Review: Kendal Calling 2015

Read Bradley Langden's account of a barnstorming tenth edition of Kendal Calling.

Mike Warburton

Date published: 5th Aug 2015

Photo: Kendal Calling

Celebrating its tenth year in unparalleled style, Kendal Calling pulled out all the stops in what was a reaffirming weekend as to why the festival had won so many awards in its still short stint. 

Adding an extra day to the festival was just one of the ways they went about celebrations, bringing the iconic Mancunian outfit James to kick off proceedings early with a Thursday night headline slot, suitably riling up the crowd for the weekend ahead.

Despite the rainy beginnings on Friday, any downtrodden, wet souls were perked completely by nightfall, partly thanks to an ever growing force in the shape of The Vaccines. They brought a huge few years for the group to a hugely deserved pinnacle by making the jump to a headline act - a slot that leaves them in a promising place as a potential future headline act for one of the giants of the festival circuit. 

The Horrors fittingly blasted through a wonderfully mind bending set to a thankfully now sun soaked crowd during Saturday afternoon. Probably the turning point in transforming a great weekend into a something truly special as a growing main stage crowd were left astounded thanks to the band closing with an explosive rendition of 'Still Life'. 

It was another Mancunian outfit, Elbow that took the Saturday headline slot. Known as one of the most powerful festival and live bands around, it was pretty clear why the organisers had chosen them for their special weekend. And if anyone was still in doubt, by the end of the set they wouldn't be.

The band gave the first outings to some of the new material on last week's impressive new EP Lost Worker Bee which sounded absolutely immense. However, as one would imagine it was the huge stadium filling hits that made the performance unforgettable - 'One Day Like This' enticing the biggest sing-along of the weekend. 

The night time gave festival goers the chance to sample a whole other side to Kendal, with endless trails of woodland scattered with fire pits, extravagant artwork and otherworldly props transporting wanderers into a whole different universe. It provided a completely different and unique form of entertainment, something that the festival stands head and shoulders above most others in terms of.

A lot more thought than most other festivals seems to have been put into things like food and drink vendors also. A huge 'Real Ale' bar hosted a wonderfully friendly atmosphere right through the day as a range of delicious and unique drinks were served in a makeshift traditional bar. It provided a great meeting place for new mates, and was much more appealing than the bog standard warm festival Carlsberg. 

Then of course there were a string of DJs playing across the arena, keeping it packed and full of life into the early hours of the morning - Bondax & Friends being a particular highlight of that side of proceedings. Groove Armada also succeeded in laying waste to the glow tent as they completely filled it to capacity, leading to a mini disco taking place outside, not at all marred by the downpours. 

Sunday gave the audiences one last chance to enjoy their time in the fields, aided by the political folk wisdom of Billy Bragg. Not many more acts bridge the important as ever bond between politics and music as well as Bragg does, and that was as ever the case as he touched on the Greek crisis and immigration, before delivering a unifying rendition of 'New England'.

An air of cautious excitement surrounded the much anticipated appearance of one Snoop Dogg following a bit of trouble the previous night seeing him getting $400,000 confiscated in an airport. That didn't stop one of the biggest crowds of the weekend gathering at the main stage though. Imagine the excitement when he did emerge then. All be it a little late. All was quickly forgiven though.

The iconic rapper launched into a mixture of his own classic material, 'Gin And Juice' and 'Drop It Like It's Hot' receiving a rapturous seal of approval from the never ending crowd. Snoop also threw helpings of some classic rap tracks into his set, with appearances from Biggie and Tupac going down just as well. Though probably not the most technically impressive set, what it lacked for that department was more than made up for in the sheer fun of it all. 

The final hoorah of the weekend was nailed on by the Kaiser Chiefs. Though probably not everyones first choice, especially taking the final headline spot over Snoop Dogg, the lads put in a blinder of a performance, one that reeked of a maturity that showed just how far they had come from being the sort of stereotypical indie anthem band that the 2000s were crammed full of.

Aside from the obvious big chorus crowd conducting chorus' of tracks like 'Ruby', and 'I Predict A Riot', the new material gave them a much larger presence, sounding dare it be said, almost Iron Maiden like. Fancy putting those two in the same bracket five years ago? Well played Kaiser Chiefs.

Proceedings were brought to a close with an arena wide happy birthday sing song accompanied by fireworks overhead, bringing the one of a kind event to a fittingly atmospheric close. The organisers have worked wonders with the festival, drawing bigger acts every year to an extremely close and much more personal feeling festival than most. Here's to another ten years Kendal.

More like this? Read our review of Glastonbury 2015

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Upcoming Events At Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

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Kendal Calling
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Kendal Calling

Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

1st Aug-4th Aug

10:00am til 11:00am

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

Kendal Calling returns to Lowther Deer Park this summer for another year of great music and great vi...

Kendal Calling
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Kendal Calling

Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

1st Aug-4th Aug

10:00am til 11:00am

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

Kendal Calling returns to Lowther Deer Park this summer for another year of great music and great vi...

Kendal Calling
×

Kendal Calling

Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

1st Aug-4th Aug

10:00am til 11:00am

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

Kendal Calling returns to Lowther Deer Park this summer for another year of great music and great vi...

Kendal Calling
×

Kendal Calling

Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

1st Aug-4th Aug

10:00am til 11:00am

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

Kendal Calling returns to Lowther Deer Park this summer for another year of great music and great vi...