SO.CO Team

9 months ago

40,000 Flock to Kendal Calling

Featured Photo

Nestled in the heart of the stunning Lake District, Kendal Calling hosted 40,000 festival goers as it sold out for its 17th consecutive year.  Callum Robinson packed up his camera, his tent and his waterproofs and made the short journey along the A69. 

Kendal Calling has always been known for it’s fantastic atmosphere, artistic flare and family feel and this year it was no different. Of course it wouldn’t be the Lake District if there wasn’t some wet weather but that certainly didn’t dampen the spirits. Four days, four packed line ups and four huge headliners with the legend Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Kasabian, Blossoms and Royal Blood. Throughout the weekend, the main stage also hosted some of the biggest hitmakers including, Scouting For Girls, Example, Rick Astley, Happy Mondays, Professor Green, Reverend and The Makers and Kaiser Chiefs. 

Nile Rogers onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Nile Rogers onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Nile Rodgers & CHIC headlined the opening day to a packed crowd with a historical journey of epic hits and collaborations. With hit after hit after hit, the crowd were bouncing with pure joy! With regards to a festival opener, does it get much better than Nile Rodgers?!
Kasabian onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Kasabian onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Kasabian were incredible, coming out and playing 'Club Foot' from the off got everyone on their feet and bouncing around. Serge’s bold stage presence getting everyone psyched up and ready for what was to come, an excellent set with all the flares coming out for ‘Fire’, which was very fitting!
Blossoms onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Blossoms onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Blossoms were introduced by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who riled up the crowd and celebrated the talents of the North, in particular Stockport, where Blossoms are from. This year is the 10th anniversary of the band and also 8 years after Blossoms first played at Kendal. Back then keyboardist Myles very nearly got the band thrown out for stealing cans of Stella, the band joked they won’t be doing that this time, or would they? Their set was excellent and after many rumours, Rick Astley joined them on stage to play the drums for ‘Charlemagne’. 
Royal Blood onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Royal Blood onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Finally for the headliners was Royal Blood, who provided an explosive finale for Kendal Calling 2023. Mike Kerr bossed centre stage whilst drummer Ben Thatcher ditched the drums at the start to rally the crowds from the barrier, they then took turns to do this creating mosh pits galore.

Confidence Man onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Confidence Man onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Highlights from the day sessions on the main stage included Confidence Man, Rick Astley, Kaiser Chiefs and The Lathums. Confidence Man who have got a glowing reputation to being one of the most exciting artists to watch live played on the main stage creating a disco to a crowd in their kagooles and ponchos. Throwing shapes, eccentric stares and some amazing outfits, they certainly didn’t disappoint. 
Rick Astley onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Rick Astley onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Rick Astley brought a little bit of sunshine on a dull day. Not afraid to send himself up, he played a rendition of Harry Styles’ ‘As It Was’ dedicating it to 90% of the crowd who weren’t born when Rick was singing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ the first time round. However the whole crowd sung their hearts out to this golden oldie for a grand finale. Kaiser Chiefs never fail to please, with lead singer Ricky Wilson always putting on a show with his mic stand throwing, box jumping and powerful stances. I’m fairly confident that the whole of the Lake District could have heard the tracks ‘I Predict A Riot’ and ‘Ruby’, absolutely brilliant! The Lathums crossed the border from Lancashire to play to a huge crowd at Kendal. With the stage covered in house plants, their heart-warming tunes and a lot of love from the crowd for Wigan, they were great!
The Lathums onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

The Lathums onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Despite the lure of some of the big names on the main stage, the Calling Out Stage was equally as impressive with a lot of rising talents being showcased. Deadletter, one of my highlights of the whole weekend were brilliant. Zac Lawrence with his top off never felt the cold in the Calling Out Stage with the heat coming from the crowd! With the pulsating excitement of the bass line in Binge, he wound upon the crowd and jumped right in to join them. One of Irelands rising bands, Somebody’s Child were great with Cian Godfrey’s distinctive vocals and strong stage presence impressed many. They really excited the crowd and got them fired up with their track ‘We Can Start A War’, which was pure magic. Another band I will be keeping a keen eye on were Chappaqua Wrestling, a grunge, Britpop and Shoegaze band from Brighton. Creating the biggest mosh pit the Calling Out Stage so all weekend, they absolutely smashed their set. Finally from my top selections from the Calling Out Stage was The Hunna, who need no introduction for their electric sets. Strobing white lights, people on their friends shoulders and plenty of head banging, their set had it all.  
Deadletter perform at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Deadletter perform at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Parklands also hosted some excellent artists including Lowes, Frank Turner and The Enemy. Lowes who originates from the Lake District covered host of her tracks with her band that she has worked on with many of the top DJ’s including Sub Focus, Solardo and CamelPhat. Her vocals are incredible and the tent was absolutely packed. Also packing the tent was Frank Turner, a regular at Kendal who always puts on a show with his acoustic guitar. Finally The Enemy, a band that needs no introduction played some of their best tracks to which the crowd sung their hearts out to with their Coventry tops on and flags out.
Lowes onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Lowes onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Andy Smith, Co-Founder of Kendal Calling said, “The tents are now being packed away ready for their next festivity and the curtains have closed on what has been an exceptional 17th year in the fields of Kendal Calling. What makes this festival truly special is the real sense of community, and from Frank Turner joining Lottery Winners on their main stage debut, KT Tunstall teaming up with Rick Astley and Rick himself even jumping on percussion for a roaring performance of 'Charlemagne' with Blossoms - the camaraderie stretched from the audience to the artists. With pop up performances, late night explorations and a secret set (or four) this year has been truly magical. From the bottom of our collective hearts, thank you to everyone who comes together to make these beautiful fields one of the happiest places on earth.”

Frank Turner onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Frank Turner onstage at Kendal Calling 2023 (Callum Robinson)

Words and photos: Callum Robinson