Lowther Deer Park, Hackthorpe, Cumbria
30 July - 2 August 2015.
What's it all about?
Kendal Calling is a bit of a hidden gem and unlike any other festival. It's one of the most well known middle sized festivals in the UK and takes place in a 1000-year-old Deer Park on ancient woodland and farm land. Kendal celebrated its 10th birthday this year, so to mark a decade they challenged festival-goers to dress up as characters from their favourite decade. There were a lot of fancy dress in the fields, including Tetris blocks to a group dressed as Scooby-Doo, Fred Jones and Norville 'Shaggy' Rogers!
Ella Eyre strutted her stuff on stage in a black and silver panel catsuit delivering a few of her well- known hits including 'Together', 'Comeback' and Rudimental hit 'Waiting All Night'. She was a definite crowd pleaser. Headliner Snoop Dogg came out in style and performed his back catalogue of hits, as well as getting the fans jumping along to House of Pain's classic 'Jump Around'. That's a festival fave right there and the crowds for the rapper was insane! Another headlining act, Kaiser Chiefs, were the perfect band to close the four-day festival. Frontman Ricky Wilson delighted fans by performing hits like 'Ruby', 'I Predict A Riot' and 'Oh My God'. Other acts who performed on the main stage included Fuse ODG, Elbow, James and Soul II Soul.
What wasn't there to do? From parties to silent discos and performance art, there was something for everyone. Virgin Trains hosted a Big Birthday Blow out party by the lake with top DJs spinning some feel-good tunes. There were traditional fairground rides for the kids (and adults, obviously!) and plenty of market stalls selling everything from crazy masks to festival hats and vintage pieces. We (and our very muddy boots) had a good tour of the very large rolling fields but we found Kendal Calling really came alive at night when the party was taken to the woods. Wandering into the forest away from the main stage we kept warm by the fire log, followed costumed parades and stumbled upon a silent disco. We were mesmerised by some of the striking and creative art installations and this year saw a brand new woodland arts area called Lost Eden, which was a place of discovery and eccentricity. While the Glow Tent offered cutting edge dance music, we spent time at Chai Wallah, where we watched the best of the underground with acts from funky hip-hop, gypsy jazz, alt folk and indie perform live. Another popular attraction was House Party. This had some of the best DJs on rotation delivering hits in a house, complete with furniture and a kitchen to hang out in. This was a clear favourite among festival-goers.
We were spoilt for choice at Kendal. From fish and chips to pizza, Chinese and a salad bar, there really was something for everyone. We enjoyed everything from a cumberland sausage bun to katsu chicken with sweet chilli noodles and a very yummy chocolate brownie. Plus, there was also a milkshake bar and sweetie shop - heaven!
There are four campsites but we were lucky to stay in luxury camping area, The Deer Lodge. There's a range of accommodation available in this area including Podpads, Bell Tents, Tipis and Yurts. We stayed in the Podpads, colourful little houses with a bed, a shelf, charging facilities and a solar-powered light. The Podpads looked so pretty at night when it was all lit up! Most nights were pretty cold but thanks to a comfy sleeping bag and some even comfier clothes, we survived! We were also privy to luxury pamepering tents with hairdryers, straightners and mirrors because you know, a girl's got to look her best, right?!
The nearest train station to the festival site is Penrith North Lakes and Virgin Trains provided direct services from Birmingham, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Lancaster. The festival celebrated its 10-year anniversary with the Kendal-ino Express from Manchester to Penrith, with world famous solo beatboxer Beardyman on board! From Penrith station it was a 10 minute ride via taxi and there was also a special shuttle bus service in operation.
As the official travel partner to Kendal Calling, Virgin Trains chartered a special train, the Kendalino festival express, as well as the on-board entertainment and live performances from the best-of-the-festival, the service also offered the only direct service non-stop from Manchester Piccadilly, a route not usually operated by Virgin Trains. Virgin Trains also hosted a Big Birthday Blow out party at Lowther Deer Park Lake where festival goers could celebrate the festival's 10th birthday, enjoy music, drinks and party games. For more information please visit, http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/kendalcalling.
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