by Rowan Lees
Kendal Calling returned to Lowther Deer Park for another year of drinking, dancing, music, and general festivities. The line up saw acts as varied as The Libertines, Bugzy Malone, and Super Hans of Peep Show fame (“I’ve accidentally run to the Lake District”). Sadly a few of the promised and anticipated acts, including Hans and pioneering rap group Run DMC, were absent due to organisational mix ups. There was plenty still to offer however, James sending home the keen campers of Thursday home singing ‘SIT DOWN NEXT TO ME’ etc. You could hear it being hummed all weekend to be honest.
You wouldn’t be far off in suggesting Kendal’s line-up caters a little for the oldies, but they certainly select their oldies well, some of my personal highlights being provided by the likes of Peter Hook of New Order and Joy Division, who delivered some euphoric singalongs, and The Wailers whose Bob-replacement emulated the legend’s voice incredibly, getting the whole crowd’s head bobbing. Bugzy Malone, Lady Leshurr, and the impressive DJ Line-up provided a bit of well needed youthful energy to proceedings, starting up a few moshpits in the fields.
Headliners included Plan B who gave us a strange but entirely entertaining set, mixing the classics (She Said, Ill Manors), with the strange new reggae material (is he allowed to put on a faux Caribbean voice?) and eventually being ironically cut off at the final chorus of Stay Too Long. By far the highlight of the whole event was for me, The Libertines. You hear of sets where it all goes wrong for this group, but they weren’t about to disappoint us, performing a rousing send off of anthemic indie-bangers. From where I was standing, sometimes sitting (unintentionally), in the mudded up front section of the main stage, joy was the consensus. They played a masterful set and whipped up the crowd to boiling point, before tossing a guitar into the crowd, leaving the stage, and leaving all the punters ready to return for 2019.
Tickets are available for next year from the Kendal Calling site: https://www.kendalcalling.co.uk/tickets