Kendal Calling Takes Over The Radio For 15th Anniversary Special After COVID Cancels Festival

By Rachael Grealish

Coronavirus may have thrown a spanner in the works for Kendal Calling’s 15th anniversary, but that hasn’t stopped organisers saying ‘the show must go on’.

The much-loved Cumbriam music festival would’ve been going ahead this weekend, July 30 to August 2, but due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions was cancelled, however in the wake of this organisers are bringing the world of Kendal Calling to the airwaves.

Kendal Calling 2019 – image by Kendal Calling

The new online radio station, Kendal Calling Radio, will be broadcasting live across the weekend to raise money for the festival’s five long-standing charity partners – North West Air Ambulance, Alder Hey Children’s Charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind, St John Ambulance and Hospice at Home.

Kicking off at 5pm today, Thursday July 30, the weekend will be giving a snapshot of some of the best festival highlights from over the years.

Acclaimed children’s TV presenter Alex Winter hosts the Kids Calling Breakfast Show, boasting to be the perfect way to start each and every day with a range of kids entertainment and shows for all the family to delve into. 

From the ‘Get Out Of BEDtime Story’ with Maximo Park’s Paul Smith, to morning Yoga, interviews, quizzes and more will be going ahead.

Another long-standing friend of the festival, Tim Burgess and his Tim Peaks Diner has become an integral part of the Kendal Calling story. 

Whilst its doors may be closed for this year, Tim Peaks FM will be broadcasting a programme of shows across the weekend.

Hosted by BBC 6Music’s Chris Hawkins, it will be welcoming the likes of Simone Butler (Primal Scream), Paddy Considine, Happy Mondays, 808 State and more all popping by for chats.

Tim will also be hosting listening parties and will be joined in conversation by Easy Life, The Magic Gang and You Me At Six.

On Friday evening Hattie Pearson of Hits Radio will be broadcasting the ‘Best of Kendal Calling’ and will be chatting with none other than Nile Rodgers – who will be reflecting on his 2019 set with Chic.

Tom Jones at KC

Frank Turner will be throwing his hat into the mix as he will be curating a special ‘Xtra Mile Recordings Takeover’, playing live and serving up some of his favourites for two hours on Saturday. 

The weekend will culminate with ‘The Kendal Calling Front Room Festival with Ross Buchanan’, a special one-off takeover on Absolute Radio on Sunday night, broadcasting full exclusive sets and highlights from some of the best moments in Kendal Calling history. 

With Stereophonics, Elbow, Kaiser Chiefs, Kate Nash and much more – the show promises to be the perfect Sunday night finale.

These highlights are just a snapshot of a weekend filled with unmissable shows – from charts running through the best moments in Kendal Calling history, feature archive recordings from the likes of Madness and Franz Ferdinand amongst others.

Kendal Calling Radio is coming together to fundraise for the festival’s charity partners and listeners will be encouraged to buy from a range of limited-edition festival merchandise – including 2020 t-shirts and posters – and donate, with proceeds split between the five charities. 

Kendal Calling is releasing ‘15 Years of Kendal Calling’, a limited-edition vinyl album collecting 15 performances from the festival’s headline performances across the years. 

The album is now available to pre-order at, with proceeds benefiting War Child.

Each year the collective actions of the festival and its community raise many thousands of pounds to support the work of North West Air Ambulance, Alder Hey Children’s Charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind, St John Ambulance and Hospice at Home. 

As a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these charities have seen their fundraising events cancelled and funding channels dried up. 

St John Ambulance, who voluntarily look after the Kendal Calling family each year and have been crucial in supporting the NHS over the last few months, have warned that they could run out of money in the next four months without support. 

Limited edition Kendal Calling merchandise is now available at