Pop princes of Wales add right royal class to line-up for this year’s Kendal Calling festival

Welsh pop legend Tom Jones. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
Welsh pop legend Tom Jones. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

It’s a long way from the green, green grass of his Welsh homeland, but Cumbria’s Lowther Deer Park, assuming rain hasn’t turned it into mud by the time he takes the stage on its closing day, isn’t short of such greenery, so Tom Jones should feel perfectly at home at this year’s Kendal Calling festival there.

The year before last’s festival boasted what was arguably its strongest line-up ever, thanks to its inclusion of some of pop’s foremost princes of Wales, and the event looks to be seeking to revisit that past triumph this summer.

Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield.  (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Back then, the festival, near Penrith, had Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics among its headliners, with Feeder lower down the bill.

This time round, joining Sir Tom, the former, 2017’s Saturday night headliners, are making a rapid return and again playing on the four-day event’s third night, July 27, though theirs won’t be the last set of the day, that duty falling to fellow alternative rock act Doves.

Sir Tom, possibly the most famous Welshman alive this side of Gareth Bale, will be playing a special-guest slot on the Sunday night, July 28.

The Glamorgan-born 78-year-old – like Bale, a former Manics collaborator, having duetted with their frontman, James Dean Bradfield, on his 1999 album Reload, seven years ahead of the footballer featuring on the Welsh national side’s Euro 2016 single, Together Stronger (C’Mon Wales), with the band – will take the stage ahead of Courteeners.

Courteeners frontman Liam Fray.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)

Courteeners frontman Liam Fray. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)

The festival’s other 2019 headliners are electronic dance music duo Orbital on Thursday, July 25, and US disco giants Nile Rodgers and Chic the night after.

On the bill too are the likes of Years and Years, Gerry Cinnamon, Miles Kane, Beans on Toast, the Fratellis, Gomez, KT Tunstall, Mystery Jets, the Subways, Nina Nesbitt and the Joy Formidable.

Festival director Andy Smith said: “From anticipated headline slots to Kendal Calling favourites, legendary singalong dance anthems and spotlight spectacles, this year’s line-up is one of our most diverse yet.”

The Manics’ 2017 set was their first at the Cumbrian festival, as will be the case for Courteeners, Chic, Orbital and Sir Tom this time round.

Fellow alternative rock act Doves have one previous appearance at the event on their CV, back in 2010.

The Manics’ back catalogue now stretches to 13 studio LPs following the release of Resistance is Futile, a No 2 hit, in April last year.

The band – formed in Blackwood in Caerphilly in 1986 and made up, since the disappearance of rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards in 1995, of frontman Bradfield, bassist Nicky Wire and drummer Sean Moore – are best known for their two No 1 singles, 1998’s If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next and 2000’s The Masses Against the Classes, and one chart-topping album, This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours, also released in 1998.

Courteeners have released five albums, the latest being 2016’s Mapping the Rendezvous, a No 4 hit, since their formation in Greater Manchester in 2006.

Doves, formed in Cheshire in 1998 and reunited this year after splitting up in 2010, have four albums to their name, the latest being 2009’s Kingdom of Rust, a No 2 hit,

Orbital – formed in Kent in 1989 and together from then until 2004, from 2009 to 2014 and since 2017 – have three top 10 albums on their CV – Snivilisation, a No 4 in 1994; In Sides, a No 5 in 1996; and The Middle of Nowhere, a No 4 in 1999. Monsters Exist, the ninth and latest album by the pair, brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll, was a No 12 hit last year.

Chic, formed in New York City in 1976 by guitarist Rodgers, 66, and bassist Bernard Edwards, have two top 10 LPs to their name – 1978’s C’est Chic, a No 2, and last year’s It’s About Time, a No 10. Their 10th album, Executive Realness, is due out later this year.

Sir Tom is now on studio album No 41, having released his first LP, Along Came Jones, back in 1965. His latest, 2015’s Long Lost Suitcase, was a No 17 hit.

He has also notched up countless hit singles including the chart-toppers It’s Not Unusual in 1965 and Green, Green Grass of Home the year after, along with No 2s such as Delilah in 1968 and A Boy From Nowhere in 1987.

Tickets for this year’s festival, beginning on Thursday, July 25, are still available and cost £148 for three nights or £181 for four. For details, go to www.kendalcalling.co.uk