The Dylan Project at Cropredy - by PJ!
Our house, standing in the fictional village of Nether Bagwash, is only 11 miles from Cropredy (pronounced Croperdy, to rhyme with chiropody) and consequently we become very popular at the beginning of each August; this year’s guests were already installed when I wandered down to the field on Wednesday for a soundcheck!! This is one of the fringe benefits of being a Fairport offshoot – no mere 8 minute line check, where every instrument cable is waggled and each mic tapped and shouted down twice only before you’re on and Hello eighteen thousand people, I hope it sounds OK. No, a proper soundcheck-at-length for Fairport with guests, so it only needed Steve to transform the personnel into the Proj; et, voila!
I can’t itemise all the bands (pretty sensational programme this year – I enjoyed every one!) or write proper a day-by-day BLOG, I think they call it, due to the influence of beery substances in the afternoons and occasional premature departures due to dog-sitting arrangements in the evening. But I recall enjoying the Dylan Project’s set enormously – playing outdoors is always a joy, sound-wise – and we received a stream of very favourable feedback from the audience throughout the rest of fest.
I made an executive decision to pass on Jack Westwood’s Burns Supper – a new Cropredy tradition, but one that uses a loose and very liquid definition of the word “supper.” I witnessed the aftermath, notably Gareth Turner, squeezeboxist with Little Johnny England, firmly in the category of walking wounded. Well, more sort of perambulating pissed.
Fairport’s almost 3 hours was terrific (but then I am a fan), especially the Festival Bell material and JB Lee. I just loved going up onto their stage and adding my two penn’orth – I hardly played any bum notes, for which I am eternally grateful (well, three or four maybe) – and the sight of all those faces out there, completely filling the whole picture (apart from the sky at the top!) beyond the stage frame will stay with me a long while. Then, like every year, Meet on the Ledge causes a moment of reflection on life, death, the past twelve months, how Summer 2011 is now firmly on the wane – first chilly evenings and all that – what will the coming year bring, and ooh, what a great song that RT wrote while still in his teens – all this while actually playing the electric guitar, folks: and then it’s suddenly all over, time for a little drinkie, saying farewell to old friends, swapping contacts with new friends, packing up and heading home. Thank you Fairport Convention for being mostly in the right place at the right time down the years. An accident of history perhaps, but twenty-odd thousand people set their annual clocks by it every second-weekend-in-August; long may it continue.
I’ll see the rest of the Proj from time to time – a couple of gigs with Steve & Phil coming up and Peggy & I are out again in November for “Yet Another Night Off With…” (see: www.fairportconvention.com) - but without wishing my time away (not too much left now: Ed), roll on December and our own dear Dylan Project’s lovely Winter Tour – hope to see you all by the bar at some point….. PJ