Cropredy Festival People

29 August 11

Posted at 8:01

I promised some more photos from Cropredy Festival and here they are. First up an image I've called Early Bird

Early Bird

There's a little story attached. Each morning at Cropredy photographers with press acreditation have to visit the backstage entrance - fondly known as Moira's gate - and book pit slots for the day. It's all very formal and somewhat unusual but you have to be there at 10 am or you are likely to miss out. The festival arena is closed to the public until 11am. On this particular day as I dragged myself from my tent across the site to Moiras gate I spotted this fellow sitting alone in the area he should not have been in. It was around 0930. I went and booked my slots and on the way back noticed he was still sitting there. It was  an hour until the area opened and about three hours before the first band was to play. I made my way over to him to have a chat. His name is Jim and he told me he was over from Philadelphia just for the festival. I enquired how he got here and he answered by bus from Banbury! I then explained in more detail how I was surprised he a) was sitting here so early (he had hardly chosen a prime position) and b) how he got past security. Jim explained that the day before he had arrived at around 0900 when the bus got in from his hotel in Banbury and that there was no security. So he made his way to this spot and waited. The previous day the first band was not on until 4pm so he must have sat there for seven hours before the festival began. Today he arrived and was confronted by security at the gate, he explanied about his previous days experience and the security guy said well if you go in and sit there I'm not going to move you! So here Jim was, waiting patiently having bagged a somewhat ahem, mediocre poistion!


This is Jim, all the way from Philadelphia and waiting to see the band that had attracted him across the pond to Cropredy, Home Service. He didn't seem to think this long wait was in anyway unusual. His only real frustration was that the food and drink outlets were not open. I bid him farewell and went off to get some breakfast.

This is Home Service, the band Jim had travelled so far and waited so long to see.

Home Service

There are many interesting folk to meet at Cropredy. As you would expect there is a fair proportion of, what shall I say, people who are more September than May, but then again there's also many young children as well.

A young Beatle fan for example

Beatle Boy

and here's a young shopaholic


Sophisticated girl on Dad's shoulders


and girl on the shoulders of her somewhat unsophisticated Dad

Put Your belly Away Dad

Well at least her Dad could cover up with a slightly larger shirt. Unlike this fella who has made his decision and is stuck with it. Mind you he's happy.

Tattoo Head


All Youll Ever Need - David Shillinglaw

26 August 11

Posted at 6:11

Last night I photographed the opening night of All You'll Ever Need an exhibition by David Shillinglaw . I'd  been looking forward to it ever since Joanna Dudderidge, the director of the exhibition, invited me to shoot the evening. As Joanna is a brilliant photographer herself I felt priviliged to be asked. Add to that the fact that Adam and Jo from the Travelling Band  were doing an accoustic set during the evening and you'll understand why I was excited.

I was aware of David's work but had never either met him or seen his art other than online. 

Human Condition

This is typical of David's work. You can get a clear understanding of All You'll Ever Need here

Below is David explaining in detail to some early visitors. The gallery, East Gallery, 214 Brick Lane London E1 6SA, was rammed with fifiteen minutes of opening and remained so until well after it was supposed to have closed. A credit to cement-gallery , a primarily online gallery who promote a dozen or more 'graphic' artists including David.

David Shillinglaw

Both David and his work are amazing, his endless enthusiasm and energy last night were reflected in his work on display.

Crowd Inside

The gallery was constantly full both inside....

Crowd Outside

....and spilt over to the street outside.

Here's David showing interest in his own work..


....and here are a couple of viewers intrigued by his work.


And as I said The Travelling Band, represented by Jo and Adam, did an accoustic set. I've seen their set described today as the "very tasty icing and a great cake" - I couldn't put it better.

Jo and Adam

The Travelling Band have moved on to a festival in Scotland today BUT All You Ever Need continues in Brick Lane until 4th September. I recommend that you make the effort to pay a visit, you will definately not be disappointed.

Details click here

Before I sign off, those who know me will understand, after an enjoyable evening, great atmosphere and lovely people, followed by a little after show, I am bound to make new friends. So as I made my way down Brick Lane this lovely couple and their friends for some reason thought I was a DJ!!!!

It's For You

Between phone calls we passed some time together. So much time I missed my train home!


Legends - Cropredy Festival

19 August 11

Posted at 3:04

Today my second photoblog on Cropredy Festival. A chance to take a look at some of the many music 'legends' that helped to make this festival so special. First up Steve Gibbons..

Steve Gibbons

Steve played with The Dylan Project  alongside PJ Wright, Gerry Conway, Phil Bond and Dave Pegg. I was so chuffed to see, and hear, Steve looking so good and performing so well. I hope I'm in as good a nick as him when I'm 70! I was prompted to buy a Steve Gibbons Band CD, Down in the Bunker. Easier than searching the attic for the vinyl plus it hepls Steve with his pension. Great Album. No Spitting On The Bus still makes me smile.

No sooner had Seasick Steve finished his second number than he was joind by a mega legend....

John Paul Jones - Cropredy 2011

..also wearing it well, John Paul Jones - of Led Zeppelin fame (for any really young followers). I've said previoulsy that although Cropredy's roots is folk the line up is eclectic. This year, to my joy, The Blockheads  played on Saturday afternoon. They seem to have toured endlessly since Ian's death keeping his lyrics and their music alive and available to new and old fans alike. Here's some photos...

Derek the Draw

Blockheads - Derek the Draw

Chaz Jankel

Chaz Jankel

and Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis

I've known all the legends so far but I have to admit I had never even heard of Horslips  But many people I met had. An Irish Folk Rock band who reformed recently. They had a massive, excited following who couldn't believe their luck that they had a chance to see their heroes again. I enjoyed their set, their energy and enthusiasm and most of all that of their fans.

Charles O' Connor - I think! I'm sure a Horslips fan will correct me if I am wrong. They've all changed a little bit since 1970!

Charles O'Connor - Horslips

Last but definately not least legend, one of my heroes, Whispering Bob Harris, also looking good. It was an honour to have the opportunity to meet and chat with Bob.

Bob Harris

More from Cropredy in my next blog.

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Cropredy Festival - The Travelling Band

17 August 11

Posted at 10:45

I went to Cropredy Festival primarily to see The Travelling Band  so it's only right that in my first blog on Cropredy I focus on The Travelling Band. I say first blog as I will no doubt do some more over the next few days on the Cropredy subject. Cropredy is like no other festival I have been to - it's so laid back, I've described it as the most chilled festival on earth. This is Fairport Conventions festival, held on their farm. So it's roots are in folk music although the line up covers many musical genres. Many legends along with some real upcoming talent. More on that in future photoblogs. At Cropredy you camp with your car (no trudging miles with your camping gear) close to the festival arena (there is just a single main stage, which means decent crowds for all the artists) and also very close to the village of Cropredy.

The whole village puts on facilities like breakfast, showers etc and a 'fringe festival' takes place with artists appearing in both of the pubs. Also of note are the toilets throughout the festival area and campsites - they are the best you'll find anywhere. Cropredy attracts an attendance of around 20,000.

The Early Crowd

Cropredy 2011

As I said I chose Cropredy because The Travelling Band were appearing. I've followed and photographed this band for over three years. I knew they were looking forward to appearing at Cropredy but I'm sure even they had no idea how well they would go down. Their slot was 1250 pm on the Friday, an unlikely time for the crowd to be awake let alone warmed up. The band went down a storm, audience and the band both visibly really enjoying themselves. The size of the queue at the signing tent was testimony to how well they went down. Plus the fact that the whole stock of Screaming is Something , their latest album, sold out swiftly with hundreds still queuing, sums up the impact the band had on thousands who had never heard them before. Some well deserved recognition! I was stoked to witness the band having so much success. Below some photos of the band...

Adam Gorman - The Travelling Band



Chris Spencer - The Travelling Band Cropredy


Jo Dudderidge -Cropredy 2011


Jo Dudderidge -Cropredy 2011


Jo Dudderidge -Cropredy 2011


Steve Mullen - The Travelling Band


Nick Vaal - The Travelling Band


Adam Gorman - The Travelling Band


Chris Spencer - The Travelling Band

Backstage after the set I was able to catch a very happy Travelling Band along with the legendary Bob Harris

Bob Harris with The Travelling Band - Cropredy 2011

Below a shot of some of the lucky ones who secured a CD waiting to have it signed

The Lucky Ones

More photos from Cropredy tomorrow.

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Thursday's Child is Full of Woe

05 August 11

Posted at 2:18

A few days ago I made up my mind to go to the Bull & Gate last night (Thursday). Decision was prompted by a tweet from one of my online music tog buddies Danny Gartside . Road to Horizon were playing, a band from Danny's hometown Wakefield. Well the first 'woe' was Thursday morning when Road to Horizon's appearence was cancelled. As I've not been to the Bull recently and there were still three bands playing I decided to rock up there with my Nikon.

I got there just in time for the first band to come on stage. The Maxwells . A lad with a Scottish accent and a see through guitar came on stage and mumbled something that I didn't catch. He did a couple of tunes and at times did not seem at ease. After the second song he had a little chat with the crowd, along these lines...."Technically I am in a band, we are a band". But tonight it's just me, the keyboard player's in Greece, the drummer is camping with his girfriend" I didn't catch the excuse for the fourth member. More 'woe'. His openess and honesty, and balls for doing the set on his own, warmed him to the crowd who were really supportive. William (I think his name is) continued with his patter and it became clear that his 'balls' came from the fact that his Mum had turned up to watch the band. Will blew her a kiss and muttered something about getting a proper job, subject to being able to get up in mornings, and then wowed the crowd with three or four more tunes. The photo below portrays how he felt no doubt!

The Maxwells

Next up were Broken Hands (something I could have ended up with last night, read on)

Broken Hands

Broken Hands had a big following, many of them had followed the band up from Kent no doubt.

Broken Hands 1


Broken Hands 3

After Broken Hands I decided to get a pint before the next band came on. If you know the Bull & Gate you'll appreciate that the little bar for the club area can get very crowded in breaks. So, what I do is pop into the public bar which is often near empty, as it was last night. I paid for a pint of Krony and popped into the gents. As I was on my way I heard someone order a pint of the same, other than him there were only two people in the bar. After pointing Percy I returned to find my untouched pint gone. The couple of locals and the landlady were amazed the beer had gone. The landlady was swiftly off outside were there was quite a large crowd on the pavement enjoying the warm evening. I hot footed after her, if fact pushed in front. I was less than amused. I spotted a guy chatting with three or four mates with TWO pints of Krony in his hands. I calmly enquired whether he may have picked up mine by 'mistake'. He said no but looked a little sheepish. I asked why he had two and had he bought them both? I bought one he said. I asked where the other came from. He said his mate had bought it for him and pointed to his mate who nodded. Twat. It was at this point I realised all four were somewhat bigger than me so I considered how much further I should pursue this. I've got a big weekend lined up and didn't fancy spending it in hospital. I returned to the bar where the local couple and the landlady were in a right 2 and 8. Was it him? she enquired. I said I thought so but difficult to prove of course. Anyway I wanted to get back and shoot the next band. She poured me a new pint. But I couldn't resist going back out. Mr Low Life's mates had scarpered and he was there now with just one pint minus a few gulps. I politely but sarcastically mentioned to him that in my book you can't get much lower than nicking a blokes pint when his back is turned, especially when you can afford one of your own. He mumbled that I'd got it wrong but then proceeded to offer me the glass. I declined and said, quietly,"I hope you choke on it" or words to that effect. More woe on a Thursday!!

Well enough of that. This is a blog to show my photos not to talk about my woes! Have a look at the last band - Leisure...


Leisure's drummer looks, and plays, like a young Ginger Baker..

Leisure Drums


Leisure Bass


Leisure Bull & Gate

The gig last night at Club Fandango  at the Bull and Gate, Kentish Town, was a Hoochie Coochie night. And a great night it was too - apart from the Beer Thief


The Birds and the Bees

04 August 11

Posted at 5:47

Today's photoblog focusses on flight. Three images of birds that I took whilst in the Camargue recently. The Parc Ornothologique near St Marie is just brilliant. And first of all a humble Bumble Bee shot on a sunny day while I supped an ice cold beer in my garden.


I took a few dozen shots in order to get one with some reasonable focus, could have been the fault of the beer I guess! Not sure if the addition of a macro lens would help with this sort of photography. Anyhow for now there are bigger calls on my dosh.

The next image is a Pink Flamingo attempting take off

Pink Flamingo

Fascinating birds and there are lots of them wild in the Camargue. Their pink colour comes from the small shrimps that they feed on constantly. Grey when they eat them but pink when digested (cooked!!). Next up what I believe to be a Sacred Ibis..

Sacred Ibis

Coming into land on it's nest it looks as though it's about to crash. Last of all a Grey Heron, also landing.

Grey Heron

It doesn't look too elegant with it's landing gear down. There is an abudance of herons of all types in the Camargue (I believe this is a Grey Heron). They are far less timid here than the ones that control the population of fish in my pond at home.


Man and Bike

03 August 11

Posted at 3:04

Just recently I've been workng on a submission for this year's Shoot Out with Scratch Magazine. My friend Cat is a,oh not sure what she is, a beautician I suppose. She works in a Nail Bar and does all sorts of exotic and no doubt expensive nail designs. We entered the competition last year. It's a combination of the nail design and application and the photograph as the competition is judged on photograph. We are hoping to improve on last years results and hopefully at least make the top ten. None of that has much releveance to today's blog other than the images I produced have to be kept underwraps (unpublished) until the results are announced at Olympia in September. The connection is that I'm excited about our images and I can't share them with anyone.

So today's image is Man and Bike...

Man and Bike

Simple title and simple image. Today there is just the one. A print of this will be exhibited at The London Photo Festival  in October. So if you like it why not pop along in October, in fact why not pop along anyway. The festival is a new event and to be honest I don't know a lot about it. I have been following it's evolution for some months after it was 'hatched' from some chat on a Facebook site. I am meeting up with the organisers in a couple of weeks and will no doubt find out a lot more.

I took the photo whilst walking round the ramparts at Aigues-Mortes in France. There's nothing much original about it but I like to think I've captured the intense light and shadow, the patterns and colour of the paving and something of the character of the subject. No doubt my thoughts will be born out or countered at the event!