The 42nd edition of the Kendal Mountain Festival rocked the town last weekend as over 300 events, live music and (mostly) sunny weather brought enthusiasts from across the world together in a celebration of outdoor recreation. A diverse range of speakers, sports and subjects made for one of the busiest and most exciting festivals yet, with many sessions selling-out beforehand or over the course of the weekend.
Thanks again Rob.. I can almost lift most of my reply from last year... being very similar to my experiences then: it was the equal best KMF (with last year) I've seen in my decades of attendance.
It was great to see local food and drink providers continue at basecamp. The past problems were not the festival organisers fault but it's still vital in the modern context of the festival that local is given priority.
The age profile looked almost as young as last year and was even more diverse (ditto for presenters), which was great to see. I chatted to a few people about how wonderful it would be if we could get some of the benefits of that wider contribution in the forums (UKC already do well in articles and news).... maybe consider an EDI forum to get things moving (with tighter moderation, like the beginners forum, to encourage posts....the main reasons I was given for those not posting were unwanted aggression).
My favourite events were much the same literary ones you mention and I'd add one more... Zofia Reych. I didn't get to see as many films or presentations as usual but the two climbing film sets were superb... the wide boys' M5 crack epic was hilarious, completely nuts and mindbogglingly impressive, all at the same time (....just imagine your roof hand jam tightening as an HGV drives above!) and it's lovely to see Jessie win people's choice with a human exploration of Ramshaw crack climbing. I also missed but heard really good things about the risk discussion on Sunday.
As someone who was helping staff at a stand (BMC...a big up to the superb team) it was very obvious the extra space continues to benefit the exhibitors. People could still move about despite the occasional queues to get in!
I'd make the same point I made on the cost of basecamp stands last year.... it's good that the festival still supports the fine charities (especially CAC and CAM).... but how about making one or two of the big money companies give way to say some smaller cheaper commercial stands (maybe on a lottery basis?) for organisations that do a lot for our community but lack the budget of the big players (I do miss these, especially the UKC/H Rockfax stand).
As ever, people make a festival and it was wonderful chatting to everyone, from toddlers to climbing heros, friends old and new, especially to the hundreds of volunteers. It's been great as ever to be able to help a few people in small ways in their adventurre and festival journeys.
A final point... fingers crossed that the cost of living crisis, which is already biting, doesn't close excellent businesses in the town, from b&bs to bars.
An excellent summary. The festival was brilliant: variety of events, well-catered and also very inclusive. Well done for keeping up the standard. It was hard to tear myself away…
I can't take credit for writing this report, as I spent most of the day in bed yesterday, catching up on sleep and generally letting my brain recover from a fairly full-on few days of 'work'.
I'd echo exactly what you said though. I thought last year would take some beating, but I think they managed it. That said, there's loads (and loads) that I missed, so I'm looking forward to catching-up on it later in the week - once my brain recovers - using the Kendal Mountain Player.
Sorry we didn't get to properly catch-up!
Sorry... I double checked last year's news report first (as things worked well in the same ways) and I had both pages open at the same time..... must have got that from the wrong page.
Catching up works both ways, so you have my apologies as well... I've never had a festival that was so non-stop. Given it was so busy, and had so many having a great time, I'm surprised more haven't posted here.
Great write up team. Wish I’d managed to get to see Raynor Winn but then again I didn’t see anything! Thanks to all those who came to the Risk Session, a wholly absorbing month of research and we barely scratched the surface. Maybe we need a full morning of discussion next year.
We were there. Loved it. Only saw films, not talks, but that was our bad planning, not intentional.
We went to the festival village early and were blown away by all the friendly and enthusiastic people there.
Every time we regret not seeing more and not being able to be there for all three days.