Cropredy Oxfordshire 7th To 9th August 2013.
Who’d have thought all those years ago that Fairports Cropredy Convention would be in its thirty seventh year and it certainly shows no sign of loosing momentum. Rather the convention is gathering pace, attracting more youthful crowds along with the more mature faithful regulars.
For anyone who’s never heard of the Fairport Cropredy Convention, the festival started life as just as small intimate performance to locals by the band Fairport Convention in a village back garden in July 1976. The following year there was a repeat performance where not just locals were allowed to attend.
In 1978 it was moved to a new location behind the Cropredy Village School. A new venue along with better organization, the festival took on a whole new look. In August 1979 Fairport Convention played their farewell performance to 4,500 fans but promised an annual reunion and remained true to their word returning each year to close the festival.
This years festival saw a massive17,000 expectant fans descend on the quaint village of Cropredy. Since those early years the festival has gathered formidable notoriety and now attracts music lovers from all over the UK, Europe and as far away as the USA and Australia.
Festival show closers Fairport Convention also has the inaugural task of opening the festivities on the Thursday afternoon with an impromptu acoustic set which set the benchmark for what was to become an afternoon of laid back and enjoyable music.
No sooner had Fairport cleared the stage, the roadies were out like an army of worker ants clearing and re-setting the stage for Fake Thackeray. Talented guitarist and vocalist John Watterson engaged the already growing crowd with covers of Jake Thackray’s funny, satirical and at times, very un-politically correct songs.
Haled as the number 5 female rock singer of all time by classic rock magazine, Leigh Matty took to the stage along with the rest of her band Romeos Daughter. I saw the band perform earlier in the year at Hard Rock Hell in Rotherham and I was eager to see if they could emulate that success again here. I wouldn’t necessarily have placed them in the Folk genre category like so many of the other bands performing here, but the key word for this festival seems to be eclectic…
As we headed into the back end of the first day the atmosphere at the festival just kept getting better. There was barely enough time to look around at the thousands of people packing out the main arena field before Mancunians Edward II appeared on stage. A must to listen to with their fusion of British folk dance and Morris music with reggae cuts.
As the First night drew to a close the diversity of the music so far comes to a head as Alice Cooper took to the stage with his infamous shock-rock stage show. Opening with “Hello Hooray” and backed by a huge shower of sparks, Coopers set Includes Crowd favorites such as “Poison”, “Under my Wheels” and “Feed my Frankenstein”.
In true Cooper fashion during his set he was beheaded by a guillotine, electrocuted and he also sang with his trade mark boa constrictor around his neck with more blood on stage than you’d find in an abattoir. There were also covers of hits by The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Who before Cooper finished his set in classic style with “School’s Out”.
Review and Photography by Mark Lloyd (Amplified Gig Photography)