the pandemic, grassroots music has had a rough ride with over 125 independent venues closing and nearly 20% of all festivals cease trading.

Staying true to their rebellious roots, Chai Wallahs has launched the ‘Grassroots Supporters Community Fund’ – a tiered membership system that gives members access to free parties, artist merch deals and one-of-a-kind experiences, while the fund itself supports subsidising grassroots gigs, an artist development program, and a ticket bank for NHS workers or those in receipt of benefits or on low income.

To learn more about what Chai Wallahs and their crew are doing to support the independent music scene – head to their site here or better yet, get yourself down to their stage over the weekend and have a chat!