Folk rock pioneers, Fairport Convention, played an impromptu gig in Cropredy in 1976 to fundraise for the local fete. A few years later crowds of fans descended on the Oxfordshire village to catch what they believed to be the band’s last ever gig. Fast forward to 2017 and the event has become an annual fixture attracting 20,000 people for three days of camping and music – and Fairport Convention are still going strong.
Celebrating their golden anniversary this year, the band have released a new album with the apt, if unwieldy, title ‘50:50@50’. They’re also planning to mark the occasion with a special festival line-up. As one of the first acts to set traditional tunes to electrified instruments, Fairport Convention have got roots buried deep in different genres, which is reflected in the diversity of this year’s bill.
Dandy lyricist Neil Hannon brings The Divine Comedy back into the spotlight to headline the festival’s opening day, while Friday night rounds off with Fairport co-founder Richard Thompson and the legendary Petula Clark. Bizarrely, this is the 84-year-old’s first ever UK festival appearance.
Sunday’s line-up features progressive rockers Marillion and Scottish singer songwriter Dougie MacLean. The festival finale, of course, comes from Fairport Convention themselves who will be joined by a multitude of guests for a set spanning five decades of music.
Cropredy Convention is a proper folk institution so the weekend comes with all the trappings you’d expect, from an endless array of real ales to morris men dancing in the streets. It’s earned a reputation as being one of the friendliest festivals around. Here’s to another 50 years.
For more info and tickets visit www.fairportconvention.com