Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) will welcome thousands of visitors to Cumbria with its unique mix of live music, sporting events, outdoor adventures, high profile speakers, taster activities, exhibitor stands and camping for all of the family to enjoy. The beautiful shores of Derwentwater, on the edge of Keswick in the heart of the Lake District National Park, is the main base for this one-of-a-kind event, with the Lakeland fells providing a stunning backdrop.
The 13th Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) will present another packed programme, with a huge range of activities and attractions from 17-19 May. Below are just a few highlights to look out for on each day. Places for events are limited, but tickets/entries are still available to book via www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk.
New for 2019, the KMF Town Trials will bring the festival into the centre of Keswick for the first time, on the afternoon of Friday 17 May, when participants tackle a series of fun obstacle races on short-lapped loops of Market Square and its alleyways, in waves of up to 30 adults or children. Runners and cyclists will have to negotiate sharp corners, zig-zags, steps, ramps and other obstacles such as hay bales. Registration will be open at George Fisher from 3:30-4:45pm and the entry fee is a donation to KMF’s official charity partner the National Trust.
The Festival Village on the National Trust’s Crow Park is at the heart of Keswick Mountain Festival and will be open 17-19 May. Over the course of the three days, the village will host a wide variety of thrilling taster activities for all of the family, including climbing, archery, segways and caving. The village will also be the setting for two evenings of live music, with wristband holders able to stay on to enjoy two packed line-ups. Friday’s bill has a Celtic and folk-infused flavour and includes Keswick act Water’s Edge, Scottish musician Ruairidh Maclean while returning favourites, the Peatbog Faeries will provide a rousing finale on the Subaru Stage. Iconic 80s band Big Country will deliver a headline set on the Saturday evening and tribute act UK Blondie will perform a set of tracks by the iconic group. To close the night, concert ticket holders will be able to enjoy a DJ set by Bez and Rowetta, who both first found fame in the late 80s with the Happy Mondays.
The Festival Village will host a long list of exhibitors including the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and festival partners Subaru, plus a wide range of food and drink outlets will be available with Timothy Taylor’s as the official bar sponsor, offering a variety of real ales and other refreshments. The sporting events will start and finish in the Festival Village, providing a great atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike. The village is free for everyone to enter during the daytime, allowing anyone to soak up the atmosphere. Visitors with festival wristbands can access most of the activities in the village free of charge.
Friday 17 May
- · The Town Trials (from 5:00pm) - a series of fun obstacle races in Keswick Market Square will kick-start the 2019 festival, sponsored by United Utilities and Allerdale Borough Council. A single-lap children's run will be followed by waves of four-lap adult runs and six-lap adult bike races, and then a procession to the Festival Village in Crow Park led by a samba band.
- · Talks and films, ‘Bike Night’ – held in the Theatre by the Lake, Friday’s talks and films schedule will be headlined by ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Graeme Obree. The two-time world hour record holder will talk about all things cycling in the theatre from 7:30pm, with tickets from £10-£15. Earlier the same day at 4:00pm, KMF will screen Time Trial, a film featuring David Millar, the only British rider to have worn all of the Tour de France jerseys.
- · Live music with Subaru (from 7:30pm) – legendary Scottish trailblazers, Peatbog Faeries, will headline the Friday night music line-up, treating audiences to their glorious mixture of traditional sounds and dance-floor grooves.
- · Air Display sponsored by Blacks (7:45pm). Back for a second year, the aeroSPARX team will soar and dive in the skies above Keswick, during a break in the live music. Don't forget to look up!
- · KMF Studio Talks (from 4:00pm) – in the Theatre by the Lake, the Friday schedule features renowned mountaineer Alan Hinkes and outdoor adventurer and sports and wellbeing therapist, Dr Julie Carter, who will help visitors mentally prepare for their weekend of sport (talks continue on Saturday and Sunday).
Saturday 18 May
- · The Keswick Conqueror Challenge (starting 9:45am on Saturday for 3km swim) – taking place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May, participants can conquer Keswick in this brand-new three event challenge, featuring a 3km swim in Derwent Water, a 25k trail run around the beautiful valleys of Borrowdale and Watendlath and ending on the Sunday with a spectacular 72km spin around several of the local mountain passes.
- · Keswick 3 Peaks Challenge with Fjallraven (from 7:30am) - walkers will follow a route from the Festival Village that covers 18 miles and with a total ascent of just over 1,000m, taking in the iconic summits of Catbells, Walla Crag and Latrigg, before returning to Crow Park by 5:00pm, in good time for an evening of live music. NB: also taking place on the Sunday.
- · Sprint Triathlon (8:00am) - a thrilling individual triathlon featuring some challenging ascents, descents and features. Comprises a 400m swim, 18km cycle and 5km trail run.
- · Back O’Skiddaw 70km Sportive (10:30am) – a cycling circuit to the quieter side of the Lake District National Park, which offers an exhilarating, occasionally hilly and beautifully scenic route, without having to negotiate the big Lakeland mountain passes.
- · adidas Terrex 25k Trail Race (11:00am) – a beautiful, but challenging course takes runners around Derwentwater and the Borrowdale Valley with the Watendlath Valley thrown in for good measure.
- · adidas Terrex 5k Trail Race (multiple start times between 1:20pm and 4:00pm) – suitable for all abilities and both junior and adult runners, this short and sharp run takes in some of the great local scenery.
- · Live music with Subaru (from 6:15pm) – Iconic 80s band Big Country will headline the KMF Live Music stage. The band achieved sustained success with singles such as ‘Fields of Fire (400 Miles)’, ‘In a Big Country’ and ‘Wonderland’, as well as million-selling albums like ‘The Crossing’ and ‘Steeltown’. Today, Big Country are a popular live act on the festival circuit, with a line-up that includes original members Bruce Watson and Mark Brzezicki, plus Jamie Watson, Simon Hough and Scott Whitley. Ticket holders will also be able to enjoy a DJ set by Bez and Rowetta, who both first found fame in the late 80s with the Happy Mondays and continue to perform with the iconic ‘Madchester’ outfit. Their set will celebrate all things Manchester.
- · Talks and films in the Theatre by the Lake - an evening devoted to the Bob Graham Round, one of the most celebrated challenges in endurance sport. A panel of ultra-running heroes including Billy Bland, Jasmin Paris, Steve Birkinshaw, Martin Stone and Steve Chilton, will discuss the enduring appeal of the Bob Graham Round and share their own experiences of tacking the world-famous challenge. Guests will also have the opportunity to see a short film of Killian Jornet’s Bob Graham run in 2018, when he smashed the 36-year-old record time for completing the round.
Sunday 19 May
- · The Cocker Hoop Sportive (9:00am) - a challenging 72km ride over iconic mountain passes including almost 1,500m of ascent over four summits. It has been added to offer something different for those who have ridden the Back o’ Skiddaw in recent years and as a second option for cyclists. It also forms the final leg of the new Keswick Conqueror Challenge.
- · adidas Terrex 50k Trail Race Ultra (6:00am) – not for the faint-hearted, this challenging ultra takes in some of the best trails and views that the Watendlath, Borrowdale, Butteremere and Newlands valleys have to offer.
- · adidas Terrex 10k Trail Race (multiple start times between 9:00am and 12:00pm) – with a start halfway along Derwentwater that is reached by a boat ride (included in the entry price), the multi-terrain course takes runners through stunning scenery to a finish on Crow Park.
- · Restube 5K Swim (8:00am) – this challenging 5km open water swim will take in the beauty of Derwentwater and its surrounding views of Catbells, Skiddaw and the Borrowdale Valley will make this swim a memorable experience for all participants.
The Keswick Mountain Festival’s official charity is the National Trust and for the first time, visitors at this year’s Keswick Mountain Festival are being encouraged to actively fundraise for the charity’s Riverlands project when they sign up for outdoor and sporting activities during the festival, with the aim of improving the health of mountain rivers, such as the Derwent. Working with locals, farmers and businesses communities, the National Trust hopes to ‘slow the flow’ of water from summit to sea and in doing so protect the river, the mountains and valleys it flows through, and the wildlife and people who depend on it. Festival goers who agree to support Riverlands when they sign up for an outdoor or sports event receive a fundraising pack and a limited-edition top.
Keswick Mountain Festival is proud to work with four festival partners and many other sponsors, local businesses and tourism organisations to deliver an exciting and enjoyable visitor experience. KMF 2019 has Subaru as live music partner, Timothy Taylor’s as official bar partner, Fjallraven as sponsor of the Keswick 3 Peaks Challenge, and Trail Magazine as official media partner.