Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2007 – Day 1

My recent posts about the 2011 Cropredy Convention have prompted me to get round to re-posting my old entries about previous events.  So here is 2007, hopefully soon to be followed by 2008 and 2009.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a fan or advocate of folk music and until recently my only contact with the genre was a few Steeleye Span records that dad had when we were younger and, more recently, a bit of Dylan and the like. So the Cropredy Folk Festival, otherwise known as Fairport’s Cropredy Convention and a number of other names, wouldn’t be the most likely candidate for (probably) the only festival I’ll attend this year. However, the prospect of spending 3 days in rural Oxfordshire chilling on Dave’s boat, listening to some (hopefully) good music and meeting some (also hopefully) interesting people (hippies) was too tempting to pass up. Even if I didn’t enjoy the music I could enjoy gloating at the people in their tents on the other side of the canal!

Having just completed this page, I’ve noticed that it is rather too long to be viewed all at once so I have decided to split it up into bite sized chunks, starting with:

Thursday 09/08/07
Despite nagging all of our friends, in the end only Dave, John and I managed to get our acts together and buy tickets. I arranged to meet John at Cropredy village on Thursday morning. Approaching from the west, despite being a bugger as we both live to the east of Cropredy, is definitely to be preferred as we missed most of the big queues and just had to queue to park because of a shortage of marshals!

Dave’s boat was moored just a few meters from the campsite, unfortunately these were pretty wet metres, next time I’m bringing a dinghy! The boat itself was easily recognisable from the rabbit with rainbow coloured spinning tail poking out the top. From the roof you get a great view across the campsite and can even see into the arena.

The first day started later than the others at 4pm, presumably to let the stragglers get settled. This gave us plenty of time to have lunch on the boat, browse the hippie shops and get a good spot to pitch out chairs.

First up was the compere who was an Irish comedian/singer who got us all in the mood with some jokes and a sing along. The first proper act were Kerfuffle who were excellent. I’m not sure if it was because they were the first band or because of their excellent music but I think they made the biggest impression on me of any of the acts that weekend. Possibly it was the multi talented Hannah James who not only sings with a beautifully clear voice but also plays accordion and piano and provides additional percussion via clog dancing. They were so obviously excited about playing to such a huge audience and grateful to the organisers for inviting them to play.

Next up were Wishbone Ash who were much more rock than folk and not really my thing. I think perhaps it was a little too early in a folk festival to have that kind of act on, especially after the very classic folk of Kerfuffle. They were followed by Seth Lakeman and I really don’t remember anything about his set. His music was more the kind of thing I was expecting though.

The first evening was rounded off by Jools Holland and his rhythm and blues orchestra. Now I’m not a big fan of Jools, I don’t share his taste in music and I get the impression that he is more interested in how popular he is than how good the music is. Despite that I must say that he put on an excellent performance with some really excellent solos from various members of the “orchestra” and a couple of great guest performers including Lulu. Bizarrely (and setting a precedent for events later in the weekend) one of the saxophonists was seen at various points “playing” a pineapple, a cucumber, a cabbage and what many people insist was an aubergine!

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