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It’s that time of year again – when many of the farm fields of Cropredy in Oxfordshire get transformed in to a festival city!.. and many things start arriving….The catering stalls, the gift stalls the brilliant Cropredy Bar, the toilets, the showers, the magical stage, the lighting, the fences, the roadways, the walkway path lights, the generators, and most importantly the love .. and the huge family that are Fairport Conventions loyal fans – generations of them… all convening for what is for most, a yearly pilgrimage to the legendary Fairport Conventions Cropredy Festival.

This years Cropredy Festival falls on the 8-10th August.

But this year it is with great sadness we mourn the loss of Fairport’s drummer Gerry Conway, who sadly passed away after a spell of illness from Moto Neurone disease in March. Gerry served as Fairport’s drummer from 1998 until 2022. A man that I became to know from my very limited occasions of meeting and interviewing him to be a kind wonderful, gentle warm hearted beautiful soul and exceptional musician.

Our thoughts, love and condolences are with his partner Jacqui and his family from all of us at the team.

Cropredy 2024 – spanning the generations..

This year especially reminds us of the multi generational ethos of the festival with the amazing Rick Wakeman, playing his Journey to the centre of the earth album live. This year he will be joined by his son Adam Wakeman another hugely talented and successful musician, on stage playing keyboards alongside his father for this very special performance.

In addition and again in line with the generations of great musicians, Rick Wakeman will also be joined by the brilliant bass player Mr Matthew Pegg – son of none other than Mr Dave Pegg. Matthew is a hugely talented bass player just like his father. Who despite his father Dave Pegg telling me in our latest interview (below) that he tried to encourage Matthew to become a dentist or something similar!! he ignored his fathers advice and has forged a brilliant successful career in the music industry playing with many bands including The City Funk Orchestra and Jethro Tull to name just two often stepping in to deputize on bass for Dave Pegg when he has been injured!

So the generations roll on in that living tradition that now spreads across multiple generations of the band itself as well as their friends, musical acquaintances and the families of the Fairport fans who flock to this magical festival – where the Fairport’s song ‘Meet on the ledge’ so perfectly captures ‘It all comes round again’ really rings true for this years Cropredy festival.

From a personal point of view I like I’m sure thousands of others will be joined this year by my two daughters, who grew up coming to the Cropredy Festival and are now bringing their children… so the generations keep rolling on!

So…the line up.  So who can you see????

Fairport have have done it again!…what a fantastic line up for this year – and tickets are selling fast so ‘If you snooze you loose’ as they say so – visit to buy your tickets asap!

Other ‘generational legends’ performing this year are the brilliant time spanning entertainer Tony Christie.

You can hear me talking to Tony Christie about his appearance at the festival and other life matters including speed awareness courses! in my Pre – Cropredy Chat with Tony Christie here….

Also continuing Fairport’s constant commitment to championing new young bands at the festival there are several younger bands on the bill…among others a fiery, energetic  and extremely talented band of Blues Rockers from my neck of the woods (Medway Towns in Kent)

The Zack Shultze Gang

Hear my pre Cropredy chat with Zack Schultze here..

Another catalogue of generational hits from the 80’s 90’s  and beyond…will be played by the Brilliant Trevor Horn band!

If you have never been to the Cropredy Festival  I can’t express what a special friendly, safe and comfortable  festival this is, and always has an eclectic mix of music to suit all tastes, that Dave, Simon, Rick, Chris and Gareth the festival Manager / Director always bring. This is not just a folk or folk rock festival but a music festival that never ceases to amaze with its huge variety of music.

I only have to mention some of the past acts that have performed here over the years to give you an idea, past performances include The Buzzcocks, The levellers, The Proclaimers, The Water Boys, Petula Clarke,  Madness, Toyah and Robert Fripp, Alice Cooper , Beach Boys, Level 42, Mark King, Marilion, Robert Plant, Solstice, Nile Rogers..  to name but a few and always topped off with stunning performances  on Saturday night from those boys them selves Fairport Convention.

Cropredy will always surprise you, but never disappoint you !!!

So get those tickets booked August 8-10th

The crew will also be there bringing you the vibe and the magical atmosphere of the festival via our social media and any further back stage interviews with artists and bands I can bring you…

See you in that magical field…. 8th  – 10th August

Paul Johnson

SIMON CARE AND GARETH TURNER – Two’s Up Two (Talking Elephant TECD478)

Two's Up TwoWay, way back in 1997 two bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young melodeon players got together to record an album, Two’s Up. Distinguished careers intervened and it wasn’t until 2022 that Simon Care and Gareth Turner got together to record a follow up. By this time Gareth was seriously ill but he got through the sessions – just in time as it turned out. The two records have now been brought together as Two’s Up Two.

The original set saw support from Nick Quarmby on bass, percussion and bodhran from Steve Crickett and Garrick Nelson with Phil Beer producing and providing all the other instruments. The support musicians are used sparingly but when they are it is to great effect. The original set opens with Gareth’s ‘Streetfayre’, a solid tune heavy on the bass end of the bellows. My choice would have been with a set with a bit more fizz which is provided by a pair of jigs from Simon.

Having made their opening statements the duo start to have some fun. First a set of Morris tunes then ‘Les Mystere Des Box Vulgaire’ – you had to be around in 1997 to get the joke. Simon wrote ‘Loose Hornpipe/Mosquito Coast’ and Gareth composed ‘Rocky Road To Pitsford’, a real finger-tangler of a tune with bodhran as a possible clue to its inspiration. ‘The Diggle Stagger’ is a marvellous medley of traditional tunes beginning with ‘Swallowtails’. I lost count shortly after that although ‘Brighton Camp’ is in there, too. Gareth takes over now with three of the last four sets being down to him including another jokey title, ‘Boeuf Français Gumbo’.

The second disc follows a similar pattern although there are a few borrowed tunes this time around. They settle in with ‘Princess Royal’ which both of them must have played dozens of times. There is a nice staccato bit at the end to bring a smile. The supporters are Nick Ellison on fiddle, Tim Walker on percussion and brass, and the multi-talented Guy Fletcher and Phil Beer. Look them up to see how they all fit into the picture.

The first borrowed set begins with ‘Brilliant Pebbles’ by EII’s Rees Wesson and I learned that Brilliant Pebbles was an early (or perhaps official) name for the Star Wars initiative. It’s grouped here with ‘Mampy Moose’ and ‘Barroom Brawl’, mercifully without its lyrics. Then it’s back to the tradition for ‘Bonnets So Blue/Upton On Severn’, the trad sounding Care/Turner composition, ‘The Gaslight March’ and ‘Webley Twizzle/Highland Mary’, the former being from Bampton. Phil Beer contributed ‘Thomas’ Morris’ and ‘Chasing The Jack’ to the next set which is led off by Gareth’s ‘Goldrush’ and then it’s off into ‘Border Morris Medley’.

Gareth again gets the last word with ‘Battle Before Bedtime/A Reel For Kelly’ – no prizes for guessing the inspiration for those two tunes – and ‘Eliza’s Waltz’ which is preceded by Luke Thomasson’s ‘Midnight On The Water’.

Listening to the two discs back-to-back it’s easy to hear the advances in recording technology over the past two decades and also the evolution of the music of the music over the same period, particularly Tim Walker’s contributions on brass for which Brass Monkey had opened the door. Time simply disappears when listening to part two. Proceeds from the sale of Two’s Up Two will go to the Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton and the album is released on June 21st.

Dai Jeffries

Label website:

A blast from the past – ‘Princess Royal’ live at Moulton: