WHILE I was sunning myself in the picturesque surroundings of the Lake District this summer I stumbled upon a real festival gem.
Sometimes described as a 'mini Glastonbury' Kendal Calling celebrated it's fifth birthday in 2010 with a plethora of great acts including The Futureheads, Calvin Harris and Doves.
Kendal Calling began with a humble 900 revellers descending on Cumbria for an independent, grassroots festival with their tents and wellies at the ready.
Due to growing popularity the location has moved over the five years and is now set in 150 acres of stunning parkland and this year over 8,000 attended the four day party.
But, somehow, it has retained that unique intimacy.
The festival kicked off with the new Freakeasy opening on the Thursday night which showcased weird and wonderful comediens, singers and, err, naked men to set the right tone.
The male nudity came in the form of fire eaters with a difference, Skate Naked, who drew a huge crowd as the gates to the main arena opened. This hilarious duo pleased the crowd no end with their blend of dangerous balancing acts and fire tricks which were all performed in g-strings
The next thing for my eyes to adjust to was the huge ‘glow tent’, which was exactly how it sounds, a sea of neon clad revellers throwing some incredible shapes.
Next door I found the solar powered ‘Croissant Neuf’ tent which was fresh from Glastonbury and had a fun, family friendly, bouncy vibe.
Elsewhere on the field, rising stars of new music could be found across the field on the Calling Out stage and just over the hill was the a wealth of music and culture on the Riot Jazz Cafe, Soapbox Stage and in the comedy tent.
Opening the main stage on Friday was the hugely entertaining Dub Pistols whose blend of ska, hip hop and of dub was topped of by their on stage high jinxs which included a large amount of vodka being poured on the front rows.
There were two distinct groups at Kendal Calling - teenagers enjoying their first festival outing and the more experienced thirty somethings relaxed with the ease of the smaller festival.
Friday's headliner was Calvin Harris who I had never really been a fan of but who really won me over after his energetic performance - even a short power cut couldn't stop the dancing.
The sun shone on Saturday and the cider bars were bustling as The Futureheads stepped things up a notch with their fast punky pace before Manc soft rockers Doves belted out their anthemic crowd pleasers.
After attending Glastonbury a month previous I found Kendal Calling to be a far more relaxing affair.
It was great place to spend time with friends and there was much less chance of losing them than on the Eavis farm.
I found that I was able to take more in as well as I leisurely walked around the venue.
From burlesque to silly olympics, vintage clothes, magic, big name bands to Beatles tribute acts I was in festival heaven and the weather was even on side too.
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