Baybeat Street Band finds global grooves at Kendal Calling

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A popular multi-generational band from Morecambe is to make its festival debut next month

One of Morecambe's longest-standing community bands will make its debut at one of the north's best-loved music festivals this summer.

Baybeat Street Band, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, is to play at Kendal Calling this August. It will join an impressive lineup over the four day event, which includes headliners Paolo Nutini, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and The Streets, as well as Keane, Sugababes and hundreds more acts.

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Band members aged from 6-69 are getting ready to take part in the festival’s grand finale: a super-sized parade brought to life in spectacular style by international Carnival specialists Global Grooves. The larger-than-life, colourful procession, featuring over 220 performers of all ages, takes place on the Sunday of the festival, which runs from 1-4 August in the Lake District.

Back row l-r Adam, Sophie, Jodie, Kirsten, Sean, Jack and front row l-r Joseph, 10 and  Evie, 8Back row l-r Adam, Sophie, Jodie, Kirsten, Sean, Jack and front row l-r Joseph, 10 and  Evie, 8
Back row l-r Adam, Sophie, Jodie, Kirsten, Sean, Jack and front row l-r Joseph, 10 and Evie, 8

The celebratory pageant is inspired by this year’s festival theme, ‘the high seas’. In the spirit of all things swashbuckling, the parade will be made up of three main sections, and led by a nautical Carnival queen, majestically riding the waves in her horse-drawn cart.

Lavishly costumed dancers, giant walkabout puppets and scores of flag bearers will complete the procession, which is influenced by Carnival traditions around the world. Festival goers will be able to interact with puppets Sea Spirit, Cyclone the goat ghost from the Cumbrian coast and The Spirit of Courage, a seafaring Carnival queen, sporting a show-stopping headdress, based on a mariner’s astrolabe and trailing a 5m hand painted silk ship’s sail.

For the event, Baybeat has been teamed up with two community groups from Barrow in Furness - Boom Dang and Blast Furness Street Band - to create the 45-person strong central section. They will provide a brass, woodwind and percussion-powered musical backbone for the all at sea parade.

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The mastermind behind what will be a fabulous oceanic spectacle is Greater Manchester-based Carnival creator Global Grooves, best known for its work on the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant and Bluedot Festival.

Since 2003, Global Grooves has inspired people all over the globe to take part in Carnival-style events, working across the UK as well as in Gambia, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore, and Trinidad & Tobago. In 2021, it launched the Northern Carnival Centre of Excellence within The Vale arts centre in Mossley, Greater Manchester.

Leon Patel, CEO, Global Grooves said: "Global Grooves specialises in bringing together diverse community groups to create professional level Carnival experiences.

"We know that Baybeat Street Band are going to bring bags of energy to help us deliver an unforgettable high seas finale for Kendal Calling.

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"And it goes without saying that creating Carnival is about so much more than the final performance. When local people get together and collaborate through the arts, they grow and form connections that can reap rewards for years to come."

Ben McCabe, band leader, More Music, which runs the Baybeat Street Band, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the band. It’s always a boost to get together with other groups to perform and to join with Blast Furness and Boom Dang is a welcome chance to collaborate creatively too.

"Now when we bump into the other bands at future events we’ll be able to share the Kendal Calling Carnival tunes as well as smiling and waving!”

Band member Kirsten Freiesleben said: "This is a fantastic chance to work in creative collaboration with a large number of musicians on a dramatic finale piece for a great Cumbrian festival.

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"It’s really exciting to play with and learn from musicians from other bands across the region. Hopefully it will also inspire more people of all ages to join community bands like ours to experience the joys of music making."

Cathryn Peach-Barnes, creative director, Kendal Calling, said: "This is the largest Carnival that Kendal Calling will have staged with more artists and community members than ever before. "We're so excited to be a platform for such excellent talent in Cumbria and Lancashire, particularly Baybeat who will be at Kendal Calling for the first time alongside our phenomenal long-term collaborators Global Grooves."

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