Kendal Calling 2017

Heading to Kendal Calling for the second time, I pack my bags with excitement and made my way to the beautiful Lake District to attend one of the best smaller festivals the UK has to offer. There really is something special about the place, the stunning views, forests and ancient woodlands surround you with a warm atmosphere filled with revelers that keep the spirits of the festival alive.

For those that gained early entry into the festival, Thursday night took us back to the 80’s with a raucous start from the Happy Mondays, by leading straight into Hallelujah. Whilst the band may be more famous for their laddish charm and stage antics, Bez owned the stage by shaking his maracas and danced in his unique way that kept the audience chanting for more, a perfect act to hype up a crowd that waited for Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand. Proving why they keep going from strength to strength, these guys filled the site with an electric crowd that sang along to all the hits including Do You Want To, Take Me Out and No You Girls.    

Friday marked the beginning of the festivals first full day, with the likes of Kate Nash, DMA’s, Circa Waves, Jake Bugg and headliners Stereophonics on the bill. Kate Nash entertained in her colourful one piece, standing side by side with her female twin bassist and guitarist, conveniently dressed in their matching Kate Nash T-Shirts.

Making their debut at Kendal were Australian band DMA’s. Taking us back to the 90’s with an indie influence and the attitude of Liam Gallagher, lead singer Tommy remained static and lack luster, yet still managed to command the crowd. Circa Waves, Jake Bugg and the Stereophonics all took to the main stage on Friday night, however a bland and aged Stereophonics were unimpressive, and like many others, I headed off after the first song and made my way straight to the Calling Out stage to support South Londoner Hip Hop artist Loyle Carner. There’s no surprises this guy has been nominated for a Mercury Prize, charismatic and humble, and not afraid to shout out his love for his mum, this 22 year old will have no problem gaining a huge fan base.  Carner proved why he is destined to be one of the UK’s biggest Hip Hop artists and the crowd sealed their support by singing a long to favourites Ain’t Nothing Changed and NO CD.

Saturday provided an electic line up, with a great selection of up and coming bands playing the Calling Out stage including crowd favourites Honeyblood, Field Music and Shame, whilst the main stage lineup took us down memory lane with rockers Reverend and the Makers, Feeder, Editors, Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds and Manic Street Preachers all showing us why they reserve a slot on the main stage.

For the Beach Boys fans out there, Brian Wilson delivered classic after classic hits including California Girls, Surfin’ USA and Good Vibrations.  At 75 years old and fragile looking, Brian proved why his legacy of work will never be forgotten. Both Editors and Manic Street Preachers ignited the crowds with an equally energetic performance from both sides, with Manics kicking off their set with Motorcycle Emptiness and Editors front man Tom Smith baring a resemblance for Michael Stipe with his opener to Cold.

Drawing to a close with a spectacular fireworks display as Tinie Tempah closed the main stage, Sunday night proved to be a success. Lethal Bizzle pumped up the crowd with an equally impressive mosh pit to match. The fans continued to show their support by lighting up flares and smoke bombs for non conforming Slaves, who electrified the crowd. Seasick Steve returned to the festival for a captivating performance and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls performed an impressive 19 song set list. With a muddy 25,000 revellers enjoying the vast array of music, arts, markets and cinema, Kendal Calling has something for everyone.  Main stage aside, Kendal Calling has so much more to offer, compact in size you can get lost in the woodlands or head to Chai Wallah to listen to some cutting edge music. Whatever your preference, Kendal Calling is a must go to festival for all.

More photos here

Photos and review by Olivia Frayman 

Found Festival 2016 Review

Staying south for its second year, Found brings the daytime party alive with a spectacular line up. Arriving early has its benefits, stumbling across some up and coming talent is always a bonus.

Walking through the site I headed towards what can only be described as a secret garden, enclosed by trees was Feelings, a glitter ball decorated van. Playing disco and soulful house to an intimate audience was Daniel Wang, interacting with his crowd for most part of his set and ending with Sunshine After The Rain by Salsoul Orchestra, appropriately timed as the sun began to shine through the trees and lifted the spirit of the revellers.

As I moved across the site the crowds began to flood in, whilst the sounds of deep house waved through Brockwell Park. Theo Parish took to the renowned Secret Sundaze tent playing an array of nu disco with a mellowed out undertone. Whilst the main stage pulled in a decent crowd as Dyed Soundorom electrified the crowd with garage infused deep house shortly followed by British duo Paranoid London and their sleazy mix of up tempo acid house.

Dipping in and out of both the Find Me In The Dark and Friends Of Found, both tents were skewered for the techno fans, with the likes of Zenker Brothers, Yume Records, Flux Showcase, Kassem Mosse and Legowelt closing to a good turnout, however the atmosphere lacked soul in both these tents.

Heading back through the trees and consistently good throughout the day my favourite glitter ball van. Mood II Swing played soulful house including a live PA towards the end of the set, which got everyone in the mood for their finale seminal remix with Ultra Nate's Free, the track that launched them into popularity.

As the day progressed revellers made their way to main stage for the two favourites of the night Derrick May and his sound of balearic prepped the crowd for headlining act Keri Chandler who opened his set with Rain as the heavens opened on Brockwell Park.  Whilst over in the Secret Sundaze tent Secretsundaze played homage to Prince with I Want To Be Your Lover. Overall the sound could have been improved across all tents however the lack of volume didn't deter fans from making the most of it. Found packed in 40 DJ's and with all festivals, clashing set times that will have you moving across a manageable but rainy Brockwell Park.


Photo Credit: Marc Sethi

Open’er Festival Review 2014

Set in a military airfield base Open’er Festival is spread across 4 days hosting an array of international artists along with some renowned Polish bands. Uniquely set up, the festival has everything laid out on the edges of the site, leaving plenty of space to relax and explore. Taking full advantage of it’s airfield location, the festival showcases all sorts of entertainment from fashion shows to the silent disco in the elusive bunkers, and if bunkers don’t appeal to you then you can choose between the festivals five stages to listen to your favourite bands. 

The best thing about most European festivals is that they don’t start until later in the day, so if (like me) you’re a tourist from another land, you’ve got time to explore what the city has to offer. The free shuttle bus service runs every few minutes, so no long waits to get you to and from the site! The journey into Gdynia city centre takes around 15 minutes and once in town it’s a 10 minute walk to the beach from where you can explore the town or simply relax on the beach.

Arriving on site I was greeted by a number of food and drinks outlets along with an official merchandise outlet. Sponsored by Heineken the festival has plenty of beer on tap, but if Heineken isn’t your chosen tipple then there are other options including Desperados and Guinness, both on tap along with a wine stall. The downside is that you can’t drink alcohol near the stages. Restricted to the food and drinks court, you can sip on a pint whilst listening to your favourite band from a distance. It’s not all bad as it not only keeps the site clean but also invites you to spend time in other areas of the site.

The main stage, also known as the Open’er stage is where the headliners perform, and to kicks things off on day one was Interpol. Playing to an energetic audience they started things off with Say Hello To The Angels, followed by Evil, C’Mere and finishing their set with Slow Hands. And whilst Interpol were finishing up their set Metronomy were taking to the tent stage. Making my way to the tent I was greeted by I’m Aquarius, followed by Reservoir and The Upsetter

Next up on the Open’er stage were The Black Keys who played a stellar set of songs from all of their albums including their earlier hits Strange Times, The Next Girl, to their latest track Fever. And if that wasn’t enough they came back on stage for an encore and finished with Little Black Submarines and I Got Mine. Closing day one was Haim on the tent stage and Foster the People on Open’er. It wasn’t long into Haim’s set when members of the crowd began shouting out ‘Marry Me’ to which the band members responded with ‘yes, we’ll come to Poland to find our husbands’. Playing all the hits from their debut album they ended with The Wire and Let Me Go. And as the sun settled over the airfield Foster the People ended day one with an hour and a half performance including Best Friend, Coming of Age, Ask Yourself and the much loved summer track Pumped Up Kicks

Photo courtesy of

Day two saw the likes of MGMT, The Afghan Whigs, Jaguar Ma, Rudimental and headliners Pearl Jam take to the stages. Paying tribute to the late Bobby Womack The Afghan Whigs covered the classic Across 110th Street. 

Pearl Jam were by far the highlight of the night with a 23 strong song set list starting with Better Man followed by Even Flow, Jeremy and Alive. Pulling in the biggest crowd Eddie Vedder did not disappoint leaving the crowd hyped up and wanting more.

A tough headliner to follow, the penultimate day saw Jack White headline, but not before Foals played an impressive set which provoked an equally impressive mosh pit. Buzzing from their electric performance I headed straight to the Alter stage to check out newcomers Royal Blood. The duo, aided with just a drum kit and guitar sent the crowd into a frenzy, and if their show is anything to go by then these guys are the ones to watch out for. 

Playing songs from his new album Lazaretto, Jack White kicked off his set with High Ball Stepper, and for anyone wanting to hear some track from The White Stripes then you were in luck as he rocked out to Icky Thump along with Seven Nation Army. The night came to an end when Lykke Li entertained the crowd. Unfortunately her set was suddenly cut short, but not before playing hit single Gunshot and I Never Learn.

Photo courtesy of

The fourth and final day at Open’er did not disappoint. Saving the best headliner to last – Faith No More. But before they took to the stage The Horrors opened the main stage, pulling in the smallest crowd. Unimpressed with their set, revellers flocked to the Here and Now stage to check out Hip Hop artist Pusha T, who delivered a much more energetic performance to a small but content crowd.

Debuting two new songs on a white stage filled with flowers, Faith No More were victorious in their headline set, returning for an encore that included Failing To Pieces, Matador and We Care A Lot. And whilst the rockers had pulled in the largest crowd for the whole weekend Bastille entertained an equally modest crowd on the Here and Now Stage covering TLC’s No Scrubs and ending with Pompeii

And for those that could pull themselves away from Bastille and head to the tent were greeted with an extra long set from Warpaint. Rounding off this years Open’er festival was Phoenix who played an electric set including hits Lasso and Rome.

I left Open’er feeling very content that I’d witnessed some of the most amazing acts, consumed enough Heineken to last a life time. This festival is all about quality music and it shows, here’s hoping thats next years line up will be just as good!

Interview with Lucy Rose at Kendal Calling 2013

Olivia Frayman was at Kendal Calling, reporting for Summer Festival Guide, here is her interview with Lucy Rose.

Olivia: Hi Lucy, welcome to Kendal Calling, you've covered a lot of festivals, do you have any favourites that stick out?

Lucy: Glastonbury was so epic and brilliant, that’s definitely got to be up there. And I really enjoyed Cambridge Folk Festival on Friday, I was headlining that night I was headlining the smaller stage and there was no one on the bigger one and it was really scary, and it was a lot of pressure and really good, people were really welcoming with my sort of music I was playing, so it was really nice.

Olivia: Ah that’s excellent, and what’s your music writing process like?

Lucy: Yeah its pretty crazy at the moment, I think I've written 16 songs for the next album, which is exciting, most of them I've recorded on the road and sound checks, and recently I've started playing on Beat Maker II on the ipad that I'm obsessed with, its actually like a dangerous obsession, which I keep writing beats with but it seems inappropriate, there’s always sections for a rap artist and stuff, so I’m like maybe this isn’t the right pair. 

Olivia: Any favourite things about playing a festival?

Lucy: The crowd, I think that’s the classic one, I think everyone is so up for it, drunk or a combination of both, that it’s just a different sort of atmosphere that you get at any other gigs.

Olivia: I hear that Vogue magazine listed you as one the Indie break through artists of 2012, how does that make you feel? Or were you even aware of this?

Lucy: Yes because every interviewer ask this (laughs).

Olivia: Oh no.

Lucy: No, it’s a good thing because I didn’t even know it was happening, then their like, did you know, and only now I know, yeah I actually never read anything about me, so the first time I heard about it was in an interview and someone asked me about it, obviously that’s pretty crazy, its vogue, I’m not stylish. 

Olivia: You'll make the front cover?

Lucy: I doubt that highly, that will never happen, but yeah, coming from Vogue, that’s pretty cool.

Olivia: And is there anyone that you'd like to collaborate with?

Lucy: I don’t know, there’s tonnes of cool bands, musicians out there, so anyone that came up to me and said let’s do something, I’d be up for, so I’m pretty open to all collaborations.

Olivia: And I hear you’re a fan of tea?

Lucy: yes.

Olivia: What is your favourite tea?

Lucy: My own blend of tea which I make, called builder grey it’s a combination of Earl Grey and English Breakfast, and it’s the bomb.

Olivia: So hopefully we'll be seeing that in the shops soon?

Lucy: Yeah I need to get that into some shops somehow, not sure how my way in is.

Olivia: And lastly, what can fans expect from your performance today?

Lucy: Hopefully a lot of energy, a lot of fun and a lot of new stuff mainly, there’s going to be a lot of new songs in there, hopefully just get into the rhythm.

Olivia: Thank you for your time, and best of luck for your performance today.


Kendal Calling 2013 Review

Penrith, home to Kendal Calling, in its 8th year this small boutique festival transports you into a fantasy playground. Expect house parties, fancy dress, entertainers and an array of hidden gems that will brighten up the beautiful surronding’s that is Cumbria, the Lake District.

Spread across 8 areas – main stage, glow tent, calling out, chai wallah, house party, riot jazz, woodlands, jagermesiter, and songsmith solar, there is plenty of music and activities to chose from.
The site itself is conveniently laid out, and considering the size of the small size of the festival, it offers a wide varitey of activities to chose from. For families with young children, there is a ladybird kids area where parenets can relax whilst the kids have fun, and if ale is your chosen tipple, head straight to the ale tent where you will find a selection of local ales.
The main stage on Friday saw the likes of Clean Bandit, Willy Moon, Public Enemy and Basement Jaxx take to the stage whilst The Lightning Seeds played an acoustic set in the calling out tent, shortly followed by Theme Park. And if dance music is more your thing then head straight to the glow tent, where you were treated to music by Artwork, Jackmaster, Bondax, Oneman and Dismantle spinning tunes into the early hours of the morning.
Public Enemy provided an energetic performance that had the crowd jumping in unison. Flava Flav was last to make an appearance onto the 10 strong band line up, and he’s energy and stage presence was worth the wait. Working the crowd and jumping around, he entertained and the crowd followed pursuit. At one point he asked the photographers to stay for an extra song as he didn’t want them to miss out on the next performance. A hard act to follow, but Basement Jaxx were next on the bill, closing the main stage on friday, The brightly colourful dance duo walked onto the stage and blew the audience away. Playing an array of feel good anthems such as Romeo, Where’s Your Head At, Oh My Gosh and Rendevous along with special guests Vula Malinga and lisa Kekaula, a perfect ending to a sun kissed evening.
Public Enemy @ Kendal Calling
Saturday’s line up included Mickey P Kerr, Dutch Uncles, The Twang, The D.O.T, Ash, I am Kloot, The Charlatans, Dub Pistols and British Sea Power gracing the stages in the heavy down poor. Mickey P Kerr provided the audience with an entertaining set, including a track called Banned from Morrisons that had everyone joining in with the chorus and it wasn’t long before everyone was in fits of laughter.
Ash @ Kendal Calling
Ash played a mixture of old classics and some tracks from their latest album that got everyone in the mood for the evenings headliner, The Charlatans. Playing a string of hits including The Only One I Know, One to Another, My Beautiful Friend, Tellin’ Stories and North Country Boy. An impressive set from a legendary band who proved why the main stage belonged to them and rocked the crowd into a frenzy.
By Sunday a lot of revellers had left the site due to the heavy rain, but the majority of people stuck it out in anticipation for seeing some iconic artists including the legendary Primal Scream. But before the nights headliners, a great selection of bands were on offer, including the witty Beans on Toast, who sang about sex, drugs, Tesco’s and politics. Entertaining the crowd, he had everyone in fits of laughter. Irish newcomers Kodaline took to the main stage to provide audiences with a selection of songs including High Hopes, to be shortly followed by The Mystery Jets.
The iconic and infamous Johnny Marr made an entrance onto the main stage and second song in he sang The Smiths classic Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, followed by I Fought the Law and Bigmouth Strikes Again.
The amazing bluesman Seasick Steve wowed the crowds with his personalised guitars and soulful voice, whilst The 1975 had the teenage girls screaming for more. And as the sun settled over Lowther Deer Park Primal Scream made a late entrance onto the main stage. Singing their classic hits including Movin’ On Up, Loaded, Jailbird and Rocks, they entertained and closed the festival in style.
If you’re looking for a small family friendly festival then head to Kendal Calling, it offers everything you can expect from a festival with a fancy dress theme on Saturday. Let your fun side out and join in the fun!
Photos by Olivia Frayman from Kendal Calling are here

Bilbao BBK Live 2013 Review

Bilbao festival, in its eighth year takes place on top of the Kobetamendi mountains just north of Bilbao. For those that aren't camping be prepared to wait up to 40mins to jump on the free shuttle bus that takes you up most part of the mountain. Unfortunately the buses don't drive to the top so be prepared to walk for another 20 minutes. Once on site the festival is conveniently laid out. In total you have a choice of 4 stages- Bilbao stage, Heineken, Live and the Vodafone stage. All within easy walking distance and no clashes, which is rare at any festival. 
If you're looking to feed your stomach then I would suggest eating out in the city centre to avoid disappointment. Unfortunately the food options and quality lacked in choice and flavours. The bar however had a great choice of drinks, most of which are served in litres! One of the drinks on offer was a local drink called kalimotxo, also known as cocavino. Half a litre of red wine, half coke and some ice, which surprisingly tasted good!
On Thursdays line up saw the likes of Alt-J, Toy, Billy Talent, Editors, Biffy Clyro, Depeche Mode and closing were Two Door Cinema Club. Like most of the crowd I thought that the main stage closing act should have been the Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro. And when the Irish pop rockers concluded their set, there was very little to chose from unless you headed to the Vodafone stage, which hosted an array of European DJ's spinning their acclaimed tracks that had the spaniards jumping up and down with joy.
On Friday the audience were looking forward to seeing Spector, The Vaccines, Klaxons, Kings of Leon and Public Image Ltd, but half way into The Vaccines set the heavens opened and thunder and lightening struck which led to the band walking off stage. There was an uproar from the crowd but before long everyone hurried into what little shelter they could find, myself included. At one point the rain was so bad that a majority fled the site to find shelter whilst others resumed to finding solice in a portaloo. The crowd were uneasy and unsure of the festival continuing, but through sheer determination the majority stuck around with the hope that the festival would go on. And after 2hrs of heavy down poor the Klaxons made an entrance onto the Heineken stage and the festival goers disended to watch a money well spent set. They played all the classics including Echoes, Golden Skans and Gravity's Rainbow. And whilst the hardcore Klaxons fans watched a faultless performance the Kings of Leon were re-opening the Bilbao stage, pulling in the biggest crowd they had a soaked audience singing along to all their hits ending on Sex on Fire. And shortly after their set the anticipated Public Image Ltd took to the same stage. Working the crowd was legendary and ex Sex Pistol John Lydon. It was a shame that they didn't have a big audience but they were an outfit worth seeing.
By day three the site was looking a lot more crowded The Hives entered the stage looking equally as eccentric as each other. The great thing about these guys was their striking outfits. The swedes hyped up the crowd with their impressive Spanish, and had the crowd cheering for more as they finished their set. A difficult act to follow but next on the bill were Green Day, they played a two hour set including some favourites from Dookie, along with American Idiot. Half way threw the set saw Billie Joe Armstrong pull an audience member from the crowd onto the stage, to which he had to dive bomb into the crowd, one of the most spectacular dives off a stage that I have ever seen!
And finishing up the festival was Fatboy Slim. The got the crowd pumped and played a faultless set to a very satisfied audience.
All in all I found Bilbao Festival a lot of hard work, the long waits for the bus plus the climbing up the mountain were challenging, especially in the heat. But once on site the chilled out vibe made the festival worth going to.


Best Kept Secret Festival 2013

Its a very rare occasion that you get to experience a new festival without hearing the experiences of others, and I wasn't sure what to expect from Best Kept Secret, but I was pleasantly surprised by the site, the friendliness of others and sheer organisation, this is definitely a top European festival to be reckoned with.

Not only is it situated on a safari park, but it is surrounded by a beautiful lake and a white sandy beach. Revellers have the opportunity to kick off those shoes, get their feet wet and go swimming whilst listening to some great bands that are were offer. And don't worry if you're not a great swimmer, there are life guards on patrol looking out for your safety.

For the foodies out there, a great selection of both meat dishes and veggie delights were on offer at a reasonable price. And although the weather wasn't on our side, this didn't stop anyone from grabbing a free poncho, throwing it over themselves and making the most of what was on offer. Like most European festivals, BKF operates on a token system, and have a great incentive to ensure you don't litter. For every cup you return to the bar you receive half a token, 2 tokens gets you a free beer, so before you know it, you'll be receiving a free beer for your efforts.

Best Kept Secret Festival

Friday saw the doors open at 5pm, and within easy walking distance you had a choice of 3 stages. Most of the artists had only a slight overlap, so if you wanted to check out a number of bands, then it was easily done. On the bill were Swim Deep, The Maccabees, Bloc Party, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Fuck Buttons and closing the main stage were the Arctic Monkeys. Not only did they pull in biggest crowd, but they played an hour and a half set including their classics which had everyone jumping up and down.

Day 2 saw the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, Alt-J, Allah-Las, Koreless and Damien Rice take to the stages. Damien Rice entertained the crowd with his hits and it wasn't long before everyone was singing canon ball in unison.

The final day ended with the Local Natives, Everything Everything, Palma Violets, Kurt Vie and the Violators, Portishead and Sigur Ros. Not only was there a great selection of established bands on offer, but also some exciting new bands to watch out for. One band that stood out were Autre Ne Teut, hailing from New York, these guys provided a packed out tent to a mixture of way out musical styles mixed with some great beats to match. Sigur Ros closed the festival with an incredible set and atmosphere to match. They also donated some used signed drum heads and drum brushes, all proceeds donated to Unicef. For anyone looking for their next European festival, I would strongly recommend BKF, you won't be disappointed.

Sigur Ros @ Best Kept Secret