Kendal Mountain Festival 2018: Report

The Kendal Mountain Festival has finished for another year. Having grown to become the major fixture on the UK's outdoor social calendar, the festival keeps going from strength to strength. With a full programme of films, talks, workshops, outdoor events, gear stands and beer, this year's fun-packed weekend was the biggest and probably the best yet.

Attracting crowds of over 12,000 into Kendal each year, the Kendal Mountain Festival plays host to a huge range of adventure filmmakers, writers, outdoor athletes and luminaries of the climbing scene. It also brings a big cash boost to the local economy, at least half of which must be bar bills.

The Basecamp Village was busier than ever and featured a free programme of speakers hosted by the enthusiastic Liam Lonsdale. Rab and Mountain Equipment, among others, had a sterling lineup of some of their top athletes, the BMC stand was celebrating the achievements of top British women climbers and mountaineers with a fantastic display, and as usual, you could get any item of clothing fixed by the team at Patagonia. The UKC/UKH/Rockfax team was back with piles of discounted guidebooks and some quality demoing of the Rockfax app.

Attendees enjoying the delights of the free talks, 103 kb

Kenton Cool on stage, 109 kb

"I hope that more than a few UKC readers were at the event, and had a good time" said Director of KMF, Clive Allen.

"We do try to keep it real; our small team here are climbers, walkers, skiers, runners, bikers, paragliders and open-water swimmers so we want to make every element of the event something that we'd be desperate to attend. The irony is, we almost never get to sit in and see the end result! In particular this year we were humbled to have three of the Festival's founders at the event - John Porter, Brian Hall and Ian Wall - and it's good to know they feel the Festival is in safe hands. On the flip side, it was frustrating that the weather throughout was perfect for cragging... "

A Q&A with the Rab stars, 158 kb
A Q&A with the Rab stars

Extreme Basecamp scenes, 215 kb
Extreme Basecamp scenes

2018 Kendal Mountain Film Awards

The 2018 Kendal Mountain Film Awards were announced on Saturday night at a ceremony hosted by comedian and outdoor enthusiast Ed Byrne.

A lot of buzz this year centred on big budget US climbing films Dawn Wall and Free Solo. But as ever the field was very strong and packed with unexpected wild cards.

The People's Choice Award, which was voted for by audiences attending this year's festival, went to the film Underdog.

FURTHER UPDATE: It only went and flippin won 🏆 UPDATE: Huuuuuuuuuge thanks and hugs and kisses to everyone who voted for Underdog for the @kendalmountainfestival People's Choice Award. You ruddy rock. _ A last minute surge pushed it up to second place (out of 90 films). Not bad that. 🍾📽😃🐶 _ Underdog is also now on general release and can be purchased for a small fee via link in bio. _ PLEASE VOTE NOW! Some very good friends of mine (@sfm_films) worked incredibly hard and took a financial gamble to make a film about a jog I did. With 1hr left to VOTE in the prestigious Kendal Mountain Festival People's Choice Award, Underdog is in fourth place. Anyone can VOTE (link in bio) very quickly and simply, without signing up to anything. Thankyouthankyouthankyouiloveyou x #woof 🐶

A post shared by Damian Hall (@ultra_damo) on

Jury Chair, Keme Nzerem said:

"The 2018 film collection represents the best of the best the adventure and mountain film community has to offer. It was no mean feat watching, discussing and deciding on which of the 90 odd films were worthy of being winners. More than ever it is the story that makes us connect with and enjoy other people's adventures, not just what is someone climbing, or free soloing, but why? Not just where is someone adventuring, but what does their journey say about them, the people they are with and the places they visit? And in so many cases we loved how filmmakers showed us intimate details of their lives, fears, hopes and dreams, both as athletes and ordinary people. We love how all films we chose resonate on both an emotional and intellectual level, we know they will also resonate with anyone with an interest in film too.

"Advances in technology, of course, mean the technical quality of filmmaking is better than ever. We were blown away by how the winners in the technical categories captured images and sound in difficult circumstances and brought us a fresh new perspective on environments many of us are very familiar with."

The Dawn Wall producer Zachary Barr introduces the film, 125 kb
The Dawn Wall producer Zachary Barr introduces the film

Grand Prize Free Solo

Judges Special Prize Wonderful Losers

Judges Special Prize Chasing Monsters

Best Short Film AMA

Best Environment Film The Island and the Whales

Best Mountaineering Film La Congenialità The Attitude of Gratitude

Best Adventure and Exploration Zabadast

Best Climbing Film The Dawn Wall

Best Culture Ascending Afghanistan

Best Adventure Sport Divided

Best Sound Parasol Peak

Best Visual This Mountain Life

People's Choice Underdog

Boardman Tasker Prize

'Limits of the Known' by David Roberts won the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. Roberts takes a look at his personal relationship to extreme risk and tries to rationalise why so many have committed their lives to the desperate pursuit of adventure. We interviewed David at the recent Banff festival, so watch this space for that.

Stay tuned for our UKC interview with David Roberts, 80 kb
Stay tuned for our UKC interview with David Roberts
© Natalie Berry - UKC

UKClimbing's own Statement of Youth had a preview screening on Friday night, followed by a Q&A with Chris Gore. Directed by UKC Editor Nick Brown, it describes the anarchic exploits of a small group of climbers in the 1980's who would do anything to climb full-time: sleeping in caves underneath crags, shoplifting for food and clothes, and living off the dole. These punks were living outside the rest of society and went on to become some of the most influential figures in the history of British climbing.

Forums 26 comments

I actually enjoyed Paradise Peak The Tamara/Simone film was gorgeous, absolutely loved the banter and closeness of them, I also loved This Mountain Life.  Women in Adventure was cool too especially the presentation by...
I forgot to metion the 45 minute festival cut of Seaside wasn't selected. This was a big disappointment to me... I think Kendal should be supporting such well made grass roots films about ordinary punters if they can....
I thought the context was the problem, rather than the film. The first two tunes were absolutely brilliant, but then the music got more boring and the dragging a cello up a via ferrata looked more like a complete a...
If you were at the Town Hall you may well have heard more than a sigh from me, it was painful to watch, musically it was good but an utterly pointless otherwise. Agree about the Simone Moro one, brilliant film. I have...
Completely agree re the disappointing new food outlets. Missed Rinaldo's excellent coffee and also the excellent locally produced burgers available in previous years (can't remember the name of the farm). Gave the new...
From what I have heard, the Brewery Arts Centre have contracted out all their onsite catering for the year and this contract precludes allowing independent caterers on site , hence the absence this year of Rinaldo’...

Read more

This has been read 6,699 times
Return to Latest News

Related posts