After hosting a digital-only event last year, Kendal Mountain Festival is back ‘in person’ this November, while keeping the digital elements it pioneered in 2020. We asked festival co-director Clive Allen to tell us what visitors can expect at this year’s event…
People go to mountain festivals for the same reason they see their favourite bands in concert. Or head into bookshops instead of downloading novels onto readers. Or go out to restaurants instead of throwing a ready meal into the microwave. Because it’s not the films – nor the music, the speakers, the food – that we’re looking for, but the chance to experience them in their best possible settings. That means on a big stage, surrounded by people equally excited to be there.
For the Kendal team, last year was a weird one. Everything went online, and it was very successful, but it was missing the one thing that motivates us more than anything else: the audience. So we’re properly excited about this year’s event, with hopefully a return to some sort of normality. And the rate at which tickets are being snapped up, suggests that you are too.
So, what can you expect at Kendal this year? Some changes, that’s for sure; there’s a new location for our Basecamp with more space and more free events, but still close to the Brewery Arts Centre hub. And in a change for the better that’s been prompted by the lockdowns, everything on stage – and all the films – will be available online to catch up on afterwards via our new Kendal Mountain Player.
There are so many highlights this year. Look out for globetrotting caver Olivier Testa at the Petzl Underground Session; cyclist Mark Beaumont and barefoot runner Anna Mcnuff with Komoot; Mirna Valerio, Joss Naylor and Charlie Ramsay at the Merrell Running Session; Anna Taylor, Gail Muller and Amira Patel at the Berghaus Women in Adventure session; runner Jenny Tough and mountaineer Jon Gupta at the Montane ‘Find Your Alive’ Session. And if you’re wondering if those amazing athletes posting Fastest Known Times (FKTs) will join us, watch this space. Of course, you could also be rubbing shoulders with one of your heroes at the Montane Secret Sessions…
On the climbing and mountaineering front we have Sean Villenueva O’Driscoll and Nico Favresse plus Team GB paraclimber Leanora Volpe at the Patagonia Climb Session; James ‘Caff’ McHaffie on his completion of the Extreme Rock ticklist; Steve McClure, Emma Twyford and Alastair Lee at the BMC Breakfast; Leo Houlding and quadriplegic adventurer Ed Jackson, plus a special tribute to Doug Scott featuring some very famous names. More details will have been released by the time you read this.
Films? It’s amazing what filmmakers have managed to achieve in the last year, and we’ve got the best of the best. A huge programme of curated collections and feature-length epics, including hot releases The Alpinist and The Rescue, with special guests. It’s also a big year for premieres at Kendal, with more world and UK first screenings than we’ve had for many years.
Whether you’re into clawing your way up mountains, sliding down them, jumping off the top – or just watching others do it – you need to be at Kendal this year! Dates are 18-21 November, with tickets and details at kendalmountainfestival.com