Monday, 11 August 2014

Cropredy Festival, Mischa Macpherson and transcendental interstices, + excellent breakfast at the village hall.

Health warning: this one's about music, and is no less opinionated than usual... Ed.)

 Back from Cropredy, Fairport Convention's annual bash, bigger and in some ways better some ways not, than ever. Here's the bill of fare:

Much more to a festival than the line-up, of course. I'm not sure how many more years I'll be able to get alternately roasted and soaked. I look with envy at festivals that have huge marquees...but you can't get 20,000 people in one marquee, and there is a togertheness about Cropredy which is very special. (Apart from people who can't hold their drink and don't care about the music or the people round them; not so many of those, but enough, down the front at least. Those people are not together in any sense.)

Then there's the toilets (above festival par, but par isn't all that high) and the food stalls, with plenty of good stuff, some of which continues to contest the territory with the ageing system long after it's been paid for and consumed. See toilet comments. But nice showers - with huge queues.

It was a sell-out year - which is lovely in many ways, but crowdwise, a bit much at peak times.

(stop bloody grumbling and get to the music - Ed.)

Someone wrote somewhere (and that's the standard of your underpinning references? - Ed.) that we look for transcendental moments in the interstices of a song.  Between lyrics and intrumental patterning, musical form and expression, we find something difficult to describe but which feels "right," like coming home, like being entirely here and now.

When the Australian Pink Floyd tribute band (yes, tribute band - don't sneer till you've seen them and then you can try sneering) launched their set with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," full-length, I had such moments. I'm no Floydhead, mostly missed them first time around, but this was very beautiful music. I was - sent, as people used to say. Where, I don't know. That's the point.

But for me the best music was from some of Cara Dillon's set, much of Capercaille's, and all of the Mischa Macpherson Trio's set.

Mischa who?

Go here: 

or better still, try to catch them live. She has a lovely natural stage presence, they all play superbly, they are all very young, given the standard of their prowess.

They are from the Hebrides/Western Highlands, I believe, source of many a lovely voice. There were moments (OK, interstices, if you like) when the instruments shifted a little under the voice, and though I have not a word of the Gaelic, IT happened. 

So Cropredy '14 was billed as a prog rock-ish, Chas and Dave sort of festival, but for me the timeless/present moment moments were either Scots or Irish (Cara D.) Coincidental, perhaps.

Chas and Dave? Huge fun, loved 'em.

Huge self-important guitar-screaming prog rock? Gertcha!

And Fairport were Fairport, bless 'em endlessly. What is more heart-lifting than to hear them swing into "Walk A-While" and think "well, they're still doing it and I'm still here, so all is well for a while at least."

 Thanks, lads. Look after yourselves and keep doing it!


  1. Just want to like this post - there is such a deep in pleasure in things that remain. I'm off to listen to Mischa.

  2. Pleased you liked it Vale - no like buttons on Blogger I guess, but the pleasure of words instead. Mischa's webpage has a couple of downloadable free tracks, to give you the flavour.