Keswick Mountain Festival Makes Successful Return To Traditional May Dates

Thousands of visitors flocked to Cumbria to ensure that Keswick Mountain Festival’s (KMF) return to its traditional May dates was a success. A packed programme of established and new events that made the most of the Lake District setting attracted outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds to the town from 20-22 May.

The 15th Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) offered a busy and varied programme of events from its base in Crow Park on the shore of Derwentwater. The Festival Village hosted taster activities, speakers, exhibitors, live music, and food and drink. Sporting events and hiking challenges started and finished on the site, which also included an expanded Accessible Adventure Zone, sponsored by United Utilities, a dedicated area designed to make the festival more accessible and welcoming to visitors with disabilities and adaptive sporting needs.

Thousands of people had signed up to take part in KMF’s schedule of outdoor sporting events, which kicked off with the new Rab Skiddaw Vertical race on the afternoon Friday 20 May. The latest addition to the festival saw competitors climb almost 1,000 metres in just 8km, heading from Keswick town centre to the summit of Skiddaw, all while a series of fun Town Trials obstacle races took place back down in the market square. Across the weekend, outdoor and sports enthusiasts took part in a series of adidas TERREX trail runs, triathlons, Aquasphere open water swims, DexShell cycling sportives and Inov8 hiking challenges. The most committed participants entered a combination of the races to complete the ThruDark Keswick Conqueror.

In the evenings, big audiences packed into the Craghoppers Theatre by the Lake sessions to hear from leading lights of climbing and ultra-running such as Adele Pennington and new Wainwrights round fastest known time holder John Kelly. Meanwhile, two nights of live music on the Ecco Stage created a vibrant atmosphere in Crow Park and on Saturday evening, a record crowd for the festival enjoyed entertainment from the likes of Annemarie Quinn, the Lancashire Hotpots, covers groups Badness and the Complete Stone Roses, and DJ Huey Morgan. Visitors made the most of a wide range of food and drink options in the Festival Village, including real ales from Timothy Taylor’s in the Mountain Hut Bar and Lakeside Bar.

Nicola Meadley, festival director, comments: “After the last couple of years, it was fabulous to be able to host a ‘full fat’ festival in May again. The atmosphere was fantastic throughout the weekend and it was wonderful to see so many people from every generation and background enjoying themselves. The Lake District always provides a stunning backdrop for Keswick Mountain Festival and it’s a huge pleasure to introduce new people to this amazing place every year.”

Keswick Mountain Festival attracts an estimated 15,000 visitors each event, bringing an economic boost to the town in early summer. The festival also supports charity partner The National Trust Funds and its Riverlands initiative. Just a few miles away is one of the projects that has been supported by funds raised previously at KMF, peat bog restoration at Armboth Fell. Funds raised during this year’s festival will help the trust to deliver the next phase of work to improve the health of rivers in the local Derwent catchment area.

Rebecca Powell, Project Manager at the National Trust says: “We’re so grateful to Keswick Mountain Festival for continuing to support these conservation projects, such as those bringing our essential waterways flowing back to life. Their charitable support will help us to protect and preserve the places and spaces people love – and will continue to care for the wildlife that depends on it.”

Plans are already underway for the 2023 Keswick Mountain Festival, which is scheduled to run from 19-21 May. For the latest information about KMF, visit, find the event on Facebook, or follow @keswickfestival on Twitter and Instagram.