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Author Topic: What the Merry Hell?  (Read 726 times)
StephenB
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« on: August 13, 2019, 01:28:58 AM »

I know this question has been asked several times in the past. As is my usual tradition on Sunday I take it all nice and leisurely, amble down to the lovely people at the school for breakfast, then back to the tent to pack the tent etc, drive out of the field, park up and walk into the village to chill at the Brasenose for an hour or so before heading home. I was delighted to find that Merry Hell were just starting up, as I'd heard nothing but good about them but never heard them. They played a blinding set. in the middle of which came a couple of torrential and extended rain showers.  They had many of the audience dancing openly in the pouring rain, and as a mark of solidarity two of them got down during the last number and danced with the audience in the pouring rain.

They are the perfect Cropredy Friday or Saturday afternoon good-time band, and the thorny question remains, how have they played the fringe successfully for so many years but never had a place at the main gig? Have they offended someone along the way? All I know is they were the perfect end to my festival and sent me driving away with a smile onbmy face despite my newly re-damped clothes.

So what the Merry Hell is going on? Anyone know?
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davidmjs
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 07:53:05 AM »

I'll give the same answer I always give...their very strident politics which is (sadly) at odds with many of the Cropredy faithful.  But what do I know?
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PaulT
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 08:03:44 AM »

I reckon t it's not politics, just a case of musical genre. Most people who like electricfolkrock and go to Cropredy would go anyway, mainly to see Fairport. With all due respect to Merry Hell, who btw I think are excellent, how many additional ticket sales would their inclusion generate? Especially if compared against a "big name"...
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davidmjs
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 08:17:17 AM »


I reckon t it's not politics, just a case of musical genre. Most people who like electricfolkrock and go to Cropredy would go anyway, mainly to see Fairport. With all due respect to Merry Hell, who btw I think are excellent, how many additional ticket sales would their inclusion generate? Especially if compared against a "big name"...


I think there's more to it than that, Paul.  It's a bit like the 'reformed' Albion Band in their 2 or 3 year history.  How have they not played?!  It's not about them bringing people to the festival, most of the bands playing don't do that specifically...it's only really the prestige Headline bands who add crowd members, and MH obviously aren't in that category...
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iandiddams
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 08:28:01 AM »


I reckon t it's not politics, just a case of musical genre. Most people who like electricfolkrock and go to Cropredy would go anyway, mainly to see Fairport. With all due respect to Merry Hell, who btw I think are excellent, how many additional ticket sales would their inclusion generate? Especially if compared against a "big name"...


maybe - but it seems not many people had heard of Frank Turner before, and who on earth were the Pierce Brothers?

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David W
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 09:08:30 AM »

Interesting how the "blame" is placed on the organisers - maybe Merry Hell don't fancy a mainstage gig?

I wonder what the financials are - gig money at Basenose vs CD money for mainstage maybe?

Just posing the question as I don't know the answer.

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Bridgwit (Bridget)
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 09:13:02 AM »

I don't think politics would make any difference to the organisers - and hopefully not the band - but whatever the reason we can only speculate - none of us actually knows without asking!
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GubGub (Al)
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 09:20:20 AM »


I'll give the same answer I always give...their very strident politics which is (sadly) at odds with many of the Cropredy faithful.  But what do I know?


Having seen Merry Hell many,many times and being a huge fan, I don't think this can be it. They are no more stridently political than many acts who have graced the Cropredy stage repeatedly such as Oysterband, Frank Turner and even Show of Hands and considerably less so than The Levellers to name but four. Their stage persona is humanist, compassionate and inclusive rather than openly party political. Their personal politics may be on the left but they do not preach them from the stage. They also clearly revere Fairport & Cropredy. Swarb made one of his last recordings on one of their albums. Jude has recorded with them on the charity single Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Ric played with their fiddle player, Neil and Vo Fletcher before their set at the Brasenose on Sunday. The connections are there.

I can only suspect that they are perceived as slightly too provincial, their activities mostly being confined to the north of England with the exception of festival performances but they now seem to be making increasing forays south. Clearly they will not be everybody's cup of tea. Who is? But at every festival where I have seen them perform they make massive amounts of new fans and friends. And they are lovely, friendly, approachable people.
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GubGub (Al)
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 09:21:14 AM »


Interesting how the "blame" is placed on the organisers - maybe Merry Hell don't fancy a mainstage gig?



They definitely do.
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StephenB
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 10:13:00 AM »

I don't think their politics are any more heavy than Digance's (though swinging the other direction). Too regional ? I certainly don't buy that one (Tidelines, Tors....).;
Not a major draw? Well not as a headliner, but neither are most acts on the bill. I do think they'd swing a wavering decision for a lot of Cropredy regulars, though.
They don't want to do it? Of course we don't know without asking them, but i think that's highly unlikely given their obvious love of Cropredy in general.
So thanks for all the answers - I  think they show it's still an unanswered mystery...
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Nick Reg
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 04:25:19 PM »

They would absolutely love to play the mainstage and financials don't come anywhere near it. I had to miss the Brasenose gig and even got a message saying sorry we didn't see you (and see you at Shrewsbury). There is nobody I'd rather see at any festival.
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Tony Pim
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 06:10:26 PM »

They deserve to be on the main stage. Fingers crossed for next year.  Missed the Brasenose  this year but  Merry Helloween awaits
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abby (tank girl)
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 06:25:12 PM »


I don't think their politics are any more heavy than Digance's (though swinging the other direction). Too regional ? I certainly don't buy that one (Tidelines, Tors....).;
Not a major draw? Well not as a headliner, but neither are most acts on the bill. I do think they'd swing a wavering decision for a lot of Cropredy regulars, though.
They don't want to do it? Of course we don't know without asking them, but i think that's highly unlikely given their obvious love of Cropredy in general.
So thanks for all the answers - I  think they show it's still an unanswered mystery...


i don't think politics are a factor in bookings for this festival.

*festival politics* are another thing though.
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Nick Reg
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2019, 06:29:38 PM »


I reckon t it's not politics, just a case of musical genre. Most people who like electricfolkrock and go to Cropredy would go anyway, mainly to see Fairport. With all due respect to Merry Hell, who btw I think are excellent, how many additional ticket sales would their inclusion generate? Especially if compared against a "big name"...


Its all very well to have a big name and bring in their fans for one year only, but you cannot ignore your core audience either or they will dwindle away.
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Dubai Danny
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2019, 08:24:14 PM »

FWIW, Merry Hell would definitely tip the balance for us if we were wavering. Never seen them live due to them rarely, if ever, coming far enough south.

And as said, they are absolutely no more political than the likes of Oysterband.

If memory serves, though, I did read a cryptic comment a while back that suggested the reason they'd not yet appeared at Cropredy was more than just "not got round to asking them yet".
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Nick Reg
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2019, 10:43:03 AM »


FWIW, Merry Hell would definitely tip the balance for us if we were wavering. Never seen them live due to them rarely, if ever, coming far enough south.

And as said, they are absolutely no more political than the likes of Oysterband.

If memory serves, though, I did read a cryptic comment a while back that suggested the reason they'd not yet appeared at Cropredy was more than just "not got round to asking them yet".


They are venturing south more often now as popularity grows.
I have been told by someone close to the band that they "are on the list" whatever that means. Or perhaps it was just to shut me up.  Grin Nothing concrete yet.
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