Kendal Today

A hybrid platform sharing adventure stories with audiences across the globe:

An annual Festival attracting 15,000+ outdoor enthusiasts to gather in Kendal each November.

A UK tour heading to venues up and down the country.

An online channel providing inspirational adventure content on-demand.

Partner events - bringing Kendal Mountain content to new audiences around the world.


Over 40 years ago, in October 1980, Kendal hosted a new two-day event. Named the Kendal Mountaineering Film Festival, tickets were £5 and visitors were promised art, seminars, films, photography and - importantly - "two bars".

The original group of six who set up the event were Alan Evans, Jess Stock, Ian Wall, John Porter, Jim Curran and Brian Hall. Little did they know what they had started, or how influential the event would become. As John Porter subsequently said, “We started it in 1980 as annual event, then went climbing for a while”, as the original idea was partly to raise funds for expeditions.

As the event grew in stature and popularity it attracted greater audience numbers, plus a veritable 'who's who' from the world of climbing and mountaineering. Yvon Chouinard, Reinhold Messner, Catherine Destivelle, Fred Beckey, Barry Blanchard, Lynn Hill, Jeff Lowe, Tommy Caldwell, Chris Sharma, Ueli Steck and Will Gadd to name but a few of those who have stood on the Kendal stage. And in film, the Festival became renowned as a launchpad and international showcase for mountain and outdoor film, premiering or screening such classics as The Bat and the Wicked, Five Days One Summer, Hard Grit, Touching The Void and Free Solo.

‘Kendal’ became recognised as the main annual social event for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK, and built its strong international reputation. In 2014, Visit England awarded the Festival the coveted national title of ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ and each November it is estimated to bring over £3.5m into the local economy.

As the Festival moves into its fifth decade, we hope we’re pretty much still in tune with the original event. We’re all climbers, skiers, runners or paddlers who are as keen to get out in the mountains as we are to produce a world-renowned Festival. Keeping it real, as they say.

Our vision is, and always has been, “To inspire more people to explore, respect and represent mountains, wilderness and their cultures” and today this seems more relevant and timely as ever. Thank you for joining us and making the Festival what it is; and here’s to the next 40 years!

© Kendal Mountain Festival 2020