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The Rock-itt : April 2010
Last month we were in New York having a really good time. On arriving for our departure out of New York's JFK Airport we were a little alarmed at Virgin Atlantic's security screening. Instead of depositing our bags at the check in desk we were told to put them at the end of a long line of bags that would be screened after we had gone off into the departure lounge. In effect these were bags left in an insecure area and really any evil doer could have slipped something into our bags without us noticing. I complained to Virgin security but they really weren't interested. We boarded our flight on time but alas spent three hours on the tarmac without air-con waiting for a takeoff slot. At least in meant our overnight flight landed a little later than sparrow fart at London Heathrow next morning! So, back in London, another hire car, this time a Peugeot 309, quite good but not as good as the VW Golf. We had only five days before wewereduetoflybacktoOzandI had heaps more to pack in. Milcombe in Oxfordshire, if only it had a hill. Milcombe Hill! Geddit?? My very good chum and famous Bass player Danny Thompson was to be Compere for Fairport Conventions Annual Festival at Cropredy in Oxfordshire and bless him if he hadn't got me a free ticket for the duration. Cropredy is just outside Banbury in the bucolic Oxfordshire countryside. On my way there I came across the village of Milcombe, not quite the same spelling as my name but near enough for a picture! Cropredy is Fairports 'Super Scheme' and has been going since 1976 so they should be quite comfortable in their old age! It's definitely not just a gig for old folkies; I was there to see old chums and to take in the delights of The Buzzcocks, Richard Thompson and headliner Steve Winwood amongst Danny Thompson in the Compere's caravan at Cropredy, his lovely Mrs., Sylv in the doorway many others. It is a very homely festival; dogs seem to be very welcome amongst the roughly 20,000 attendees. Lots of family groups from babies to Grannies, a more mature audience than many festivals. The Buzzcocks take the stage at Cropredy 2009 Famous brewers Wadsworths have the bar franchise and their superb real ales are sold in top class form Alas if you are going to drink good beer in a field in Oxfordshire you are going to have to pay, I bought the most expensive pint on the English trip here which on current exchange rates was about $6, relatively cheap given what we pay here! Richard Thompson, no finer guitarist in the World! The Festival is spread out over three days and the on the first nights bill were The Buzzcocks, I'm afraid punk done by old blokes didn't work formebutasusualIwasinthe minority and the audience loved it. Headliner after The Buzzcocks was Steve Winwood who I hadn't seen live since 1966 when I was privileged to see him playing in The Spencer Davis Group at The Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester! His obvious talent back then has served him well; he's had a stellar career and is still an incredible performer on stage. His voice is still unique and a shining example of how it should be done. I loved his set, his band was excellent and there was a great mix of old and some very good new material. Only months before he had performed at Madison Square Gardens with Eric Clapton and here was I watching him in a field in Oxfordshire! The second night I got to have a chat with one of my heroes. I used to work for EMI Music and Richard Thompson was signed to Capitol, our American label. I had been a fan since my early teens so to do promotion work with Richard was a complete joy for me. We chatted for about 30 minutes before he went up and did a blistering solo set. During Richard's performance I fell out with the Cropredy crowd. Those hippy friendly family groups morphed into boring drunken loudmouths as the