LAKES Alive 2017 gave a command performance with a spectacular celebration of sights and sounds.

Thousands of people flocked to the three-day festival which brought amazing art, activities and performance to Kendal.


Among the creative highlights was Pete Johnson’s Shipping Forecast at Kendal Castle, deemed by organisers as an outstanding success, and described by one young festivalgoer as "a hill full of shooting stars.”

Scores gathered to watch the sun go down and see the lights start to illuminate the hill, gently catching the breeze.

Another spectator said they had “never seen Kendal look so beautiful.”

On Friday night pouring rain did not dampen spirits. The Jacob’s Join was attended by more than 800 people who took along food to share and danced the night away to Mazurka's ceilidh.

Spark! gathered more hardy partygoers as they led a huge procession up to Kendal Castle to get first glimpse of Shipping Forecast.

The audacious Keep, which appeared on the Saturday, was a huge draw for visitors. A group of fell walkers even diverted their route to see the innovative piece by acclaimed artist Steve Messam.

Lakes Alive - also a celebration of World Heritage Site Status for the Lake District National Park - saw vast numbers visiting the Open Studios at The Factory, and events at the Shakespeare Centre, Brewery Arts Centre and Abbot Hall Park.

Dance acts Folk Dance Remixed and AbouTime Dance wowed crowds, as did dozens of other music and sound installations.

And well-known Kendal astronomer Stuart Atkinson took audiences on a fascinating journey through the cosmos during his talk The Secret Landscapes of the Lakes at the Shakespeare Centre.

His illustrated talk about what you can see - on a clear night - above the South Lakeland skies was fascinating and featured stars, constellations, meteors, shooting stars and the International Space Station.

Lakes Alive festival director Phillippa Haynes said it was wonderful weekend: "I take my hat off to our audience especially on Sunday for braving the horrible weather. But nothing seemed to put them off joining the party!

“We brought fantastic work to Kendal and the people responded brilliantly. We’ve been thrilled by the response and feedback. The procession up to Kendal Castle was a special moment that people will remember for years.”

Meanwhile, a legacy of this year’s Lakes Alive is the creation of an amazing walkscape: To Travel and To Matter, located at Grasmere.

Powerfully fusing music, sound and voices, and inspired by the history and topography of the location, To Travel and To Matter uses Strijbos and van Rijswijk’s digital app Walk With Me.

People can download the app and at their own pace walk through the hills above Grasmere listening and experiencing the landscape in a totally new way.