As I typed this post yesterday, the rain was hammering on the roof in much the same way that it did when we went to Kendal Calling 2019, a couple of weekends ago.
We’re not fair weather festivallers by any stretch; over the last 20 years my boy and I have seen a lot of rain at a lot of festivals.
But the rain at Kendal Calling 2019 was on another level — biblical, some might say — and according to the Met-Office, we experienced a month’s worth of rain just on the Saturday alone.
As a result, the site was a mudbath.
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Is Kendal Calling Family Friendly?
I have been asked quite a bit by friends whether I thought Kendal Calling is family friendly.
Probably on a sunny weekend, it would be great for families. But it was one of the wettest weekends of the year when Kendal Calling 2019 was on and the conditions were pretty dire.
I thought of writing this post and glossing over the mud but I’m nothing if not honest and there’s no point pretending it didn’t happen.
I won’t lie: it made the going very tough — especially for my little man-cubs.
But did it spoil our experience?
Yes and no.
Yes — we found it difficult to easily move around from area to area so — as a result — I didn’t get a good feel for the festival site as a whole. I’d love to do it all over again and explore without being hampered by mud.
Plus, it was so wet on the Saturday, we bailed out after lunch and went back to Dolly.
We’ve never, ever done that before at a festival. Ever.
But being out in torrential rain for hours on end caused our waterproofs to leak and after 4 hours, we decided to admit defeat and go and get dry.
No — it didn’t spoil things enough for us to not have a great time.
There was so much more to Kendal Calling than the mud.
We made some fabulous memories and met some lovely people.
Hopefully (mud aside) these pics will show how colourful and fun Kendal Calling 2019 was.
Things We Loved About Kendal Calling 2019
The Kendal Calling Theme
The theme for this year’s Kendal Calling was all things ‘jurassic’. My two dino-mad boys absolutely loved it.
From the amazing puppets we spotted around the site, to the fabulous installations, the production team had done such an amazing job.
The Forest at Kendal Calling
Literally our favourite thing about the whole festival. The forest was a little oasis in the middle of the site.
There was a brilliant little outdoor club venue — complete with DJ booth — plus bars, a stage and — our very favourite thing — a brilliant interactive installation, with a chapel and a time travelling silent disco.
The boys did an amazing experiment with a woofer and some cornflour and got totally swept up in the ‘other-worldy’ activities and immersive theatre put on by the brilliant actors from Circus Kinetica.
We absolutely LOVED it. This was definitely our highlight of the festival.
The kid’s area had so much for the littles to do.
The boys made smoothies using pedal power. Climbed, ran, jumped and generally had a brilliant time.
The Last Word
The thing that made Kendal Calling 2019 so memorable for us was the people.
The weather was truly awful but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits and — despite the rain and mud — everyone’s mood remained high.
There was a real camaraderie on-site and our lovely Irish neighbours made our time at the festival so much fun.
We loved seeing Tom Jones — he was a real highlight and (as one young guy said as we were walking away from the stage):
‘To be fair, that Tom Jones can really sing’.
One negative to mention, that’s not weather related.
Kendal is one of the few festivals we’ve been to, in recent years, that doesn’t have a cup recycling system in place. It was noticeable too, as the site was littered with cans and single-use plastic cups.
The cup system is brilliant as it noticeably cuts down on litter; I wish they’d implement it at Kendal Calling.
I’ve comped out most of the litter in my pics. There was a lot!
All in all, we had a ball at Kendal Calling 2019.
Yes, the rain (and mud) stopped play at times but — I hope from these pictures (and from my little film) — you can see how much fun we had. Despite the weather!
If my words and pictures don’t persuade you, hopefully this will.