Police and festival organisers prepare for this year’s Kendal Calling

Crowds at Kendal Calling
Crowds at Kendal Calling

Months of planning are already in effect in the run-up to this year’s Kendal Calling.

Months of planning are already in effect in the run-up to this year’s Kendal Calling.

Cumbria Police dog handlers and their dogs at last year's Kendal Calling Festival.

Cumbria Police dog handlers and their dogs at last year's Kendal Calling Festival.

Police, festival organisers, security teams and other key agencies have been working closely for months to provide a safe and enjoyable festival experience for revellers.

The sold-out festival, which takes place over July 26 to 29 at Lowther Deer Park, will welcome more than 25,000 music fans from all over the UK and beyond for another fantastic weekend of music, arts and culture.

To help everyone make the most of the weekend safely and securely, the organisers have teamed up with the new Festival Safe campaign to provide simple and practical advice to festival veterans and first-timers alike.

Festival Safe includes advice on:

*What to expect and how to plan for a festival including kit lists, travel planning and avoiding ticket fraud

*Choosing the right tent and location plus camping tips, including fire safety advice

*Guides to the law and harm reduction regarding alcohol and other drugs

*General health advice with specific sections on sexual and mental health

*Taking precautions against theft, personal safety, sexual assault, drink driving, counter terrorism and other crime

*Looking after children at festivals including safeguarding, supervision and suitable spaces

Police are currently in attendance on site, with drugs dogs carrying out strategic sweeps of the grounds and surrounding areas.

This type of preventative action saw a dramatic reduction in the number of drug offences committed at the festival last year.

A total of 14 arrests were made for drug related offences thanks to the close partnership between the festival, police and the police’s dog section.

This year’s event will see an increased number of working dogs on site, including drugs and general purpose dog, to ensure the safety of festival-goers, and to deter offending.

Chief Insp Andy Wilkinson said: “We want everyone to have a fun and an enjoyable festival. Month of planning between police, festival organisers, security teams and key agencies have taken place with the safety of attendees always the priority.

“This year, much like last, we have a fantastic team including Special Constables and our dog section.

“All our officers and police dogs work tirelessly throughout the week to reduce offending, including the reduction of illegal substances brought in to the site.

“They are also there to protect the public dealing with incidents such as missing people reports and to keep the peace.

“We will again be providing amnesty bins, which were widely used last year, and we continue to support the attendance of the The Loop front-of-house testing service, which is a great resource that offers an extra level of safeguarding to festivalgoers.

“The constabulary are pleased to be launching #NoDrugsNeeded, an online campaign running throughout the festival and beyond.

“We want to change and challenge people’s perception of drugs use. We should be celebrating people’s ability to have a good time without drugs; enjoying the company of friends and family, the music and the atmosphere.

“Those who can have a fantastic festival on their own merit with #NoDrugsNeeded are the ultimate winners. The campaign will run on Scapchat with GeoFilters, on Facebook with frames and on Twitter and Instagram.

“For anyone attending the festival for the first time or looking for festival advice, you can find information on Kendal Calling’s website, the constabulary’s website, and a new website called festivalsafe.com.

“All of these sites have vital information on keeping yourself safe and what to pack and what not to pack.

“My five pieces of advice for a safe festival are:

1. Don’t take valuables on site

2. Only bring drugs medically prescribed to you onto site and carry your prescriptions in case you are searched.

3. If you see anything suspicious or feel uncomfortable on site report it to an officer or event security.

4. Bring an old mobile phone and a charging pod – there are also charging bays on site.

5. Arrange a rendezvous site each night with your friends, and make sure you all get back to your tents safely.

“We are looking forward to supporting this year’s event, if you see an officer please do say hello. I wish everyone a brilliant, safe and fun weekend with friends and family.”

Festival director Andy Smith said: “Kendal Calling is a gathering of some of the loveliest people on the planet, coming together to enjoy a weekend of amazing music and fun in the fields.

“Our number one priority is always the safety and welfare of everyone on site with us and we are delighted to team up with Festival Safe to ensure all festival goers have the most up to date information to enhance their festival experience.

“This supports our wider work with Cumbria Police, St John’s Ambulance, the local authorities, our event management, production, security, stewarding and welfare partners to provide a safe and friendly environment for the entire Kendal Calling family.

“We ask all our festival-goers to do their bit by looking out for themselves and each other and to help us make it the best Kendal Calling yet.

“See you in the fields!”