Fairport’s coming! and it’s no longer just a ‘folk’ festival

Fairport Convention's Cropredy Music Festival 2009... GV of stage
Fairport Convention's Cropredy Music Festival 2009... GV of stage

Since its inception in the late 1970s the festival has grown, not just in numbers of attendees, but also in the scope of musicians it now attracts.

Over the years some very famous, not so famous and infamous bands have made 
their way to the Cropredy stage.

In the early days the headlining acts, aside from Fairport Convention themselves, were taken from the wealth of great British folk acts.

Ralph McTell, who returns this year and is most famous for his 1968 release ‘Streets of London’, was an almost permanent fixture up until 1981 and has returned four times, most recently in 2009.

In 1984 electrified folk rock act Steeleye Span headlined the Friday night and were arguably the first crossover artist to appear at the festival. They too return to this year’s festival.

The Bootleg Beatles, who will headline this year’s Friday night, first came to Cropredy in 1990 and marked a turning point, having no ties to folk music at all.

The weirdness dial was turned up in 1993 as Finnish rock group The Leningrad Cowboys headlined. Sporting foot long quiffs with comical boots to match they sing rock songs about vodka, tractors and Genghis Khan, a far cry from ‘Streets of London.’

Up until 2000 when the festival evolved into three days there was a healthy splattering of non-folk bands including Procol Harum, Saw Doctors and Roy Wood.

The extra Thursday night has allowed the festival to spread its wings attracting an eclectic mix of artists including All about Eve, Jools Holland, Status Quo and, memorably, Alice Cooper.

This year the trend continues with ska masters Madness headlining the wonderfully unpredictable Thursday night.

Long may this strange tradition continue.