It all comes around again ...

(August 13, 2013)

Much like inevitability of sunrise and sunset, it does all comes round again. And at the tail end of yet another unbelievable Cropredy weekend the communal singing of ‘Meet On The Ledge’ accurately captures what Fairport Convention have created. Good music, good times and good company. There’s an atmosphere that Cropredy exudes that is hard to encapsulate in words and, I would hazard to say, even harder to replicate, with the exception of responding to Simon’s annual question: “Same time next year?” 

For the last twenty-something years I’ve wandered around the arena field, along the canal towpath and through the village encountering a rich variety of ‘folky humanity’. I’ve taken in the slightly left of centre fashion sense - plethora of hats, colourful trousers, sarongs and footwear. I’ve marvelled at the variety of food and quantity of beer. I’ve listened to outstanding music played with passion and devotion. I’ve regularly experience a perennial breaking down of boundaries and universal friendly acceptance. And experienced that unique Cropredy ambiance – and it’s been immense.

Something does always intrigue me though. What happens when that incarnation of friendly acceptance when the festival ends? Does it remain, fade slowly or vanish instantly? Naturally, there are those free spirits that maintain the lifestyle all year long, equally there are those that try to retain some of the essence we enjoyed, perhaps albeit briefly, until next year.

The again, there are those who ‘dump the lifestyle’ the second they throw their ‘festival clothes’ into the car. Be they lawyers, accountants, bankers, estate agents (please add your own pet hates to the list) the second they turn the ignition key they revert to their arrogant, selfish, intolerant selves. I know. I’ve witnessed the transformation.

They no longer consider themselves ‘children of the sun’ they become ‘fuck you hippies, I’m desperate to return to the comfort of my house’. They push into the queue leaving the car park and then block anyone from taking their turn to join the line as they lurch their shiny brand new Mercedes (or whatever) within a millimetre of the car in front. Once free of the field they accelerate away at stupid speeds only to stop in a line at the next junction and so on until the motorway. And once they reach the M40, the Mercedes (in the wrong lane at the roundabout) goes into hyperdrive and they’re gone.

Would that such folk could hold on to the Cropredy ambiance for a few minutes more. Never mind, perhaps they’ll come back - “Same time next year” - and relax once more for three days. Just be careful you’re not in the ‘breakfast in a bun’ queue at the same time next year. Then again, without the fortress of the flashy car and ego-boosting big desk he’s probably unlikely to say ‘boo’ to the proverbial goose.

“Same time next year?” Me? Absolutely!

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