Video and photos: More than music, the magic of Fairport's Cropredy Convention returns

Fairport Cropredy Convention returned last weekend (August 10–12) with three days crammed full of music, markets, and magic. Reporter Jack Ingham was once again thete to enjoy it – here is his report.
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I was fortunate to attend this year’s celebration of folk music and good times on Friday evening and Saturday daytime.

Last year’s convention was my first, and the overall friendliness and huge family picnic atmosphere were the significant memories I took home.

While this was definitely present this year and the festival’s boast of being ‘Britain's Friendliest Festival’ still rings true in my opinion, this time I discovered the magic outside of the main concert field.

2023's edition of Fairport's Cropredy Convention proved a huge success with a wide variety of entertaining performers.2023's edition of Fairport's Cropredy Convention proved a huge success with a wide variety of entertaining performers.
2023's edition of Fairport's Cropredy Convention proved a huge success with a wide variety of entertaining performers.

Of course, I, along with much of the 20,000-strong crowd, enjoyed singing along to Kiki Dee’s excellent rendition of ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ and 10cc’s reggae classic ‘Dreadlock Holiday', but it was the hidden gems of the village that made this year’s festival special for me.

The bustling streets of the village are filled with life and music at every corner, from buskers covering Bob Dylan hits on the historic bridge, to the serene setting of The Saucy Hound Cafe, where tired festival goers relaxed before taking on the Williamscot hill.

Towards the end of Friday night, I found myself drawn into the back garden of The Brasenose Arms pub, where the hard rock guitar riffs and masked appearances of the Sin’ Dogs proved to be a suitable finale to the evening’s entertainment.

The highlights of my Saturday afternoon included a fantastic car boot sale on the village sports field, which was a record collector's haven and a perfect place to pick up some delightful handmade food and jewellery.

The Saucy Hound cafe next to the canal in the village gave visitors a great chance to take a much-needed breather.The Saucy Hound cafe next to the canal in the village gave visitors a great chance to take a much-needed breather.
The Saucy Hound cafe next to the canal in the village gave visitors a great chance to take a much-needed breather.

Another significant highlight and standing memory of this year’s festival was the numerous joy-filled conversations held with merry festival goers on the lanes in and around the village.

It was during those conversations that I was able to grasp the importance of the festival to many of those that attend, often from miles away and even from abroad.

Many of those I met wondering around the village didn’t have tickets for the main festival but were drawn to the village for the general atmosphere and kind reception of the locals, some of whom transform their gardens into spaces for visitors to relax and rehydrate.

So my most valuable lesson and advice I would offer to first-timers to the festival is to take a wander into the village at some point over the weekend to discover the true magic of the celebration.

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