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 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.