Kendal Calling 2016 – good things come in small packages

Just when you thought Kendal Calling’s 10th anniversary celebrations couldn’t be topped last year, the Cumbrian music festival proved yet again that good things do come in small packages, as artists and festival-goers alike helped to celebrate their best year yet.

Home to over 20,000 people for the weekend, the serene surroundings of Lowther Deer Park were the perfect setting for four days of glorious sunshine and music. Bringing an eclectic mix to the fields were Manc favourites The Chartalans, Everything Everything and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Along with indie rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen and drum and bass quartet Rudimental.

Thursday saw the epic return from Kendal Calling regulars The Chartalans, who brought the bucket hats out in force, getting the weekend off to a brilliant start. Support on the first day came from some of the best up-and-coming artists around at the moment, including PINS and Declan McKenna, who will no doubt will be playing bigger festival slots in years to come.

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Friday marked the beginning of the festival’s first full day, with an array of performances from some of alternative and indie’s most loved bands, including a crazy-energetic set from Catfish and the Bottlemen and an intriguing set from New York-based band We Are Scientists, before headliners Rudimental took to the main stage, performing a selection of their number one hits to a frenetic crowd.

Proud debut album owners Blossoms were in popular demand on the Friday afternoon, treating fans to a secret acoustic set over at Tim Peaks Diner, filling out the small venue to capacity, which left festival-goers struggling to get a look in the packed out room. This was all before headlining the Calling Out stage, AND playing a DJ set full of absolute bangers into the early hours of the morning. Those Blossoms boys get about don’t they?!

Saturday was all about the old-school favourites, and we were absolutely loving the noughties throwbacks! Glam-rockers The Darkness proved they still have what it takes ten years on, giving us a good ol’ sing-a-long to I Believe In A Thing Called Love, and teasing us with their Christmas hit. (Definitely five months too early though, Justin). Kelis brought all the sass, reminding us that she definitely had more than her share of R&B classics.

Craig David brought the party to Kendal Calling and finished the Saturday night off in style, as he packed out the Glow Tent performing his classic garage hits and a selection of new tunes along with some crowd participation, reminding us how grateful we are for his comeback.

Spirits were still high as festival-goers crawled into Sunday, preparing for a jam-packed final day of incredible bands. Londoners Hidden Charms were brilliant as ever, their highly-charged set showing us that guitar music really is at its best. The same could be said for Kendal Calling newcomers Spring King, who brought the crowds to the Calling Out stage for a mind-blowing set, with more epic guitar riffs and raucous drums than you could shake a stick at.

Away from the huge crowds and bigger stages, we took a trip to the House Party stage for a chilled 2 hour Acoustica set. What started out as a weekly acoustic night in Manchester, eventually expanded to Kendal Calling, giving a much-deserved platform to singer-songwriters across the weekend. Performances came from the likes of Liam McClair, ex-Catfish and the Bottlemen guitarist Billy Bibby and up-and-coming girl group Foxtales, all of who were on top form.

Kendal Calling drew to a close on the Sunday evening, with no other than Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, which definitely saw out the festival in style. In his usual Mancunian manner, the joker couldn’t help but make inappropriate comments, but it’s hard not to laugh at his cocky swagger. The Oasis frontman treated the singing masses to not only his own material, but a plethora of Oasis hits, including Champagne Supernova, Don’t Look Back In Anger and Half The World Away – which was rightly dedicated to his good friend, the late Caroline Aherne.

Once again, Kendal Calling have exceeded all expectations of music festivals, curating an incredibly special line-up in beautiful surroundings to please all types of festival goers. With a small-to-medium sized capacity, there’s constantly a great atmosphere without the feel of being over-crowded – you almost feel like part of one big family. Without a doubt the 11th year of this festival was the best yet, and it’ll be interesting to see what else lies ahead in the fields of Kendal Calling.