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Bringing The Great Outdoors Indoors: Kendal Mountain Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary

Kendal Mountain Festival C/o Henry Iddon
Kendal Mountain Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary, moving its spectacular line-up of films, live events, guest speakers, and literature programme online.

Following the announcement that the world-famous event will be broadcast online, ensuring its mission to showcase inspiring, soul-stirring outdoor adventure continues. Stories about people, from all walks of life, doing extraordinary things. It’s an exciting step for an event that, for the last 40 years, has been connecting like-minded people who want to share their passion for the world of mountains, nature, and the natural beauty around us. “What’s that got to do with Blackpool?” you say Well, Blackpool photographer Henry Iddon is one of the festival facilitators, read on for some of his recommendations.

The online show brings viewers compelling, emotive, and entertaining curated content designed to inspire and move people, with the ambition of providing a renewed and energised perspective to daily life.

For 10 days, from 19 to 29 November, Kendal Mountain Festival provides unlimited access to curated films, live sessions, literature, and inspiring speakers, online for everyone, everywhere via the Festival’s website www.kendalmountainfestival.com.

The event features a big-name line up of speakers featuring world-class international athletes, adventurers, authors, and filmmakers, including survivalist Ray Mears, TV traveller Simon Reeve, C4 journalist Keme Nzerem, Rhiane Fatinikun the founder of Black Girls Hike UK, Jason Fox from SAS Who Dares Wins, explorer Aldo Kane, and mountaineer Leo Houlding.

At the core of the event is the International Film Competition with 12 major film prizes up
for grabs, including the sought-after People’s Choice award voted for by the public. The Festival has received a record number of entries this year, from professional and amateur filmmakers alike from across the globe.

Kendal Mountain’s Literature Festival is truly going from strength to strength, firmly established under patron and renowned author Robert Macfarlane and bringing together speakers across the themes of mountains, landscape, nature, and sense of place. This year you can catch writers, authors, poets, and artists in a programme that includes highly anticipated book launches, lively debates, and lectures; speakers include Jessica J. Lee, author of Willow Herb and First Native American US Poet Laureate; Joy Harjo.

Jacqui Scott, Festival CEO comments; “We all have ‘mountains’ in life to scale and we strongly feel that our Festival provides an accessible platform for people from all walks of life, abilities, and countries to share with our audience how they face their own challenges. This year our theme is nurture, and never before has this been more prevalent and poignant. Just how are we supporting and learning from each other and also inspiring the next generation?”

Steve Scott, Festival Director said; “It’s an opportunity for those who have a passion for outdoor life and adventure to communicate their own unique story, their own struggle or ambition, respecting what mother nature has given us and giving all to inspire others.”

Fellow Director Clive Allen said; “We’re putting all our effort and energy into creating an amazing experience online and we promise that our usual content from our live events will still be available, live-streamed from the Lake District onto screens, worldwide. It’s going to be an incredible event and we are hugely excited by the calibre of films submitted, literature featured, and a top-notch list of guest speakers.”

The Festival’s popular hub – the Basecamp Village will also be going virtual, bringing viewers a truly interactive experience featuring Festival partners – top brands from the world of adventure, and lots of free content with a packed programme of speakers talking about Everyday Adventures on the Yeti Basecamp Stage.

There is also a series of events including a global Litter Pick on Saturday 28th November in partnership with Cal Major, Paddle Pick Up, and Dom Ferris of Trash Free Trails. All the content created for the Festival will be available to view at leisure, from the 19th of November. The Festival closes on the 29th of November, but the content will be available on catch-up for a limited time.
To book a pass (options available – see below) to the Kendal Mountain Festival – please visit Kendal Mountain Festival 2020 | Share the Adventure

Blackpool photographer Henry Iddon is one of the facilitators of the festival and has had an interesting and mixed year, responding photographically to the pandemic. His work has included documenting the Blackpool Lockdown, following cyclists, collaborating on a photography project with Claremont Magic Club, and filming and interviewing Sir Chris Bonnington.

Henry has never been one to shy away from a challenge, he feels at home on a bike, up a mountain, on skis, or just generally being in the great outdoors.

For a number of years he has also been involved and one of the driving forces behind Kendal Mountain Festival and the literary festival that has grown up around it. Guest Contributor Buzz Bury asked Henry why the festival has become an important feature in his calendar of adventures;

Henry “ We all need a regular rhythm to our year and KMF is a key part of my year, and I’ve now been involved for 21 years! I’ve been involved in the outdoors since being a child so walking, climbing, skiing, etc runs through me like a stick of Blackpool Rock – so in a sense that outdoor community is an extended family that gathers once a year in Kendal.”

“One of my fav sessions was a 2004 talk given by Yvon Chouinard who founded the brand Patagonia – it was a packed house of 900 and YC had a very well know climbing photographer called Heinz Zak looking after the projector for him – the whole thing was fantastic with some great banter. Then the following morning Yvon did a small talk to about 20 people about his ethos around environmentalism and business. I then took a portrait of him which went on to be used as the dust jacket portrait in the first edition of his seminal book ‘Let My People Go Surfing’.

Buzz asked Henry for some further recommendations with a variety of teaser questions:

For the couch potato – There are some really interesting conversations in the literature program – that look at nature and landscape.

For the mountain goat – There are lots of great mountaineering films – plus a fascinating talk in the literature program ‘The Moth and the Mountain’ about Maurice Wilson who flew a bi-plane to Everest… it didn’t turn out well!

– For those used to hanging by a thread – Slatehead is a really fun conversation between author Pete Goulding and Rob Greenwood about his history of slate climbing in North Wales.

– For the water babies – There’s a great outdoor swim session.

– For the bike bums – There are a road bike and MTB session plus a really great conversation in the literature program ‘Back in the Frame’ between Jools Walker aka ‘LadyVelo’ and Kate Rawles.

– For those thinking there’s snow time like the present – There’s the snowsports session and also a great film called ‘Blindfold’ – about a partially sighted skier.

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