12 August 14
Posted at 11:52
Cropredy or Fairport's Cropredy Convention is a 'three day festival of music and good cheer' held in Cropredy, near Banbury in August. It has been held annually since the seventies. Fairport Convention, a legendary folk band of some note put on the festival and top the bill on the Saturday night. The festival is like no other I have witnessed for a number of reasons. First of all it is centered around an iconic folk band who are idolised by generation of families. Grandchildren, even great grandchildren of the hippies who followed the band in the sixties grow up with Fairport and Cropredy being part of their culture and all revel in the annual pilgrimage to Oxfordshire. The festival site is different. There is one stage set in a natural amphitheatre on Fairports farm. It is surrounded by campsites which stretch between the villages of Cropredy and Williamscot. Cropredy opens its doors, particularly its pub doors, to festival goers and fringe gigs are put on in the village. At 11am each day the gates to the site open to festival goers, many queue for hours before to get a prime position. The fans, 20,000 of them, then, all with camping chairs in hand, rapidly form rows of chairs, blankets etc etc and set up for the day. A large area at the front is left for those wishing to stand, dance etc. It all sounds so orderly for a festival and in many ways it is but its really chilled out and friendly and although it seems orderly there is no organisation - just tradition I guess. Real ale is the drug of choice but that is not compulsory and folk enjoy themselves in what ever way they wish - but at no other festival do many of the festival goers arrive with a pewter tankard hanging from their rucksack.
Another unusual aspect are the numbers of dogs brought along but there's an absence of any evidence of dogs stuck to your shoes. The dogs all wear 'Little Stephen' neckerchiefs - I've not yet discovered why. Cropredy is whiter than Midsomer, something I find a little disturbing - it is like going back in time to rural England about 70 years ago. The demographic is unrepresentative even for rural Oxfordshire but so be it. I first experienced Cropredy when The Travelling Band appeared there in 2011. I had followed the band for some years before that and spent much of that summer following their festival tour. A group of us went along - we had a brilliant time and witnessed such a broad eclectic mix of musical talent that I have returned every year since. This year with other committments I could not make the whole festival but as The Travelling Band were appearing again I made sure I had a pass to shoot their set at least.
So here are a few pics of TTB smashing it at Cropredy 2014 just as they did in 2011.
Checkout The Travelling Band here
Checkout Cropredy here
The Travelling Band have a new album The Big Defreeze out on 25th August and are touring extensively this autum.