Cropredy’s most famous export in Sky Arts documentary

Picture: David Jackson
Picture: David Jackson

An in depth look into the formation and continued influence of Cropredy’s Fairport Convention, in celebration of the folk bands 50th anniversary, will be aired later this month.

Titled ‘Fairport Convention: Folk Heroes’, the 70-minute film will be transmitted at 9pm on Saturday, November 25.

Picture: David Jackson

Picture: David Jackson

The film tells how five young musicians in North London formed Fairport Convention during 1967s ‘summer of love’.

The band went on to shake English folk music to its roots by fusing it with rock, an approach which outraged some purists but delighted a new and devoted audience.

In the subsequent five decades, Fairport Convention has attracted widespread critical acclaim, won a coveted BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, and Radio 2 listeners voted Fairport’s ground-breaking album Liege and Lief ‘The Most Influential Folk Album of All Time’.

The documentary has been made by London-based independent producer Special Treats Productions. The company’s are no strangers to music documentarieshaving also produced ‘XTC: This Is Pop’, ‘I’m Not In love: The Story of 10cc’ and the award-winning film ‘UB40: Promises and Lies’.

The film features rare archive interviews and footage as well as newly-filmed interviews with the current Fairport members and former members and collaborators including Ashley Hutchings, Richard Thompson, Iain Matthews, Judy Dyble, Joe Boyd, Ralph McTell, Maddy Prior, Bob Harris, Suggs, Rick Wakeman, Steve Winwood, and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

The film examines Fairport’s first five years in detail, including the tragic motorway crash which killed drummer Martin Lamble.

It details Fairport’s pivotal role in the evolution of British folkrock, how the band fostered major talents such as Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick and spawned other notable bands including Matthews Southern Comfort, Steeleye Span, and Fotheringay.

The story is brought up to date with contemporary material filmed at Fairport’s annual ‘own brand’ music festival held at Cropredy in Oxfordshire.

The closing sequence features this years Fairport Convention festival performance when virtually all the surviving former members joined the current line-up on stage.

Producer and director, Charlie Thomas, said; “Our aim is to explain how important Fairport’s influence has been and continues to be - in other words, why the band matters.

“We have not set out to make a comprehensive, year-by-year history of Fairport; that has been done before.

“The film concentrates on two periods - the first five years and the band today. The result is a celebration of a very British institution and an assertion of Fairport’s continuing relevance.”