every year the Cropredy Fringe seems to grow in confidence.

Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2010 Review

published: Tue 24th Aug 2010

around the festival site (4)

Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th August 2010
Cropredy, nr. Banbury, Oxfordshire., OX17 1OO, England MAP
£85 for the weekend; camping £30; kids under 12 go free
last updated: Tue 10th Aug 2010

A few years back the two village pubs would put on a couple of bands over the Fairport weekend in an attempt to entice some of the Fairporters to spend some time and money away from the main field. Since then the fringe has come of age and is now a recognisable part of the festival on its own account, with each pub hosting a dozen or more bands covering a wide range of musical tastes. To cater for the crowds it attracts, the Brasenose now uses a curtain-sided trailer as a stage at the back of the large pub garden.

around the festival site (1)
Fringe shopping is another area where itinerant retail opportunities range from the weird to the very weird. For example, this year as well as buying the usual 'skull on a stick' things and some amazing wigs, for a few nuggets you could sit beside a huge fishtank and have the hungry little critters nibble at your toes - supposed to be good for your feet. Didn't fancy it myself - they looked a bit sneaky and I reckoned if they ganged up on you they might have yer whole leg off before you could shout salt and vinegar.

Actually, finger food is another surprisingly good feature of the fringe. Whilst meandering from the canal bridge to the Red Lion, I discovered an imprompu thai takeaway outside one of the cottages serving a limited, but utterly delicious range of curries, spring rolls etc. A little further down the lane were homemade buffalo ice creams and so on. Beers-wise a visit to the cricket pavillion is a must. A micro beer festival is held by the club over the weekend and they serve the cheapest and best beer of the festival - far better than the stuff that comes out of the trillion pint tankers on the main field.

Sadly this year our changing climate was not kind to the festival and it often felt more like a monsoon than an English Summer weekend. Everyone was terribly British about the whole thing and we all kept calm and carried on often in the pouring rain. Bands that particularly stood out for me were old local favourite R&B covers band Spank The Monkey, who are always a bagful of fun and Leatherat (who made their main stage debut this year) with their often saucy set of punky-folk. King King were highly watchable with a brilliant set of rolling blues and the hard working Blue Meanies played to a very happy crowd for well over 2 hours at the Red Lion. I had been looking forward to seeing Ashley Hutchings' Rainbow Chasers at the Brase, but was disappointed when they were swapped for a Blair Dunlop solo gig at the last minute. Nice guitar and voice but not quite Ashley Hutchins (who appeared later it seems).

Can the fringe continue to grow or has it has now reached its natural limit ? I guess there might be a few more street entertainers in future years, but to grow much more, the pubs would have to pool resources, hire a separate field and really go for it, tickets and all, so perhaps it's better just as it is - an exciting, free alternative to the main arena. Now, where's my skull on a stick thing...?

around the festival site (4)
review by: Geoff Browne

photos by: James Creaser

Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th August 2010
Cropredy, nr. Banbury, Oxfordshire., OX17 1OO, England MAP
£85 for the weekend; camping £30; kids under 12 go free
last updated: Tue 10th Aug 2010


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