Festival Preview: Kendal Calling

Kendal Calling

Lowther Park, Penrith, 26-28 July 2019

Words by Gary Lambert

So many times I hear in the post-Glastonbury Live on the BBC buzz how people would love to go to it, but it’s just a bit too big for them to handle. Given it is absolutely huge such people are sensible in their approach to not wasting a lot of money on something they wouldn’t enjoy, so we are going to offer you a tried and trusted alternative whilst there are a couple of tickets left. Get yourself to Kendal Calling!

You would be free to call me biased on this subject as Kendal Calling is an event that I adore. I’ve been there several times as a punter, on my own and in groups, and I’ve never had anything less than a great time. As long as you accept the likelihood of four consecutive days in the beautiful surroundings of The Lake District being entirely rain-free are minimal, then you’re going to love it too.

Kendal Calling has everything that you want from a festival. It has a brilliant mix of music across genres, ages, and moods so you can go from dancing around like it’s 1991 in the House Party to chilling out with something more cerebral in the amount of time it takes you to walk to the next stage along which is only a couple of minutes away. There are no 40 minute hikes between your favourites here. The result of this is that the festival then has a brilliant mix of people too as it draws in across the music spectrum as well as from all over the north of England and Scotland who are generally up for good vibes and good times.

There are also more places to go to enjoy yourself than there ought to be at Kendal Callling. As well as eight stages of music, there is the wonderful Real Ale Tent which is the perfect place for chilling out and making new friends; Lost Eden which provides the cultural nutrition that your mind often desires when surrounded by so many beats; Soapbox, the home of comedy and spoken word artists; the Cinema will have the likes of Jurassic Park (inspiration for this year’s fancy dress) and Supersonic on; The Strongbow Yard for refreshments and beats until 2am; and then you’ve got the markets and food stalls too.

It’s an action-packed place alright. But we’re going for the music, and you’re here to find out who Popped Music tip on this bill overflowing with ace music. Well here it goes…

Ones to Watch


The Big Moon – Main Stage

Without doubt, The Big Moon are a band who I thought I didn’t like a couple of years ago. I can’t remember why, but I was sure about it. But somehow I caught myself listening to their debut album Love In The 4th Dimension over and over. They are great musicians who have an enviable ability to write a tune or two and on the Main Stage of Kendal Calling they will thrive and gather new fans like this ginger writer gathers sunburn.

Listen to The Big Moon here:


The Pearl Harts – Calling Out Stage

This duo have been touring non-stop this spring and summer with seemingly new dates getting added constantly. They create a massive sound reminiscent of classic eighties rock bands, but without the poodle perms and cliches. It seems that they are constantly growing and on the cusp of getting as big as the guitar sound on tracks like Suck It Up and Pullin’ My Brains Out.

Listen to The Pearl Harts here:


Liines – Tim Peaks Diner

I’m not sure if I am happy with my decision to pick Liines as one of my favourites to watch at Kendal Calling as it means that more people are going to want to go to Tim Peaks Stage to see them. In fact, I would recommend going to Tim Peaks before Liines perform as there is a good chance that their deep post-punk will make it pop like an over-inflated balloon. Please though, let me through to watch them.

Listen to Liines here:



Zuzu – Calling Out Stage

With her tour mates Gerry Cinnamon and Courteeners playing at Kendal Calling, I’m expecting a big crowd to turn up at this one. With a voice that mixes sweetness with a sharp sarcastic tongue, Zuzu reminds me of scouse-accented Lily Allen. She is going to be one of the highlights of your weekend. Popped Pinky Promise!

Listen to Zuzu here:


No Hot Ashes – Woodlands Stage

The funky Stockport five piece will just be weeks away from the release of their debut album so I’m expecting a big performance from No Hot Ashes at the stage between the trees. A band who seem to grow in confidence by the day, you’ll find out why they are selling out so many tour dates Easy Peeler.

Listen to No Hot Ashes here:


Delights – House Party

With an indie sound more inspired by the jangle of sixties rock than the thump and bluster of the nineties, Delights are set apart from a number of their Manchester counterparts. Recent single Sometimes, Lately is going to be one of the songs that you remember the 2019 version of Kendal Calling by if you give them a chance.

Listen to Delights here:



Queen Zee – House Party

It would probably have been safer to put Queen Zee on a nice big stage room for everybody to bounce around, but that would feel a bit strange. Queen Zee are made for everybody squeezing in together, getting accidental black eyes in the mosh pit and then needing food and booze afterwards to recover. Their eponymous debut album is a cracker, but as a live unit they are breathtaking.

Listen to Queen Zee here:


The Snuts – Main Stage

Coming from West Lothian, there should be a few fellow Scots in the early Sunday audience to cheer on The Snuts; but even if they choose bacon butties and a lie in, the band will neither be phased nor alone. Their sets at several festivals this summer have generated lots of social media chatter about how their performance was a highlight of the event.

Listen to The Snuts here:


Peaness – Calling Out

With a name designed to be remembered as well as creating a childish giggle, you’re always going to notice this three-piece on a bill poster. But watching them will make the memory of their name far more powerful as they use witty and powerful lyrics along with toe-tapping tunes to great effect.

Listen to Peaness here:


There is one more special recommendation I have for Kendal Calling. Check out Becki’s Choir at Twin Peaks as Cumbrian singer Becki Fishwick takes a group of festival goers and uses the weekend to turn them into a performing act. Throw your hand in the air and get yourself in the choir! There aren’t many festivals which give you the chance to be one of the stars.

If there are any tickets left for Kendal Calling by the time you read this, you’ll find them here.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

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