Fairport Convention at Cropredy Convention, Oxfordshire - live review

Come all ye rollin’ minstrels – Fairport hit a half-century

Crowd shot

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It must be a bit special if Robert Plant’s here. Joe Brown, Danny Thompson and some other famous faces are also in attendance this weekend, celebrating 50 years of folk rock’s first family at their own 20,000-strong festival in a field near Banbury.

The current Convention (Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Gerry Conway, Ric Sanders and Chris Leslie) bookend a three-hour Saturday night headline slot with interludes that start with a rip-snorting set from the ‘Fairport Toddlers’. Nicol lines up beside Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Ian Matthews and Judy Dyble, and the teen-era band fire up Time Will Show The Wiser and a jamtasticReno, Nevada complete with traditional dishcloth knitting byDyble. Eccentric and exhilarating, we’d like to see a full set by this super-rare assemblage again, please.

Soon, further incarnations resurrect and regenerate: Chris While handles Sandy Denny’s sublime parts on Come All Ye and Who Knows Where The Time Goes; PJ Wright and Sally Barker gently flutter Fotheringay’s flag with Maartin Allcock; Ralph McTell is resonant and assured on Wedding Dress (and more).

By the 142(ish) verses of Matty Groves, the stage is getting rather full, and then there’s The Big One to unite the whole field and all members and guests present: the simply wonderful Meet On The Ledge. Touching, evocative and more than a bit special.

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.