With the rain keeping the temperature down it was about 10am when I woke up, and still raining, was the Lake District living up to its reputation? Luckily by the time I had shaken my head into shape the rain stopped. I heard a noise in my porch and opened the zip to find my mate had snuck in and bedded down for the night. After a couple of hours trying to brave the extreme weather in his little 2 man cheap supermarket tent, he had decided my porch was the drier option. On opening his tent we were impressed to find we had our own privet swimming pool with a depth of almost 2 inches. A great way to start the day and bring a smile to my face.
After packing up my tent and taking all our kit the short trip back to the car, we ambled back into the arena, with the sky blue again. We took a chair in to avoid sitting on soggy ground, headed for some dinner and sat on top of the hill at the back of the main stage for what seemed to me one of the stronger days line-up on the main stage. After wandering around the site a lot last year, this year the main stage was where it was at for me.
The first act we caught on the Sunday were Kodaline, a band I think will be providing a main stage presence at festivals for many a year to come, being compared to Elbow and Coldplay. They drew a huge crowd, and to be fair I thought they were pretty good value for it. On a little wonder between acts again I heard a snippet from the Calling Out stage of Edger Summertyme, a very talented singer songwriter from Liverpool, who was followed on stage by Hudson Taylor, two Irish brothers, in a four piece band, who I can only describe as an Irish Mumford and Sons. They had the Calling tent full, and I found them really entertaining.
I had planned on watching the Mystery Jets set, but had to stay for some more of the Hudson Taylor set, so only caught the end to get a good position for Johnny Marr. Possibly the performance of the weekend for me, showcasing his solo material with a few Smiths numbers the Kendal crowd went mad for Marr! With 'Stop me', 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' and 'How Soon Is Now'all delivered with precision featuring Marr on lyrics, this could be as close as it ever gets to hearing a Smiths performance, and having seen Morrisey perform these songs I must say Marr did them much more justice!
A hard task following Johnny Marr but Seasick Steve took it all in his stride. I had met the man the day before, asking him, "aren't you a bit early Steve?" He replied with "Seasick Steve never just turns up to play I show, I gotta come see what's going on and have some fun brother." What an amazing raconteur he is too, bringing his dirty American blues to Cumbria, everybody is soon boogieing their boots off. Playing his 'modified' guitars one made from "two hub caps, a broom handle and a beer tin" he does not hold back one ounce of energy. Telling a story of growing up and wanting to shoot his stepfather, before leaving home to make something of himself, every minute is packed with sincerity, and it is obvious to see he has enjoyed his weekend. He had spent most of the previous evening around the site watching new music, and confessed to loving the beauty of the festival.
There was only one thing left on my agenda, a little unfinished business fro Glastonbury, Primal Scream the final headliner of the weekend. I had been looking forward to this show since they had been announced. As a huge fan it riled me at Glastonbury to see the band give such an amazing performance and for it to fall flat on a crowd merely sat there waiting for The Rolling Stones!
This was never going to be the case at Kendal, with the perfect crowd and atmosphere this was only going to end one way, and even I could not imagine how good it could be playing 'Movin On Up' in the first few songs it was clear to see everyone was here to worship at the alter of the Scream. With the crowd giving just as much back as the band, it was a real moment to remember. If there was a roof on Kendal Calling it would have been decimated by a vicious rendition of 'Swastika Eyes' over an hour later people were still mesmerized finishing with all guns blazing and a triple salvo of 'Come Together', 'County Girl' and 'Rocks' the Scream left the Kendal ground shaking!
Over the weekend spent wondering around this beautiful site, its easy to fall in love with the place. I did not encounter one unsavory soul all weekend. With a ten pence deposit on every drink served at the bars, and this being such a family friendly festival the kids soon cottoned on there was much money to be made by tidying up the empties, and were to be seen lugging full bags of tins back to the deposit points and claiming there rewards with huge smiles on their faces. A real nice way to instill a green ethos into the younger generation, and I have never seen a festival site so clean and green.
I would not hesitate for one second to bring my son next year! With the perfect attitude and ethos of people all coming together as one for the weekend Kendal is not only a great place to spend a weekend but it also puts a little hope into my soul that there is hope for the future.
Keep doing what you are doing Kendal!
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Video of the Day - for Fri 15th May 2020