Crowds listen to a speaker on the Yeti Stage in the Basecamp. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Crowds listen to a speaker on the Yeti Stage in the Basecamp. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

More than 20,000 people made their way to Kendal to take part in the return of the town’s mountain festival after a hiatus last year when the event was held online.

Kendal Mountain Festival was staged over four days and celebrated with a more diverse bill of speakers and films, as well as visitors to the events.

Organisers said the ‘comeback’ event was the best attended yet, with festival-goers relishing the opportunity to be in each other’s company and share tales of recent adventures.

They said: “A more inclusive tone with a greater range of speakers is the result of focused efforts over the years from the festival programming team, who engaged in targeted outreach, nurturing initiatives and considered curation to ensure a platform for and encourage the participation of underrepresented communities within the outdoors.”

Frit Tam, British-born Chinese transgender filmmaker, spoke at the event. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Frit Tam, British-born Chinese transgender filmmaker, spoke at the event. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The popular Basecamp Village moved a short distance from the grounds of the Brewery Arts Centre to Abbot Hall Park, with more space allowing for an enlarged 1,000sq ft venue, offering free talks to visitors from its two stages. The Shackleton Tent remained at the arts centre site to offer more performances.

Festival director Steve Scott said: “2021 was yet another huge step for so many reasons. Bringing people together again, building a massive new Basecamp, more film premieres than ever before, more guest speakers than ever before…the list goes on.”

The event was run as a hybrid festival, with members of the public able to view many of the presentations and films online at their homes.

Competitors take part in the Terrex 10k Trail Run. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Competitors take part in the Terrex 10k Trail Run. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Organisers said: “Over the four-day festival, 18,621 tickets were sold for more than 200 events spanning film screenings, talks, specialist outdoor sport sessions, panel discussions, family-friendly activities, a digital arts programme, the Adidas Terrex 10K trail race, networking and social events including The North Face Après Ski Party and a series of undisclosed ‘Secret Sessions’ in keeping with the festival’s brand of enabling surprise encounters and fostering community connection.”

Filmmakers from across the globe submitted entries to the Kendal Mountain Festival International Film Competition, which organisers dubbed the unofficial Oscars of the outdoor industry, and many joined the festival in person.

Mountaineer Nirmal 'Nims' Purja premiered his film. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mountaineer Nirmal 'Nims' Purja premiered his film. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The highly anticipated Netflix documentary, 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible and The Wall chose to host their premieres at the festival ahead of global releases; with stars of the films, mountaineer Nims Purja and Olympian Shauna Coxsey joining for exclusive question and answer sessions.

More than 70 global outdoor brands were represented. The social and industry basecamp hub of the festival added to the number of venues dotted throughout the town, together forming the world’s biggest adventure festival, which organisers said annually boosts the local economy and waves the flag for the small market town of Kendal internationally.

Anna McNuff on the Buff Stage in the Basecamp. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Anna McNuff on the Buff Stage in the Basecamp. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Kendal Mountain Festival chief executive Jacqui Scott said: “Working together with Kendal’s local businesses and public authorities, Kendal Mountain Festival has not only put our small Lake District town on the radar of the international outdoor community, but more than that it contributes to the positive development of that community globally.

“The festival has cemented a reputation as a heartfelt and joyous must-attend occasion, that leaves audiences feeling inspired, motivated and outward looking; ready and equipped to bring about meaningful change to the causes they feel most passionate about.”

Because of pandemic restrictions, Kendal Mountain Festival events were last year streamed online, helping to bring many new audiences to the festival. Building on the experience, this year’s festival took place in person as well as online, with the launch of the Kendal Mountain Player, a subscription service making festival films and captured events available to online audiences after the event.

Mr Scott said: “A big thank you so much to all who supported the event.

“You enable us to work year-round and to continue to support the outdoor community, the industry, our team, our region and many altruistic community programmes we develop with young people.”

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Kendal Mountain Festival visitors will be able to step into giant ThermoPlume snowglobe
  2. Judges choose seven winners from 600 entries in Kendal festival photo contest