Kendal Calling Festival Previewed

Though T in the Park and Glastonbury may be disappearing over the horizon for another year, qmunicate is not quite prepared to hang up its wellies just yet.

Next week we’re heading off to the bucolic and beautiful Kendal Calling Festival in north-west England, so what better time to introduce you to some of our favourite acts making their way around the festival circuit this year than in our two-part guide to who to look out for?

First up: the big guns.

From humble beginnings as a party for 900 people in a park, Kendal Calling has now expanded to its present capacity of 13 000 revellers, along the way drawing in the likes of Blondie, Calvin Harris and Dizzee Rascal as well as offering important leg-ups to the likes of Mumford & Sons and Alt-J

This year’s headliners stick to the festival’s trend of offering a solid mix of indie, pop and dance with glamorous reformed rockers Suede, well-travelled folk-punk troubadour Frank Turner and producer and rapper Example taking up residence in Lowther Deer Park.

Suede, once christened the Best New Band in Britain by NME, overcame inter-band strife and louche singer Brett Anderson’s crippling heroin habit to release 2013’s surprisingly excellent album Bloodsports, a razor sharp reminder that the band who evoked both kinky sex and suburban boredom on tracks like ‘Animal Nitrate’, haven’t lost their chops. After a celebratory tour last year they’re sure to be on fine form.

Returning to Kendal for the third time, ex-Million Dead singer Frank Turner finds himself one of the most unlikely figures to sell out Wembley Arena. His fifth album Tape Deck Heart was only held off the top of the charts by housewives’ favourite Michael Buble and tracks like ‘Recovery’ and ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ are sure to be rapturously received. Like few others, Turner generates the sense that we’re all in this together so expect plenty of dancing and some good-natured sing-alongs.

Finally, closing the festival on the Sunday night, Example will deliver a set packed with bangers like ‘Kickstarts’ and ‘One More Day’. His fabulous Twitter account is an unfiltered expression of the daft, the genial and the profane but all eyes are sure to be on his impressive light show and collection of guaranteed party-starting hits as he plays one of his first festival headline slots.

Elsewhere on the main stages look out for indie-dance veterans The Happy Mondays, daisy age hip-hop extraordinaires De La Soul and sharply dressed mod mop-top Miles Kane, while sets from acts like Razorlight, Newton Faulkner and almost comically upbeat ska troupe Reel Big Fish are sure to lift the audience whatever the weather.

Perhaps most exciting of all; displaying a remarkable amount of foresight, Kendal Calling were able to tie-down chart-bothering quartet Clean Bandit, almost before their assent to superstardom began. With hits like ‘Extraordinary’ and the inescapable ‘Rather Be’ this is sure to be one of the sets of the weekend.

Kendal Calling is not just about rock and pop music though. Since the very beginning this small festival has attracted some of the hottest and most exciting acts in dance music to the leafy Lake District, from Chase N Status to Erol Alkan and Nero to Fake Blood. This year sees hipster electro-house faves 2manyDJs, DnB legend Goldie, youthful UK garage duo Bondax and Radio 1’s own Zane Lowe taking to the decks  in the always riotous Glow Tent.

Lastly, those of you looking for some Caledonian talent can take comfort in sets from the likes of modern day Glaswegian legends Frightened Rabbit and their national compatriots Admiral Fallow, who everyone will be hoping offer some first glimpses of material from their forthcoming third record.

See you in the fields!

[Look out for part two coming soon – qmunicate’s guide to some of the best new and underground acts gracing the festival scene this summer]

[Max Sefton]

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