300 - Fairport’s Cropredy Convention

Dave Pegg (Standard British accent):
It’s one of the nicest festivals I’ve ever been to. I’m not just saying that ‘cause we organise it ourselves, it’s just… it has a very friendly atmosphere and a great vibe and it’s very much a family kind of affair, you see, you know, there’s like 2,000 kids out there today, you know, there’s like at least 2,000 under-12-year-olds, and it’s a great place, the campsites are all really well organised and it’s… it’s a safe and secure place to bring your children, you know, touch wood!

That was Dave Pegg, who is a member of Fairport Convention. Every year in August the group’s fans gather in the Oxfordshire village of Cropredy for a three-day music festival. The Dixie Bee-Liners played at “Fairport’s Cropredy Convention” in 2010. Andy Powell and Wishbone Ash performed there in 2007.

Andy Powell (Standard British accent):
Wishbone Ash was formed in ’69 and I think Fairport may have been ’68 because I think I may have seen one of their early gigs. ’67, ’68, I was going to festivals and I was hugely impacted by Fairport Convention. In fact their music resonates through ours, really, because Richard Thompson was an influence; still is, really. Very English, I mean, I wish that we had more bands that were promoting this Englishness that we all try to, to some degree. We’re all somewhat transatlantic, but Fairport, you know: respect, actually. They… they… they did a lot to foster that… the English folk thing, really. And their melodies and so forth, you can… you can hear them, the… you know, you can hear the influence in Wishbone Ash, for sure. I mean, all bands cross-pollinate and I was just in the men’s room with Dave Pegg, chatting! And it… it is amazing, you know, if you came up in that period, we were a little generation after Fairport, they were a little bit older than us, but we were in what’s… so-called Progressive era, if you want, but definitely I… I listen to all their stuff, Meet Me on the Ledge and Liege and Lief and Sandy Denny. Fabulous: love ‘em!

The Muffin Men played at Cropredy in 2005. Simon Nicol explains how the festival has evolved over the years.

Simon Nicol (Standard British accent):
In the mid-1970s two members of Fairport Convention actually lived in this village, Dave Pegg and Dave Swarbrick, and we used to borrow the village hall for rehearsals and so forth. And every village in England, one Saturday in the summer will have what’s called a village fete, which is just a public get-together, and a little bit of money is raised and games are played and people have tea and one year it was suggested that, after the village fete, perhaps an evening performance might be done by the band. They would sell tickets amongst the village and raise a little bit more money and it would be a good thing to pay the village back for lending us the hall. So this happened and we played on the… in the garden of… of one of the larger houses here and it was a great success and the villagers had a nice time, the band had a nice time and they made a little bit more money, so they suggested, next year, we should do the same thing. That year some people from outside the village found out about it and came along, fans of the band, so it began to grow. The third year it was too big for the garden, so it went into a field and we started running it. And here we are now, 30 years later, with 15,000 people descending on a village of 600 inhabitants!

(Dave Pegg, Andy Powell and Simon Nicol were talking to Mark Worden)