I spent this afternoon and evening at Cropredy 2016 thanks to an invitation from Fairport Convention to attend their annual three-day festival of rock, pop and acoustic music set in beautiful Oxfordshire countryside adjacent to Cropredy village.
A friendly and enthusiastic crowd had taken up residence and had already enjoyed a diverse line-up on the Thursday and Friday, including headliners Madness and the Bootleg Beatles. The sunshine and relaxed vibes meant the festival site was immediately inviting to any visitors new to the event, which was being held for the 37th time, and the hot weather and the quality of the music led to Airport’s Dave Pegg on the final day claiming 2016 as the ‘Best ever Cropredy.’
I arrived as the award-winning duo Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts were entertaining the packed field with their trad folk, and their set was quickly followed by the Pierce Brothers, who proved a big hit thanks to their highly-energetic drum and acoustic rabble rousing.
By this time I had visited the backstage area and received a very warm welcome from Andy Farquarson of Iconic Media at the press caravan where it was also a pleasure to meet a number of the artists, especially PJ Wright, Dave Pegg and Ralph McTell. I had also seen on Facebook that bassist Gary Piears-Banton was at the Festival for all three days, so it was great to hook up with him, his wife Catrin and son Toby. Thanks for the superb hospitality guys!
Meanwhile, on stage Babylon Circus were presenting their French take on ska, jazz and reggae. The evening’s sunset was accompanied by Ralph who delivered a marvellous set of moving songs, including folk favourite Streets Of London. Fairport had kicked off proceedings of the Thursday with an acoustic set and they closed the Festival with a selection of British folk/rock classics including Ye Mariners All, Myths and Heroes, Naked Highwayman, Portmeirion, Mr Lacey (with 11 year-old guitarist Toby Lee), John Condon, Fatheringay and Bring Me Back My Feathers.