What’s on Cumbria July 2017:
THE fact that Cumbria’s festival season is busier this year than ever before has been well noted, and July rams that message home.
Some huge, nationally-renowned events return this month to Cumbria, as well as some relative newcomers that should bring in crowds from across the UK.
Cumbria’s biggest music festival, Kendal Calling, arrives right at the very end of the month (July 27-30), but sold out months ago – unsurprising really, with the likes of Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers, Tinie Tempah, and the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson playing his last-ever UK dates. It promises to be the most spectacular event in its 12-year history, so look out for any tickets being sold online when the late dropouts start putting them up for sale over the next few weeks.
Prior to that though, there are dozens of events to suit all tastes – musical, automotive and, errm, ceramic!
The ‘festival town’, Ulverston, welcomes back Furness Tradition to truly get July under way. The three-day event, running from Friday 7 to Sunday 9, has a packed programme of folk music performances, workshops and storytelling events taking place throughout the town centre. It’s best to visit on the Saturday if you can, with the action getting under way early in the morning and rounding out with the ‘Big Merry Neet’ event at the Coronation Hall in the evening.
New-ish music event EskFest takes place over the same weekend, well Friday 7 and Saturday 8 – but again, it’s the Saturday that you must visit if possible. Leeds band Marsicans headline what is a much-improved and very impressive programme in its second year, with a comedy tent, film screenings and musical performances from many of Cumbria’s finest band and solo artists filling the scenic site at the foot of Hardknott.
With the first musical major player arriving on this super Saturday, it’s probably a good time to mention the big names playing in Carlisle this month; singer Jess Glynne provides the entertainment at the Racecourse on Saturday 8; Canadian rock icon Bryan Adams plays at Bitts Park on Saturday 15; the UK’s biggest girl band, Little Mix, play the same venue on Sunday 16; and honky tonk legend Jools Holland appears at the Sands Centre on Friday 21.
Getting back to the thriving festival schedule, Retro Rendezvous (July 14-16) is the next to arrive in Ulverston. Centred around a huge vintage cycling event, this is a chance to celebrate all things from a bygone era, with rockabilly bands, classic cars and motorcycles, fashion parade, market stalls and the Velo Retro, with its mammoth Mighty Corinthian 300km bike ride!
The supporting cast of rock and indie festivals is exciting too; Aspatria Music Festival (July 14-16) continues to improve, and has attracted arguably its biggest name yet in Scouting For Girls; Alston Live (July 21-22) has a more local feel this year, with Dawn Foster and Diddly Squat among its acts; punk and rock festival Touch Down (July 22) brings highly-rated acts from around the country to Workingston’s Jane Street venues, including pop punk stars Roam, Decade, and Colt 45; and Rock the Fells (July 22) returns to Bootle’s fantasticaqlly-named ‘Big Flat Field’, with Bad Transmission, Orinoco and It’s Pronounced Legend leading the line-up for this family-friendly day of fun.
The final weekend of July has three of the county’s best-loved events returning once more, with Maryport Blues Festival (July 28-30), now in its 19th year, perhaps the most famous around the world. Guitar hero Wilko Johnson and his band headline the main Saturday programme at the harbourside stage.
Potfest in the Park is back at Hutton-in-the-Forest (July 28-30), where potters talk about pots, demonstrate how they make pots, and sell their pots. If you like pots, you know where you’re heading this month.
Cumbria Steam Gathering, which has been going for more than 40 years, is now one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe. Taking place at Cark Airfield, near Flookburgh, on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30, it brings together the finest examples of steam engines from all over Europe, in a packed weekend that also includes motocross display teams, lawnmower racing, archery and the brilliantly-bizarre Sheep Show.
By Karl Steele, CumbriaLive.co.uk