Image: Virgin Trains
There's more and more festivals starting up each and every year, so to stand out from the crowd there's an abundance of things done to enhance the experience. Simple music in a field on it's lonesome just doesn't cut it.
Whether it's adding kids entertainment, hidden stages buried deep in woodlands or surprise star guests, festivals have got it going on these days. And that enthusiasm has quickly bled into the journey to get you there too.
Most of us will have endured an epic road trip to one in the past. Hours stuffed in hot cars crammed in traffic with your lavishly prepared mixtapes the only thing keeping you from meltdown, or boozy bus affairs that are as fun and as rowdy as the festival itself.
Overseas sojourns are even better, with the joy of airports and the excitement of foreign climes making the adventure spirit envelop you. Festivals themselves have been getting in on the act as well by offering packages, and this year that enthusiasm was stepped up a notch by Kendal Calling.
The Lake District gathering's partnership with Virgin Trains resulted in something special this year by putting on the world's first festival in a train - the Kendal-ino Express - which aimed to bring a bit of Kendal magic to the West Coast line Goliath Pendolino trains.
The vessels, usually carting businesspeople and city breakers up and down the nation, was instead taken over by a horde of festival-ready hedonists, the brogues switched for wellies. We were luckily invited on for the ride.
Setting off from Manchester, the train gathered enough festival buzz to get you in the mood ahead of what would be four rain drenched days in the lakes, as performers roved from carriage to carriage.
Entertainment wise Black Rivers, the project of former Doves band members Jez and Andy Williams, and Beardyman proved the big draws, sashaying from carriage to carriage with their impromptu music. The latter was very beguiling - here's a lot to be said for slurping prosecco on a tilting carriage as a beatboxer mixes out there sonics with references to D&B MC legend Skibadee.
It was a slightly unwieldy and a bit of a weird way to experience bands (matched by the vibe of Beardyman's madcap and macabre twenty minutes), but nevertheless a good laugh that pretty much everyone on board got involved with.
The highlight for us was the Northern charm of Micky P Kerr's musical poetry, regaling us with stories about being banned from Morrisons and his obsession with his iPhone. That and a sequin clad man blaring epic donks from a phone speaker. We're still none the wiser as to whether he was an over enthusiastic reveller or part of the entertainment.
Overall it proved a great way to travel to a festival, plenty of merriment and one thing that would be in short supply as we spent four days bedraggled by rain - comfort. Here's hoping next year sees more festival frolics on a train ahead of fun in the fields.
Enjoyed this? Try our Kendal Calling review.
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