Sunday, August 05, 2007
The only music festival that matters
"Some will arrive by brightly painted narrowboat along the canal, others by vintage Morris Minor, maybe even a few by SUV, but they would be frowned upon. They will converge for a historic edition of the only music festival that matters. Never mind Glastonbury or Download, this is the gathering of a tribe around not so much a band as an ancestry, the national treasure called Fairport Convention.
Next weekend, at its annual bash at Cropredy, Oxfordshire, Fairport, the inventors of 'folk rock', will host their 40th-anniversary party, a celebration of four uninterrupted decades of music of enduring quality, played through an inimitable narrative, all washed down with hectolitres of wholesome ale.
The only institutional comparisons are with the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, the difference being that the Dead failed to hold together after Jerry Garcia died, and, unlike the Stones, Fairport leave their concerts crammed into an old minivan, having chatted with fans over a few pints. 'You could say the Stones have played a hundredth of the gigs for ten thousand times the dosh,' says Dave Pegg, Fairport bassman since 1970".
The extract above is from a feature by Ed Vulliamy in today's Observer. And interestingly, in view of a recent post here, he goes on to say:
"In 1978, Fairport lost (Sandy) Denny, not to another band or solo album, but forever. 'If we ever seriously tried to split up, it was then,' recalls Pegg. 'Because Sandy's death was too much to bear and because - nearly 30 years ago! - we were told by Vertigo Records we were too old to play. The biggest money we had ever made was when Vertigo gave us £7,000 each to not make the four albums we were contracted to record but which they did not want.'"
Now read about Dead '72.
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