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Cropredy's big bash

Ukranian gypsy punk band among acts set to wow Fairport's annual festival

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

The Waterboys

Picture: Xavie Mercade

THEY’VE been described as one of the best bands you’ve (probably) never heard of… and Gogol Bordello are set to wow the crowds at this year’s Cropredy Festival, writes John Garvey.

The wild Ukrainian band’s blend of ‘gypsy punk’ and multi-instrumental genius, presided over by charismatic frontman Eugene Hutz, has been packing out venues across Britain and Europe with their spectacular high-octane live show.They support Thursday night headliners The Waterboys, riding high on rave reviews of their 13th album Where the Action is.Other treats in store include Seth Lakeman, Canterbury scene prog rockers Caravan and the Martin Barre Band – “playing 50 years of Jethro Tull”. The festival itself – the annual Fairport Cropredy Convention from August 8 to 10 – is a little gem, held in the picture-postcard quaint village of Cropredy near Banbury – around one hour’s drive from Newbury. It belongs to folk-rockers Fairport Convention, who traditionally open the proceedings with an acoustic set and close the final Saturday night festivities with a three-hour marathon. And if you don’t have a lump in your throat when the crowd sings along with the traditional set-closer Meet on the Ledge, then you either have a heart of stone or you’re probably dead. The event is set amid rolling fields; the atmosphere is always laid back and friendly and children are very well catered for with lots of entertainment including storytelling, arts and crafts and music making.
Bring an instrument, if you have one, for impromptu jams in the campsite. And if the music on the main stage isn’t to your taste, the two local pubs provide quality, free live music as part of the ‘Cropredy Fringe.’Even the villagers love it and get in on the act by offering Thai food and breakfasts. Showers are provided and, all in all, it’s just about the most chilled, friendly and delightful festival weekend you could imagine.

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