Fairport Convention played its first concert in a church hall in May 1967. Based in suburban north London, the youngsters ‘convened’ for rehearsals at a house named Fairport, the family home of rhythm guitarist Simon Nicol. Thus was born the name of a band that has endured for over five decades.
Fairport Convention won the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The seminal album Liege And Lief was voted ‘Best Folk Album Ever’ by Radio 2 listeners. In Summer 2006, Liege And Lief was awarded a Gold Disc for its continuing sales.
The band is still one of the busiest around. The current line-up of Simon Nicol (lead vocal, rhythm and electric guitars), Dave Pegg (backing vocals, bass guitar, mandolin), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (lead vocal, fiddle, bouzouki, banjo, mandolin and woodwind) and Gerry Conway (percussion and drums) still packs venues on its frequent tours.
This year the band release their new live recording from their 50th anniversary concert at 2018’s Cropredy Festival “What We Did On Our Saturday” featuring the current line-up, plus former Fairporters Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Judy Dyble, Dave Mattacks, Iain Matthews and Maartin Allcock, ably assisted by their friends Ralph McTell, Sally Barker, Chris While and PJ Wright.
Each year starts with Fairport covering the length and breadth of Britain on its Winter Tour (Wintour). This is followed by a more relaxed Spring tour and in August, the band stages Fairport’s Cropredy Convention music festival in Oxfordshire. Each December the band’s time is occupied by side-projects and their respective Christmas tours. Simon tours with The Albion Christmas Band; Peggy with Anthony John Clarke; Ric with the Ric Sanders Trio; Chris with St Agnes Fountain and Gerry with Fotheringay.
Dave Pegg, who missed the band’s appearance at the first Costa Del Folk festival in 2014 due to an injury to his hand, is delighted to be coming in October 2019. Dave says ‘For the last five years the guys have been winding me up, saying what a great festival I missed, so I am really looking forward to playing and joining the Costa festivities.’
In the meantime enjoy Fairport Convention – Matty Groves: