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Rain fails to dampen Cropredy spirit as festival whips up a storm

MHBG-14-08-14 Cropredy Fest 
Cropredy Festival 2014. Pictures from the first day of Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2014.
Pictured: See JP for caption info
Picture by Lucy Ford NNL-140808-102727009

MHBG-14-08-14 Cropredy Fest Cropredy Festival 2014. Pictures from the first day of Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2014. Pictured: See JP for caption info Picture by Lucy Ford NNL-140808-102727009

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention escaped most of the wet weather last weekend as music fans enjoyed what organisers described as ‘one of the best’ festivals to date.

Despite a downpour on Friday night through the Australian Pink Floyd Show, the rest of the festival stayed relatively dry as the sold-out crowd enjoyed a variety of great music over the three days.

The box office had to close a fortnight before the festival gates opened because the site had reached its licensed capacity, and Gareth Williams, festival organiser, said: “This was a milestone year for us. We’ve only sold all the tickets in advance once before back in 2007.

“This year we booked a very eclectic line-up that really did have something for most tastes. Musically, this was one of the best bills we’ve ever put on and the audience obviously thought so too.”

Thursday saw Joe Broughton’s Folk Ensemble provide a great mix of funk, ska and soul tunes before Scottish folk band Capercaillie introduced their blend of traditional and funky folk. Steve Hackett – Genesis Extended, enlivened the crowd with his dreamy prog rock before The Waterboys gave an energetic display with Irish fiddle maestro Steve Wickham impressing.

On Friday, Swedish guitarist/singer Ben Folke Thomas offered a lively display, but admitted afterwards he had some nerves before taking to the famous stage.

He said: “I was really nervous. We had rehearsed quite a lot in the days before but I was still worried about messing up. But when I came off stage I could not stop smiling.”

The Travelling Band made their second appearance at Cropredy on Friday after debuting back in 2011. Bassist Chris Spencer said: “We were very excited to be part of Cropredy again. The festival has been here for 35 years and taken time to build, and the people that come here love live music.

“When we were doing a UK tour we had people saying they had heard of us after coming to this festival, which was amazing.”

Friday night saw Chas and Dave delight the crowd before the Australian Pink Floyd Show delivered a great laser display. On Saturday, highlights included Cara Dillon, Marillion and legendary performer Al Stewart before Fairport Convention rounded off this year’s spectacle with a two-hour closing set.

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