Anticipation for this year's Kendal Mountain Festival was palpable after a year's hiatus from meeting in person. Now in it's 41st year, the annual event welcomed the return of over 20,000 festival goers, who relished the opportunity to be in each other's company and share tales of their most recent adventures. In addition to the increased scale of the event was a marked improvement in the diversity of visitors attending the Festival. A more inclusive tone with a greater range of speakers is the result of focussed 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.
Commenting on this year's 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."
Over the 4-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 Apres 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 (the unofficial Oscars of the Outdoor Industry) and many joined the festival in person. 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 Q&As and a rapturous reception from the audience. Festival patron Leo Holding together with his expedition team, took to the stage to give a behind-the-scenes account of House of the Gods and Literature Festival patron Robert Macfarlene introduced the premiere of River for which he had written the script. The caving team featured in The Rescue duly received a heroes' welcome from festival goers and Max Lowe, Director of the Kendal Grand Prize winning film Torn collected his award at the Saturday night film awards.
This year saw the addition of a new 1000 sq ft Basecamp located by Kendal's Abbot Hall with more than 70 global outdoor brands represented. The social and industry basecamp hub of the festival added to the already sizable footprint of venues dotted throughout the town, together forming the world's biggest adventure festival that annually boosts the local economy and waves the flag for the small market town of Kendal internationally.
Kendal Mountain Festival CEO, 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."
Responding to the challenge of pandemic restrictions, Kendal Mountain Festival events were last year streamed online, which helped bring many new audiences to the Festival. In an ambitious commitment to continue to deliver and build on that offer, this year's Kendal Mountain 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.
Director Steve Scott concludes: "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."
You can catch up on much more using the Kendal Mountain player.
Events will be available within 24 hours of the live event ending. A select few films and events may be excluded from the online Festival due to licensing restrictions. Please see the Festival event pages for specific exclusions.
Buy passes for speaker events, film collections and selected feature films and premieres: