It may be a fairly typical-sounding Sunday afternoon lull in proceedings, but
it's been a pretty hectic weekend up until now, having only just this morning
got back from being at Cropredy since Thursday evening. I took Thursday off
work, which left me plenty of time to get stuff ready, and I arrived at the
festival site soon after four in the afternoon, I think.
Signs reading "floods", "diversion", "no camping with cars" and so on were an
unwelcome sight, however, although the latter turned out to be a bit of a false
alarm, although the field in use was about as far from the arena as was
topologically and geographically possible, and had minimal facilities
considering it was home to the bulk of the Thursday night campers. I got
pitched up anyway, and had a short look around to see if I could find anyone I
knew, and failed - other than tracking down the slightly reduced Franciscan
contingent, who are always very friendly and welcoming. On the Saturday
morning, I found a couple of people I met last year, though the great thing
about Cropredy is just how friendly everyone is, so I had no trouble making new
friends as the weekend went on.
Thankfully by the time the show started at Friday lunchtime, the path from the
camping field down to the arena had been opened up, shortening a half hour trek
to a ten minute stroll, and I got to the arena just in time to hear Blazing
Homesteads, the band with the dubious privilege of opening the festival, and
really nothing very special. Pick of the first day were probably Pentangle and
Richard Thompson, although Barrage who I missed due to returning inclement
weather - and having been asked if I could accompany a few people back to their
tents - I gather were very good. Dave Swarbrick made a most welcome short
appearance after his recent demise, but was generally upstaged by his
performing partner and spent a good part of his set on bottled oxygen.
With everything looking very damp by the close of things and not having had my
most comfortable or quiet - I must get some earplugs, for festival use -
night's sleep the previous night, I thought I'd try out the passenger seat in
my car. It was not too bad, though it only really suited me sleeping on my
back, which wasn't ideal, so I didn't try that again, but it's worth knowing
fo emergencies. At least I got a fairly good night's sleep from it though, and
had been completely oblivious to the noise that others were grumbling about in
Saturday opened with Barrage again, but thanks to the path having been closed
off again due to the overnight rain, I missed most of their set due to having
to take the long route round, but what I heard of them sounded pretty good.
Pick of the bunch for Saturday for me were Maddy Prior, Robbie McIntosh and
their respective bands, although Maddy's raven infatuation got a little wearing
after a while. Fairport Convention themselves were predictably good, but
although they always headline on the Saturday and essentially hold the festival
together, people don't really go to hear them, because there are few surprises.
Their guests made it special though - after a bit of a fallow year last year,
with no real treats - with guest appearances especially welcome from Jerry
Donahue, Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick.
Apart from a sharp and thundery shower mid-afternoon, the rain on Saturday
largely held off, though conditions underfoot remained somewhere between
revolting and disgusting. It was announced at one point that it was officially
the worst weather the festival had ever had, though it had to be said that it
was nowhere near enough to really spoil proceedings and the organisers had done
a sterling - if very difficult - job of keeping things going, safe and clean,
especially given that it had been a pretty lousy week throughout.
All told though, I was quite relieved to get away this morning; two eleven-hour
days of non-stop music really is quite draining, and the weather didn't help in
many ways, though overall it was still great and I'm glad I went again. So,
like my neighbour on the site, I decided I'd either get away early or late,
either way hopefully avoiding the rush. Things seemed generally very quiet
when I packed up and left a bit after eight this morning, and I had no problem
getting out of the site, even if I did have to drive through some pretty yucky
mud in places to do so.
Another bonus of leaving early was to be able to get back to Milton Keynes in
time for the Sunday morning meeting, which I duly did, via a hot bath and an
overdue shave. This afternoon the picnics will be resuming, weather
permitting, which should wrap things up nicely for the weekend. Quite what
Zoe's up to this weekend I'm not sure, but I'll catch up with her later no
doubt - normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, fret not, folks...