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Fairports Cropredy Convention

Fairport Convention

Day 3

Cropredy Oxfordshire 7th To 9th August 2013.

Having flown down especially from this years Edinburgh Fringe festival to perform at Cropredy, Richard Digance was first to take to the stage on day three. After a brief story in typical Digance style it was straight down to business with his mix of musical comedy.

As the stage was being quickly turned around for the next act, I was aware that a rather large crowd had gathered at the barrier in front of the stage. After checking my running order list it was apparent why as the Mediaeval Baebes were due up next. Their set comprising of songs made up from mediaeval texts form the 12th – 14th centuries is impressive to say the least with each song being individually introduced so the audience knew something of its meaning.

Mediaeval Baebes

If you like your Blues guitarists like I do then you must look up Brooks Williams. The man is a six string legend with his blend of Bluesy Americana music. At one point I stopped photographing just to watch in awe at his slide guitar work. Another Folk-rock influenced band were The Dunwells, sadly these guys had slipped below my music radar to but their beautiful melodies and mix of English Rock and American roots music slotted them somewhere between Kings Of Leon and Mumford & Sons.

Brookes Williams

Second of this festivals Celtic dance music offerings was Peatbog Fearies. Their line up has changed quite considerably over their sixteen year history but they still deliver the same sound despite the changes. These guys were so energetic on stage and their sound is both exciting and innovative.

If like me you’re of a “certain” age you’ll remember Nik Kershaw from his heady 80’s pop era days, now he’s solo acoustic singer/songwriter.

Nik Kershaw.

Covering rock, folk and pop genres, his new music is more contemporary than his older material but it was still good to hear the classic material stripped down to just him and a guitar.

Nik Kershaw

All too soon three days of some of the best live music I’ve heard began to draw to a close, but not before festival organisers and headline act Fairport Convention took to the stage. Opening with “Sir Patric Spens” the Fairport chaps took the crowd on a musical journey playing some thirty songs which spanned their entire musical career.

Fairport Convention.

With a mix of classic favorites such as “Fotheringay” and “Farewell Farewell”, and newer material such as “Celtic Moon” and “Albert and Ted” their set list was a shining example of their varied 46 year history. Throughout their set there were cameo appearances from previous artists including Martin Barre lending a hand on “2-4-6-8- Motorway” and Nik Kershaw on “Red Strand”

In true Cropredy tradition Fairport closed with “Meet On The Ledge” which has now become their unofficial anthem and sadly a sign to all that this was the end.

Fairports Cropredy Festival has a unique and welcoming atmosphere for which it is famous for. It’s easy to see why it’s been dubbed as the “friendliest festival in the country”

Review and Photography by Mark Lloyd (Amplified Gig Photography)

Fairports Cropredy Convention

10 cc

Day 2

Cropredy Oxfordshire 7th To 9th August 2013.

For the few hundred fans who had actually made up in time to see the first act on day two, they were treated to the winners of the BBC Radio 2 young folk award Gregg Russell and Ciaran Algar. With a contemporary sound combined with a musical dexterity that would challenge even the most seasoned musician these two are certainly ones to watch out for.

Despite knowing very little about folk rock and soul band Danny & The Champions of the World, I was eager to see what all the buzz was about as a rather large crowd had started forming at the front of the barrier. With the charismatic Danny George Wilson at the helm of what can be dubbed a folk super group these guys had a unique folk sound with a rock edge.

Danny & the Champions of the World

If you like your folk music a bit more alternative then the Moulettes will be the one for you. They had a unique sound with elements of prog, rock, pop and classical all rolled into one flavorful sound.

There’s something about a good old jig that stirs something inside and instinctively makes you tap your foot and Irish instrumental band Lunasa certainly have the credentials. Since 1997 these guys have played over 1500 shows around the world. With their innovation and passion their music has been hailed as some of the best at the forefront of Celtic music.

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre is just sublime. Martin’s been Tull’s guitarist for the past 43 years but he has also worked with Paul McCartney, Phil Collins and the late, great Gary Moore. These days he’s put his own band together and plays all the classic hits from the extensive Jethro Tull back catalogue.

Martin Barre

Penultimate act for the Saturday was the highly anticipated Levellers. Right from the off the band ignited a spark within the crowd that pretty much saw 17,000 fans bouncing up and down emphatically.

Levellers .

Kicking off with “England my Home” there couldn’t have been a more patriotic way to start their set. They knocked out a mixture of old and new material and classics like “What a beautiful Day”, “One Way” and “The Riverflow” to name but a few.

Levellers

Described as being amongst the most inventive and influential bands of popular music 10cc had the honour of closing Saturday nights festivities. They instantly unleashed a barrage of classics opening with “The Wall Street Shuffle” and segueing through all the old favorites and a few lesser known ones as well. The tracks everyone wanted to hear were there: “Art For Art’s Sake”, “Oh Donna”, “I’m Mandy”, “Fly Me” and of course “I’m Not In Love”.

10 cc .

Even if you weren’t a big 10cc fan at the time, you’d still know far more of their songs than you realize. The energy remained high throughout the set and the audience were kept enthralled. Finishing the night with “Rubber Bullets”, the audience were on their feet! These guys may be “old wild men” but they can still hold their own with the best of them.

Review and Photography by Mark Lloyd (Amplified Gig Photography)

Fairports Cropredy Convention

Alice Cooper..

Day 1
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.

Fairport Convention Accoustic

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.

Fake Thackray

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.

Mancunians Edward II

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”.

Alice Cooper...

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”.

Alice Cooper

Review and Photography by Mark Lloyd (Amplified Gig Photography)