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Cumbria’s best music festivals

Main stage at Kendal Calling - an award-winning music festival in Cumbria
Kendal Calling save the date

From small up-and-coming festivals in a field to the multi-award winning musical magic that is Kendal Calling, Cumbria has it all going on.

With something for all tastes and ages, we’ve picked our top six music festivals to look out for next year. Which of them rocks your festival socks?

Kendal Calling

Cumbria’s largest and multi award-winning festival, Kendal Calling packs a real punch. This is a little festival with a big attitude – all in the name of music, fun and frolics. The festival takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Lowther Deer Park.

With an impressive main stage line-up each year, a huge dance tent, a large number of smaller stages in quirky spaces and a comprehensive programme of comedy, spoken word and DJs, there’s something for all tastes at Kendal Calling. Growing year on year, the festival has maintained its laid back atmosphere. Awesome art installations and sculptures woven throughout the site make it a magical place for kids too.

Check out the festival’s website so you don’t miss out.

August TBC – Tarnside Farm

The festival run by festival goers, Solfest has transitioned from a local shindig in 2003 to today one of the UK’s leading independent festivals. Staying true to their roots, art and décor are chosen over corporate advertising, while the international big names on the main stage never drown out the voices of the up and coming, undiscovered artists.

Cumbria’s brightest festival, you’ll find entertainment across almost every musical genre at Solfest. Stages including Drystone Stage, Unity Sessions and Lost’n’Found showcase talented artists covering everything from folk to house, hip-hop to reggae, soul and more. Headliners in 2016 included The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Dredzone and Zion Train. Watch this space for 2017’s line-up!

Main stage at Kendal Calling - an award-winning music festival in Cumbria

Ireby Festival
26-27 May – Ireby Wigton

A real love for music and one another is at the heart of Ireby Festival. Now in its 15th year, the festival offers an unforgettable and unique atmosphere, with a range of music performed in small intimate venues. The main stage itself is restricted to just 650 people, giving music lovers the chance to get up close to the live performances.

Main stage artists for 2017 include Admiral Fallow, lead singer of the progressive folk juggernaut Bellowhead, Jon Boden, Martin Harley and Fay Hield and Hurricane Party. Tickets are on sale now.

Roots 66
5 – 7 February – Theatre by the Lakes

A new, weekend-long celebration of folk and roots music, Roots 66 will be warming up your mid-winter at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. In partnership with long-standing Fellside Recordings, the festival will get your feet moving to inspiring and energetic performances from award-winning established artists and emerging young talent.

Radio 2 Folk Ward winners Chris While and Julie Matthews and Jen Lowe & The Bad Pennies head up the Friday double bill, while Canada’s Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys close the show on Sunday.

Workshops and masterclasses present the opportunity to play, as well as listen. Weekend passes are available to buy online for £65 from Theatre by the Lake.

Music on the Marr
20 – 23 July – Castle Carrock

Music on the Marr is a festival for the whole family. Celebrating great music, diversity and fantastic entertainment for all, young people are encouraged to enjoy live performances and therefore all accompanied children under 16 are offered free entry to the entire festival.

Expect music by real musicians, comedy by truly funny people and real ale by local brewers. Music on the Marr, a not for profit event, will take place on The Marr in Castle Carrock. Tickets are available to buy online at Music on the Marr. (

A short drive from each of the musical gatherings, make a break for The Lake to unwind after your festival shenanigans next summer.

The Winter Droving
28 October – Penrith

A magical day of rural celebration, food, fun, games, masquerade and fire in Penrith. During the day take part in games such as tug of war and hay bale racing to win the coveted Drovers Cup and eat your way through the traditional Cumbrian food market.

As night falls, join the herd to welcome the mystical masked procession, featuring fire, music, mayhem and animals.

The Winter Droving is now in its sixth year and already an established event in the Lake District calendar. Join the celebration of winter and Penrith’s agricultural heritage this October.


Where words fail, music speaks

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