Overall, wonderful experience. Fun to watch the Brits let their hair down. Much of that hair was grey and thinning but the younger generations were represented as well. In fact, we met a 31 year old guy who has been at 29 Cropredy Festivals!
Musically there was diversity. Fairport Convention get labeled Folk Rock which is a term not in much use in the States as far as I know. (Open to corrections, though; so many years with my favorite Brit makes me not impartial.). But stylistically, there was traditional folk, rockabilly, pop, rock, psychedelic rock, and even a small amount of clogging and break dancing.
A few months ago, I asked Andrew to put together a play list with some of the unknown to us acts, so we had been exposed to Hayseed Dixie’s “Poop in a Jar” as well as the frenetic energy of the French band Babylon Circus and Rick Wakeman’s son’s band, Headspace. But there was quite a lot of new to us stuff which we enjoyed.
Three very full days of performances were held on one stage. The mechanics of stage management were virtually flawless – I guess 49 years of producing such an event pay off! Drum sets were rolled on/ off stage completely ready to go. Enough time between acts happened that a few times the performers were standing about on stage ready to go and waiting for their set ‘curtain’ time (no curtains).
The crowd numbered around 17,000. I saw no one get belligerent, heard no fights, saw only a small smattering of over-indulgence. Unlike American crowds, no one was hawking stuff. Plenty of stands to buy clothes (very hippie styles), food, a bar, gifts, even a portable “Charity Shop” (thrift store.)
People were allowed to bring in their own food and drink and no one checked for bottles, etc. Even the portapotties were nice!
Okay, doing this the way Andrew says juggling conventions get reviewed (with my own spin).
Highs: Ralph McTell, The Pierce Brothers, Maia, Steeleye Span
Lows: Headspace, Babylon Circus (too LOUD!), wending between chairs to go to the Loo, or buy food/ drink.
Surprise: Richard Digance, Fairport not playing “Jewel In the Crown”
Crush: The Pierce Brothers – very high energy Aussie duo (identical twins) with percussion and guitar.
Bane: The one family we kept sitting near where the adults kept smoking around their children (but to be fair, there was very good camaraderie amongst them.)