Kendal Calling 2019: review, what we learned and best bands from the Lake District


Kendal Calling 2019 (credit: Scott Salt)

Kendal Calling saw the highs and lows of the British weather as Getintothis’ Amos Wynn endured all conditions to witness a successful weekend of music.

In the week where Boris Johnson was named as the new Prime Minister, the country saw record heat and torrential downpours.

Perhaps this is a true sign that we have entered what can only be described as a hellish future.

But music is an escape from the divisions of Brexit or the hate spouted by Trump in America; music brings us together.

That seemed to be the overwhelming feeling of this year’s Kendal Calling, no matter what was happening in the outside world, everything was good at the remote Lowther Deer Park.

Kicking off on a humid Thursday night, trickles of rain and thunder was not enough to stop the party that was about to commence.

Whether it was the music, the food, the scenery, or the shouting of ‘Nice one Bruva’ throughout the campsite, nothing was going to get in the way of a good time.

There was a feel-good atmosphere surrounding the Chai Wallah tent.

Making all the noise was Ghana/Sheffield duo, K.O.G and the Zongo Brigade, who had the crowd chanting back their rhythmic songs.

The weekend’s theme was dinosaurs, with a certain Jurassic Park feel to walking through the Arena gates and an excitement of what there was to see.

Kendal Calling (Credit George Harrison)

Friday began with the sun still out and the temperature remaining high.

Whilst some fans had enjoyed the previous night, others were only just arriving and preparing for the weekend to come.

The festival’s co-director, Ben Robinson, was basking in the atmosphere in the Lake District, as he played in the House Party tent with his band Hello Cosmos.

On the festival Robinson said: “it’s rare where so many people come together year on year in the spirit of having one huge community gathering. For me it’s like a big annual knees up. It’s only twenty minutes from where I grew up, so it’s good be back in the fields of Kendal Calling.”

Meanwhile, on the main stage, the Pigeon Detectives set the tone for an energetic evening, with Reverend and the Makers and Miles Kane following in similar style, putting in strong performances with a series of indie anthems.

Reverend and the Makers- Kendal Calling (credit- Paul Whiteley)

With the crowd set up and in the mood, the atmosphere was great surrounding Friday’s headline act, Nile Rodgers and Chic.

The disco act was perfect for Kendal’s vast range of different fans, with the classic hits having everyone coming together in unity and dancing along.

Nile Rodgers (credit Jody Hartley)

Lemonade Fix garden party: Brick Street, Liverpool

Despite the rain pelting down all through Saturday, the atmosphere was not hindered, with fans still out in force.

The torrential downpour certainly benefited bands performing under cover, as crowds flocked to keep dry.

On the Calling Out stage there were strong performances from Leicester band, Easy Life, and Liverpool’s Zuzu, with both earning huge applause, and hints that greater things are to come from both.

Zuzu- Kendal Calling (credit- Tom Martin)

Macclesfield band Cassia also pulled in a big crowd as they played tracks from their recent debut album as well as an outing for 2010 song Hello.

Before the set the three-piece said: “We haven’t been here before so we can’t wait to play. The stage looks really good, and with it being wet we should get a few people coming in.”

Saturdays biggest crowd was on the main stage for Scottish sensation Gerry Cinnamon.

The Sometimes singer, who has recently sold out an M&S Bank Arena tour date, attracted a huge audience and certainly lived up to the hype.

Also headlining Saturday’s main stage was Manic Street Preachers and Doves, who pulled in loyal fans to sing-along through the heavy rain.

Doves- Kendal Calling (credit Scott Salt)

Meanwhile back on the Calling Out stage, IDLES welcomed fellow Mercury Prize nominee Slowthai on to the stage with them, for a crazy performance.

Their energy and anger surrounds genuine, heartfelt meaning and their set really was a highlight.

Sunday started bright and breezy with the sun out shining across the Cumbrian fields.

To match the weather, London act APRE put in an early afternoon feel good factor set.

That feel would continue throughout the final day as The Fratellis put in a strong performance of singalong hits to get the crowd bouncing.

The biggest name on the line-up this year was certainly Tom Jones, who was the second to last act on the main stage.

As one of the older acts present at the festival, the Welsh legend knows how to work a crowd and produced one of the best vocal performances of the four days.

Classics like Sexbomb, What’s New Pussy Cat and It’s Not Unusual were passionately sung by Jones and the crowd, both young and old.

Underwear was thrown, of course.

This year’s Kendal Calling may have ended with another shower, but Courteeners ensured that didn’t matter as they put in a huge set to finish.


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◾️◽️◾️◽️ could do this standing on one leg 🤪@kendalcalling 📸 @nialllea

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Regardless of the sun, rain or thunder, Kendal Calling certainly produced. Each act left their mark and the crowds were just as admirable.

No matter what was thrown at them, the fans didn’t let anything get in the way of having a good time.

As it prepares for its fifteenth year, Kendal is bound to produce again.

Getintothis‘ top picks from the weekend

The Pigeon Detectives

Main Stage – Friday

Pigeon Detectives (credit Jody Hartley)

With a strong line-up of acts on the main stage for Friday, the Pigeon Detectives set the tone for what was to come.

This may have been their first ever Kendal Calling appearance, but they are seasoned pros and have a number of anthems under their belt.

Fans were in full voice for the Leeds band’s best known songs, with Matt Bowman’s energetic performance being reflected by the crowd.

The front man left the stage with a clear message, “fuck the government, and fuck Boris Johnson,” but their high quality set had left a statement of its own.

Red Rum Club

Calling Out Stage – Saturday

Red Rum Club

Whilst the rain was pelting down, the Liverpool band took to the Calling Out stage early on Saturday afternoon.

Some people may have just wondered into the tent to keep dry, but after Red Rum Club’s powerful set, they were fully immersed into the bands huge sounding songs.

Their unique collection from debut album Matador certainly had a damp audience bouncing and feeling a whole lot better.

On the festival the six-piece said, “It was amazing, we loved every minute of it. The stage crew were incredible and the crowd were amazing for us. Gutted we couldn’t stay longer.”

Good Cop Bad Cop

House Party – Friday

Good Cop Bad Cop (Credit: Artists Facebook page)

Joe Carnall took to the House Party tent late on Friday night for his second appearance of the day.

After performing in the afternoon with Reverend and the Makers on the main stage , the Milburn man performed tracks from his latest project, Good Cop Bad Cop.

The band put on an excellent performance, with a series of really strong sounding songs.

Produced by Arctic Monkeys, Matt Helders, the latest tracks from Carnall are excellent additions to his back catalogue and provided an excellent close to Friday night’s musical offerings.

No Hot Ashes

Woodlands stage – Saturday

No Hot Ashes

The Stockport band battled the conditions for their scintillating set on the Woodlands stage.

Despite the rain pouring throughout the course of Saturday, the four-piece managed to pull in a decent crowd.

With their debut album, Hardship Starship, due for release on the 16th August, No Hot Ashes treated fans to a taste of their new material.

Whilst their latest tracks proved to be very popular, old songs like Bellyaches and Goose certainly got everyone dancing in the mud amongst the trees.


Main Stage – Sunday

Courteeners- Kendal Calling (credit- Scott Salt)

Liam Fray and co once again put in a emphatic performance to close the festival in stunning style. Whilst their set ended with fireworks above the stage, their performance alone was enough of a spectacle to light up the main stage one last time.

Even as the rain started to pour, the crowd were in full voice from the first drum beat of Are You In Love With Notion until the last notes of What Took You So Long.

The Courteeners never seem to disappoint, and they put in a perfect display for their Kendal Calling debut.

Fray praised the crowd for their sheer energy after three wet days, but the front-man’s songs always seem to lighten even the darkest of days, so a bit of rain was never going to stop the party.

The ending lyrics to The Opener, “my heart is here, here to stay,” couldn’t be more true for faithful lovers of both the band and those who keep on attending the wonderful Kendal Calling.

Images by Kendal Calling




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