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Author Topic: Simon Says....  (Read 29607 times)
bassline (Mike)
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« on: April 23, 2024, 04:33:09 PM »

Just had a message from Simon.
It seems to suggest all is not well regarding Cropredy.
Or am I wrong ?
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2024, 04:52:49 PM »

Tell us more…
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2024, 05:27:36 PM »

A message from Simon
Greetings friends, old, new and/or young,

I’m taking the unusual step of writing to you personally to keep you informed about Cropredy 2024. You’re used to us reminding you about the festival’s progress but this time I’m writing about longer term considerations.

These are very hard times for the UK festival industry. In 2023, thirty-six smaller events were either cancelled or endured financial collapse. We’ve stewarded Cropredy for the thick end of fifty years so we feel the crashing disappointment and pain of our fellow organisers.

So far this year the number of cancellations has already reached thirty-four, some of them a lot bigger than Cropredy. We’ve seen swingeing increases in the costs of staging the festival – everything from infrastructure to artist fees, diesel fuel, lighting, PA, and so on – without compromising health, safety and comfort.

Crucially, our festival has no sponsorship: Cropredy has to pay its own way. The fact is there can never be a ‘bad year’ for Cropredy - anything which isn’t self-supporting could mean the end of the line. Simple as that. Which is where you come in.

How you can help
We want your help to secure the future of Cropredy, an event which means so much to so many.

Whole tribes have been created in these postcodes and many families bring three or even more generations together. Some of our key people were first here as toddlers and have lifelong treasured memories to prove it.

Many of you regular Cropredy-goers will have a neighbour, workmate, cousin or sibling who you’ve regaled with stories of great bands unexpectedly discovered or happy encounters at the bar. They’ve watched you pack for the journey and seen you return - sometimes muddy perhaps but always lifted and recharged by the sense of community of those three days in the field.

Perhaps you’ve told them how great it was this year and how much they’d love it. Perhaps they think they’re too old or it’s ‘not our sort of thing’. But if every couple of you regulars push that little bit harder you might persuade them that this is the year to bite the bullet. In other words, help us by introducing new friends to Cropredy.

Your loyalty to Fairport, to Cropredy, and to our collective community is unmatched; and it’s far and away the achievement I’m proudest to have been part of. So I’m appealing to you personally to do a little recruiting between now and August. Bring a friend; make a friend and bring them!

Of course, some of you reading this may be Cropredy virgins yourselves. So if you haven’t been to our festival I urge you to take the plunge and join us this year. It really is a question of use it or lose it, I’m afraid.

We have an absolutely incredible line-up of acts and they’re all set to blow you away. So don’t miss Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2024 and do what you can to persuade a newbie to share the joy with you.

See you for another amazing weekend, OK? I can’t wait!

 

Love and thanks,

Simon
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2024, 05:29:45 PM »

Concerning… 😥
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2024, 05:37:05 PM »

The issue is as more and more fairport fans slip off the plate/ can no longer attend there need to be more newer attendees.
By booking bands that are mainly only remembered by those who are sixty plus (especially this year) it is totally unsurprising that it’s hard to attract new blood.
If there was a 80s /90s headliner this year it would attract more 50s and under.
I’m 51 and can’t remember the likes of ric wakeman, focus etc , I’d need to be well into my sixties.
It’s not rocket science
1) keep the same vibe
2) as people die off you need to book a few bands that the next 40/50 year olds can remember.
It’s all about getting the balance right.
In the email Simon says that the festival isn’t sponsored….
This year they should have approached saga or age concern.
I fear the damage is done
I as always will attend as I love the festival vibe , but this year I cannot relate to any of the main acts with the exception of fairport who I’ve grown to enjoy

Trevor horn …..again
Ric wakeman
Tony Christie.
Focus

Who in their right mind under 40 could I sell that to?
The replies would be
Trevor horn….who’s he??
Ric wakeman ….. I’ve heard of him , wasn’t he in some band in the sixties
Tony Christie…. Heard of him , what did he sing , road to Amarillo , oh yes , is he still alive he must be 90.
Focus…. Never heard of them

Now I’m in no way knocking any of the artists musical abilities and I’m not being cruel but they would be the answers I’d get.

I hate to be argumentative but most unless folk fans wouldn’t even know who fairport are if they’re under 50.

There in lies the problem
Alice cooper bought in fresh blood as although a 70’s star he did have hits in the 80’s and was a world class act
The waterboys were another 80’s band you could sell to people
Madness I actually got another couple of friends to go due to madness performing , again another 80’s band.

In a nutshell you can’t stuff a three day festival with bands that are from the sixties and expect them to still attract attendees…..
Many who enjoyed them in their prime are now dead.
That’s not harsh , it’s a fact of life

I think the festival is on thin ice down to a bad line up this year (to be fair other years have held their own and I really liked last year) but you live and die by your headline acts and someone’s decided to pack the festival with acts whose hardcore fans have died off rather than putting on at least one act who the main core of middle aged people and families can relate to.

What’s also of interest is the mystery act…
If he/she was going to be a decent act that would attract the fans it would have been announced by now given the begging bowls are out……
If I was organising it I’d be frantically looking around for an act to resonate with the main and future customers (the middle aged) rather than make it a festival for the people who were teenagers in the sixties and remember focus in their prime
I’ve mentioned this coming down the tracks for a few years now and unfortunately you reap what you sow

I hope the 60’s teenagers can get their friends to attend so the festival can continue because asking anyone under 40 to drag anyone along to see this line up would be futile and actually put them off coming in the future.
This is my 17th year and this is the only line up that does nothing for me in all that time
Il be going with friends because we get that it’s more than just the music but selling it to others … tricky
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2024, 06:20:35 PM »


Concerning… 😥


That sums up my thoughts, too.
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2024, 07:00:16 PM »



Concerning… 😥


That sums up my thoughts, too.


Pretty much mine as well.  

I guarantee you that everybody that first went in the 80s (and 90s) will have those festivals as their favourite ones.  Every one since has been the law of diminishing returns.  It's stopped being a Fairport reunion (and their mates) festival and is, sadly, just another festival (with an echo of what it used to be around the village - although now much of that costs too).  

The economics (let's call a spade a spade, it's capitalism) and 'regulation' mean that it would be almost impossible to now return to it being that festival for 5-10k people who virtually all went with one intent - to celebrate the continued existence of Fairport Convention.  Now, they're a bit part in their own festival - and chasing shadows when it comes to trying to create a festival that works for enough people to make it all work.  I stopped a long time ago, but for me, this lineup is (in conclusion) weak.  

Personally, I think the best way of making this one work would have been to announce well in advance that they're taking a year out to reassess.  That way, demand would have been increased for both this year and, if they decided to continue, for 2026 as well.  It's sad, but some things do have their expiry date...and I do wonder if this (once?) wonderful festival might be one of them...
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2024, 07:10:59 PM »

I also feel the main problem this year is the underwhelming lineup.
I will be there because it is Cropredy after all, but if I saw this prog yawnfest at any other festival I would definitely be giving it a wide berth!
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2024, 07:38:08 PM »

The 2024 lineup's not particularly weaker than other years (although maybe a bit soon to have Trevor Horn's band back), however :

1) The main reason I ever went to Cropredy at all was to see a mega-Fairport Convention gig - their celebratory annual concert in front of a massive home crowd, surprises in the setlist, recreating past lineups, special guests, etc. It's undeniably a lovely festival with a very special atmosphere, but the diminishing significance of THE Fairport Saturday night concert has meant my interest has similarly diminished.

2) The cost. The elephant in the room. Now, I appreciate as per Simon's statement the cost of everything has gone up stupidly, but a weekend at Cropredy has become very expensive. It was an essential part of my year when tickets were £45-£75 for the weekend, however at today's prices (currently £245 including 3 day camping) it suddenly becomes a serious luxury item.

If they had the courage to put on a "fire sale" - e.g. as of now, all tickets £100 per person, get the punters in, get it sold out, then I might consider coming. Total fantasy scenario, though...

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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2024, 09:51:48 PM »

I (sadly) agree with all the comments made above. This will be my first Cropredy since 1989 that I’m not attending for the entire festival (bar the year when my daughter was born when I did a pretty knackering day trip). Thursday looks very weak to me, and the extra day off work/cost is something I was really struggling to justify. I also feel that in recent years the Saturday night Fairport set hasn’t really varied much from the Wintour. I love the festival and the band, and Cropredy really is a special place for me that holds a lot of very wonderful memories. Nothing stays the same forever, though…
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2024, 11:41:31 PM »

As relative newcomers, this year marks the 20th anniversary of our first Croppers and is hopefully the last that we'll be camping at. At 68, I do actually remember Rick W. from Strawbs, Yes and Journey to the Centre of the Ice Rink. I also remember the original Focus and being able to sing along to Hocus Pocus when in my mid-teens, wrecking my vocal chords!

We attend / steward 4 festivals in the summer and they've all become less exciting with regard to the acts over the past years. COVID was a major factor in kicking audience numbers down and although lockdown actually introduced several new bands such as the Longest Johns, it seems that there's just very few bands coming along with the right combination of being excellent musicians, not costing a fortune and appealing to a wide age range.

Incidentally, one of the arguments I employed to successfully convince Wadworths to stock diet Coke rather than the full-fat variety a few years ago was that the demographic attending Cropredy meant that fully 40% of the crowd were either already diabetic or on the verge and being careful about sugar consumption.

I was concerned when I first read Simon's note but my reaction was tempered by their having had a very long run, plus they're all, well, pensioners as are most of the crowd. I actually expected when I saw the subject of the email to open it and find this was the last Croppers in its current form, with Fairport headlining. That day must be coming and if not, I think it will peter out in the next few years, which is sad, but almost inevitable.

How many years now have people been saying they don't go for the acts, but to meet all their friends that have survived the year? That isn't a sustainable business model, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2024, 08:52:33 AM by Andy » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2024, 05:29:04 PM »

Another factor could well be the increasing popularity of the fringe festivals. There must be a fair few who go for the cheaper option of the Brasenose or Field 8 whereby they can soak in the Cropredy atmosphere without the expense.
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2024, 05:49:23 PM »

I tend to think ( along with the obvious financial situation) the growth of so many festivals, coinciding with the rise of the ‘insta-culture’ may have an effect. People who subscribe to that way of life, may not find that a festival like Cropredy, which sticks to its loved formula,  fits their need.

Whereas it means the world to those who have been involved for ‘what it is’ and looked forward to it for many years. It’s a bit like a childhood family home…you don’t want to lose it even if you are no longer able to visit very often. But the inevitable will loom  Cry
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2024, 06:24:28 PM »

Only been to the one so I really can't do a deep analysis. But the analysis above is probably very fair, but I wonder if the band would be damned if they went too far in the other direction-only booking acts guaranteed to bring a youth movement in, to get grumbles from people who like their music of a certain vintage. That doesn't apply to the people on this forum I hasten to add. Here is a diverse range of music fans, but using people from my own age bracket as a sampler, most would not be a fan of newer music in general. The new album from an estabilished artist, yes. But a group 2 or 3 albums in...not so sure. I fear the other aspect is that Simon's famous quote about why shouldn't there be a Fairport in 50 or 60 years from now has never happened either, so the steady as she goes approach (much as I like it musically) is not going to shake things up.
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2024, 06:33:51 PM »

From a Fairport fan point of view, I think I'd now prefer a two-day indoor (Union Chapel, 900 capacity? Possibly somewhere a bit bigger - say £120 x 900 is £108k) 'festival' of Fairport and their alumni and mates.  Sell the Cropredy festival and put your feet up on that score - who needs the hassle any more.  If someone else wants to make a go of it, so be it, otherwise let the 'fringe' events have their way in the village.
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2024, 07:08:56 PM »


Only been to the one so I really can't do a deep analysis. But the analysis above is probably very fair, but I wonder if the band would be damned if they went too far in the other direction-only booking acts guaranteed to bring a youth movement in, to get grumbles from people who like their music of a certain vintage. That doesn't apply to the people on this forum I hasten to add. Here is a diverse range of music fans, but using people from my own age bracket as a sampler, most would not be a fan of newer music in general. The new album from an estabilished artist, yes. But a group 2 or 3 albums in...not so sure. I fear the other aspect is that Simon's famous quote about why shouldn't there be a Fairport in 50 or 60 years from now has never happened either, so the steady as she goes approach (much as I like it musically) is not going to shake things up.


The day it tried to adapt to appeal to a very young demographic, it wouldn't be Cropredy any more.
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2024, 08:19:07 PM »



Only been to the one so I really can't do a deep analysis. But the analysis above is probably very fair, but I wonder if the band would be damned if they went too far in the other direction-only booking acts guaranteed to bring a youth movement in, to get grumbles from people who like their music of a certain vintage. That doesn't apply to the people on this forum I hasten to add. Here is a diverse range of music fans, but using people from my own age bracket as a sampler, most would not be a fan of newer music in general. The new album from an estabilished artist, yes. But a group 2 or 3 albums in...not so sure. I fear the other aspect is that Simon's famous quote about why shouldn't there be a Fairport in 50 or 60 years from now has never happened either, so the steady as she goes approach (much as I like it musically) is not going to shake things up.


The day it tried to adapt to appeal to a very young demographic, it wouldn't be Cropredy any more.



It hasn't been Cropredy any more since Chris Pegg was last involved.  Or more accurately - it has been on a constant move away from what it is since that moment...the change of name crystallised that...
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2024, 08:30:12 PM »



Only been to the one so I really can't do a deep analysis. But the analysis above is probably very fair, but I wonder if the band would be damned if they went too far in the other direction-only booking acts guaranteed to bring a youth movement in, to get grumbles from people who like their music of a certain vintage. That doesn't apply to the people on this forum I hasten to add. Here is a diverse range of music fans, but using people from my own age bracket as a sampler, most would not be a fan of newer music in general. The new album from an estabilished artist, yes. But a group 2 or 3 albums in...not so sure. I fear the other aspect is that Simon's famous quote about why shouldn't there be a Fairport in 50 or 60 years from now has never happened either, so the steady as she goes approach (much as I like it musically) is not going to shake things up.


The day it tried to adapt to appeal to a very young demographic, it wouldn't be Cropredy any more.


It does need adapting though as the older demographic it currently appeals to are dying off….
It just needs a balance.
A headliner that appeals to people who are middle aged rather than old aged.
Like it or not , they are the future of the festival and need catering for , the line up this year doesn’t , sales are down and the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
This years line up appeals to pensioners and not the general public.
Il be there , the main acts do not enthrall but I love the vibe.
My sad opinion is that unless the organisers get in fresh blood to book the acts to appeal to a broader age range but keeping the present values and musical variety (no problem with that , in fact it’s a big plus for me) then the festival will finish.
I hope that doesn’t happen and it certainly doesn’t need major surgery just more thought for the age demographic.
If there was one major act that was from the 80’s playing this year I can guarantee the ticket sales would increase.
There isn’t
They aren’t
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2024, 09:17:45 PM »


From a Fairport fan point of view, I think I'd now prefer a two-day indoor (Union Chapel, 900 capacity? Possibly somewhere a bit bigger - say £120 x 900 is £108k) 'festival' of Fairport and their alumni and mates.  Sell the Cropredy festival and put your feet up on that score - who needs the hassle any more.  If someone else wants to make a go of it, so be it, otherwise let the 'fringe' events have their way in the village.


This would work for me, and something that I’d love to see happen rather than slow Cropredy decline…
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2024, 02:17:55 AM »

Well what can I say? It seems the younger generation are very different to us. Phones out whilst watching a live show? Just enjoy the moment! Coachella, America's answer to Glasto has proved that this year, inundated with "Influencers" making a quick buck with their fashion choices, and not having a clue about the music...'Blur" comes to mind. With the tick tok crowd and music at the touch of a button, they have no idea of the anticipation of queuing to see your fave band, the rush to be at the front and then the utter enjoyment of seeing a live band with proper musicianship. With A I coming, I see the demise of live bands, think Abba, sad to think this is the future...so let us go out and enjoy live music whilst we still can. I think the expansion of the fringe has also had an effect, however a lot of stuff is now ticket only and not the freebies it used to be.  If (let's hope not) this is our last Croppers....I'll be there, not many acts are my cup of tea, but I will enjoy every moment and recall the great memories of the times I have been there. Then go home and watch holograms of bands I loved and feel sorry for this younger generation who just don't get it!!
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