Fair­port Con­ven­tion Cro­predy Con­ven­tion, Ox­ford­shire

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

Classic Rock - - Live! - Jo Kendall

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 jam­tas­tic Reno, Ne­vada com­plete with tra­di­tional dish­cloth knit­ting by Dy­ble. 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.

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