Celebrating it's tenth birthday, Kendal Calling has become bigger, better and more varied and has now reached the point of having so many attractions, bands and events that it can become difficult to fit everything in.
Expanded to effectively a four-day festival, the gates opened early on Thursday for those eager to get pitched up and get the party started.
Black Rivers' sound could be heard across the fields and is unmistakeably Doves-esque in its timbre. Basically Doves minus Jimi Goodwin, they play a shimmering set that sets up the crowd for perennial festival favourites James.
There's a lot of love for James and they reciprocate playing a solid set of hits through the ages. Charming and appreciative of their audience, they don't disappoint and when 'Laid' is blasted out there is a surge of movement from the arena as nearly everyone starts dancing. Oddly, the massive hit, 'Sit Down' is performed in a strangely lacklustre manner. Is it because it is such a huge hit that the expectation of the audience to sing means they tone it down? Who knows? Whatever, the crowd does chant along. There were probably even people sitting down near the front. It's difficult to see from the back.
One of the must-visit areas for any KC attendee is the Real Ale Bar at the top of the hill overlooking the main stage area. Too many lovely beers to count and at £4 a pint, better value than Kronenbourg at £4.40 – and nicer tasting too. It's no surprise that with the fare on offer some beers started running low; even by ten o' clock. Not to worry though as there were plenty to replace them and the bar stayed fluid all weekend.
Around the whole site, you can pretty much take a world tour of food. Every variety of cuisine you can think of can probably be found and if it isn't there, you wouldn't want it anyway.
As mentioned previously, large areas of the event are fenced off on the Thursday, but this just serves to whet the appetite of the fully-featured three days ahead.
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