Gangsta’ rapper Snoop Dogg made an unlikely appearance to a capacity crowd in the rolling hills of the Lake District as the Kendal Calling music festival marked its 10th anniversary at the weekend.
Arriving fashionably late for his Sunday night slot Snoop’s entourage of two tour buses rolled up to rapturous applause, ending any doubts that he might be a no-show following his most recent brush with the law.
The family-friendly Cumbrian festival, which started in 2006, didn’t know what had hit it as the rapper performed his daring set surrounded by scantily-clad dancers.
Let’s just say that a whole generation of very young festival goes will have returned home with a whole new vocabulary of expletives.
But it would be unfair to just focus on one act, Snoop was followed by indie favourites the Kaiser Chiefs who closed the festival in their own right on Sunday.
Rattling out all their hits including Ruby, I Predict a Riot and Every Day I Love you Less and Less,it was one of mine and my pal’s highlights of the festival.
Party like you’re turning 10 again – but with booze and better music, obviously
Endless stages, family fun and hard partying made for another very special Kendal Calling enjoyed by everyone from toddlers to pensioners and all ages in between
The first surprise were headliners James playing on Thursday evening – traditionally the early bird night – presumably as a bit of a special treat for the 10th anniversary celebrations, while part of the arena was still being constructed.
One of the more mature crowds of the weekend watched Tim Booth’s characteristic dancing style as he and the band rattled out hits including Sit Down in a really intimate set.
Friday saw The Vaccines and The Levellers – my faves that day– play the main stage as we headed for the front.
The weather was decent enough, with glorious sunshine on Saturday, with Elbow closing on the main state after Ella Eyre, with Kodaline sadly being no-shows due to illness.
But after a night of heavy rain, last year’s mud apocalypse very, very nearly repeated itself. The organisers did put sawdust down in an attempt to soak up its fudge-like consistency, to but the main paths through the campsites were almost impassable without waders.
New to the festival was the Big Birthday Blow Out area – definitely the stage with the most picturesque setting by the lakeside. Other performing spaces, included the self-explanatory House Party, the dancey Glow Tent, comedy stage Soapbox, Riot Jazz, Chai Wallah and the Calling Out stage.
The Lost Eden arts area calls for a special mention, home to the Woodlands stage and a number of intimate performance stages. This part of the festival really came alive at night, with fire and light installations and colourful parades.
Also new for this year was the amazing Jagerhaus, a two-storey structure resembling a hunting lodge, compete with a stage, beer garden and two bars, serving up a multitude of Jagermeister concoctions.
Sadly the experience was tainted by tragedy as suspected rogue drugs claimed the life of an 18-year-old from Cumbria, and left several others hospitalised.
As in previous years, there was barely room to swing a cat in most of the campsites and come Friday morning there was barely a square inch to spare for late-comers. These consisted of the party-hard anything goes Wolf Woods, which you would probably be best off avoiding unless you are either 18 or very, very brave. The large general area of Great Homes, with its handy ‘Village Green’ area, with its own tiny Thursday-only stage for acoustic ‘campfire sessions’ – family, quiet, luxury and campervan areas.
Tickets sold out in record time, making this a birthday bash to remember – as the organisers themselves put it “Party like you’re turning 10 again (but with booze and better music, obviously”
Until the next time, Kendal...