Set in spectacular countryside, Kendal Calling is one of the UK’s most picturesque festivals. The ancient, illuminated trees bore signs reading: “We are very old. Please do not climb us.” The 13-year-old, four-day event is more family-oriented than most, and children could play on the fairground or illumaphonium (giant woodland xylophone) or simply gawp at the caged fire jugglers or carnival of percussionists and dancers dressed as giant butterflies or aliens.
Musically, what initially appeared a rather meat-and-potatoes lineup was actually a rather canny pitch to teenagers and their parents, and an eclectic balance of mass and niche. Safe-but-solid festival staples (Hacienda Classical, the Wailers, Fun Lovin’ Criminals) and newer grime acts (Bugzy Malone) were among acts otherwise weighted towards the north’s enduring affection for anthemic indie rock. The Sherlocks and Friday headliners Catfish and the Bottlemen…
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