We booked tickets to Kendal Calling at the start of this year. A friend said we would love it and invited us along with a group of his mates. I was very excited, only having been to one other proper weekend long camping festival…. but that was before I found out I was pregnant!
I must admit that apprehension set in at the thought of all the things that would usually have me buzzing at the thought of a festival
- Sleeping in a cosy little tent on an airbed
- Navigating mud and soggyness
- Avoiding use of the dodgy toilets
- Trekking across fields to find the next act
- Seeking out surprising quirkiness
- Living off camp food such as chocolate, pot noodles, crisps and bacon sarnies
- Choosing which food stall to eat at (and accepting the risks!)
- Drinking a fair amount of alcohol
- Dancing my butt off
All things that whilst pregnant, don’t have quite the same sheen!
Nevertheless, I was committed to the festival and Kendal Calling certainly looked the part. The festival was launched in 2006 as a small central Kendal festival and has grown year on year and in 2011 was the winner of a music industry award for Live UKs Best Small Festival.
The line up looked impressive and the quirkiness of the various stages had me very excited, as well as the beautiful setting of Lowther Deer Park in Cumbria.
We arrived on the Friday to a very rural car park (one which we were worried about getting back out of in case of rain) and loaded up the various trolleys with our gear, prepared for a long trek to the campsite. Actually the walk was pretty short and we pitched up in a good spot, near the festival entrance, not too near to the toilets and on a fairly flat surface. As with all festivals, the gap between tents was about 2 foot!
The Friday was the real test of my mettle, with 5 drinking festival buddies and lots to see and do. We headed into the site and were greeted by fantastically colourful sculptures, fairground rides and stages – it was almost a bit overwhelming, so we invested in a guide for a reasonable £5. The theme for the year was Fairytales and Comic Books, so there was much reference to mythology, with a gingerbread house, giant dragon and ironic wooden Iron Man (which Andy was photographed with on the official website!) We explored the stages which included:
- House Party – a weekend long party in a field with beds to jump on
- Soap Box – comedy tent
- Calling Out – new and energetic music
- Tim Peaks Diner – run by Tim from The Charlatans, with a jukebox, poetry readings and cake
- Dance Tent – much feared by my pregnant self
After watching a rather fantastic DJ Yoda, an energetic Monster Ceilidh band, a fantastic Mik Artistik and a super dissapointing Maximo Park…I was not only full of energy, but quite smug to be sober and 4.5 months pregnant and the only one still wide awake at 1.00am!
A good start to the weekend and I was feeling optimistic about being sober and managing to stay the distance.
On the Saturday, there was just too much to see. We explored the site even more and found new corners that were unexplored. The weather was pants and changeable, but not too wet… the toilets on the other hand were another matter (main arena – ok… campsite – unusable). I wish I had taken a photo of the sign in the portaloo which said “Unit not to be used by more than 10 people in a 40 hour working week….” haha. I couldn’t bring myself to pay £17.50 for a weekend pass to Poo-topia – but if I had needed to use the facilities for more than a number 1 then that £17.50 would have been spent!
Saturday was also the fancy dress day and we embraced it fully (as you can see below). Andy was a bit of a celebrity as the only IronMan onsite, but Danny in his “Gingey” outfit was the toast of the town. Some costumes were just beyond disturbing and some stretched the fairy tales and comic book theme to the max… Crayola Crayon anyone?
Highlights for Saturday were the vintage fair (loads of ideas for our wedding), the comedy tent, a gravelly voiced Steve Smyth and the astonishingly good Dizzee Rascal. Once again, I was still full of energy come 1.00am – the boyfriend may have been a little worse for wear!
Sunday was a little more mellow in the day due to giant hangovers across the 10,000 revellers, but there were still great things to be seen, we LOVED the Lancashire HotPots and Vintage Trouble closed the Calling Out stage with an energetically fab set which we missed James to see. We also managed to get into the Silent Disco, which was just loads of fun.
I was amazed with the choice of food. The last festival I went to was the Isle of Wight in 2004 and the food was burgers or pies, but Kendal offered Tibetan, Vegan, Vegetarian Mexican, Homemade Pies, Fish and Chips and Pizza Express! Lots of healthy and nutritious choices for me and the bump.
The best close to the weekend was our ability to drive off the site at 12.00am to avoid what we heard was a very slow exit from the site on Monday morning. See… there are benefits to being a pregnant festival goer!
Top Tips for Pregant “Festies”
- Lots of layers to sleep on, cushions, good airbed
- Earplug – various pairs
- Hand sanitizer and lots of tissues
- Afternoon napping (with afore mentioned earplugs)
- Fruit and water to stay healthy
- A festival guide to plan your route
- Comfy picnic mat
So which other festivals should be on my list? Beatherder? Womad?