Last weekend it was time to don the wellies once again and jump on the train to Penrith for my first time at Kendal Calling. Held in Lowther Deer Park and surrounded by trees and countryside, the weekend promised something a little different from the usual festivals – some people call it a smaller version of Glastonbury.
I arrived at Kendal Calling on the Wednesday, so I had a good 5 days to experience everything Kendal had to offer. My reason for arriving so early was that I was volunteering as part of the festival staff. So, for two 8 hour shifts I would be selling programmes to festival-goers – a pretty fun job and it got me a free ticket into the festival.
I was camped in staff camping (a bit of a bonus as it wasn’t too crowded and we had hot showers!) After a quiet Wednesday night we arrived for our first shift on Thursday. As people started to arrive the camp began to come to live; people pulling sleighs filled with crates, the odd girl trying to pull a suitcase through the grass and groups of friends who had already started to get on the booze.
Walking around selling programmes was a good opportunity to see what all the other camps were like. The main campsite, was the closest to the entrance and fairly close to the main stages. There was also The Shire camping which was a little further but not as busy. Luxury campers, caravans and families were all catered for as well.
After a long shift we were ready to have some fun on Thursday night. Fun was in the form of a Craig Charles set in the Glow Tent. It was a good warm up for the rest of the weekend, but with work again the next day we had a relatively early night.
Unfortunately, on Friday the rain began. And it was torrential.
An anorak and a poncho weren’t even enough to keep me dry and the camp turned into a mud bath. – very unlucky for anyone who didn’t bring wellies.
Nevertheless, in true festival spirit, the partying carried on regardless. Plus, after my Friday shift I was freeeee!
On Friday night we headed out to watch Suede who did a really good set on the Main Stage. Afterwards we hung out in the Riot Jazz tent and watched a few of the bands there.
On Saturday we caught a bit of Razorlight in a brief moment of sunshine. Then in the evening 2ManyDJs did an amazing 2hour DJ set in the Glow Tent. That was the highlight of the weekend for me.
On Sunday the rain continued. We managed to brace it for a little while as we watched Miles Kane before heading into the Chai Wallah tent for some cool tunes. Later on, we soaked up the 60s vibe in the Houseparty Tent.
It’s always good to sample some of the festival food as well and Kendal didn’t disappoint. There’s loads of different food stands depending on what you’re into. Over the weekend I had prawn tempura, a kangaroo burger, homemade pizza, cheesy chips (of course) and some really nice cappuccino. Obviously, paying festival prices meant that most meals consisted of crisps and sandwiches in my tent, but you have to have a treat every now and again!
Walking around the camp you’ll also find loads of cool sculptures and decorations – this year it was space themed. There’s certainly a mix of festival goers as well as Kendal seems to attract a lot of families with children.
By Monday morning I think most of us were ready for home. Packing up our soggy clothes we headed for the festival shuttle bus to take us back to Penrith train station. Despite the cold and the rain it was still a great experience and I’d definitely go again next year – hopefully with some nicer weather! Now I’m looking forward to Unknown Festival next month for some sun, sea and sand…