With one of the country’s biggest summer festivals in full swing, Banbury’s hospital radio station, Radio Horton was delighted to be able to bring content and exclusive interviews to patients in the Horton General Hospital across the weekend. Now in its 37th year, the event – Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2017 – was a landmark occasion as the Fairport Convention band celebrated its 50th birthday, culminating in a special three hour main set on Saturday night, plus a variety of outstanding musical performances across the three days from headliners: The Divine Comedy, Richard Thompson and singing legend Petula Clark.
Radio Horton, the hospital broadcasting service for the Horton General Hospital had exclusive back-stage access to the family-friendly festival and joined official media partners including BBC Oxford in providing coverage of the event.
Significant planning and preparation took place in the weeks leading up to the festival, which attracted an audience of 23,000 – the largest crowd ever. A team of volunteers from Radio Horton set-down in the village of Cropredy to broadcast a taster of the atmosphere to those in hospital and otherwise unable to be there. Radio Horton’s Tom Wilson and Bob Dainty provided technical and backstage support, with Lisa Simmons hosting interviews and meeting the performers.
Lisa Simmons, a Radio Horton volunteer, said: “With Fairport Convention celebrating their 50th anniversary this year there was a special buzz around this year’s festival, both in the main field and backstage among the artists.
“It was a privilege for Radio Horton to have backstage access – a first for the station, which helped give the patients at the hospital a unique insight into the event. I was able to do two live phone-ins to the station during the festival (Thursday and Saturday) to update patients and listeners as to what was happening each day.”
The hospital radio station is creating a podcast of its coverage from the three-day folk and rock festival which will be rebroadcast on the station in the coming weeks, and featured interviews will also be available on demand from the station’s website.
The festival focuses on its local ties, and in particular, Banbury’s Horton General Hospital. Simmons adds: “What came across very strongly from many artists and bands, especially Fairport itself, was their passion and support for the Horton Hospital. There is a genuine love and support which shone through in the various interviews I conducted and culminated with Fairport bass player Dave Pegg wearing a ‘Save The Horton’ t-shirt for the most important set of the weekend – their main three hour set on Saturday night.”
The festival atmosphere wasn’t restricted to the main site however, with numerous vendors setting up shop around the village and on the canal, as well as a Fairport themed scarecrow competition giving locals the chance to show off their artistic sides. Both The Red Lion and The Brasenose Arms put on free live music for the duration of the festival and beyond, featuring local bands playing something for everyone. Two much loved local bands The Big Baloosh and Leatherat played their last ever gigs at this year’s Fringe event, meaning even those without a ticket to the sold out main festival could get a taste of the atmosphere.
Radio Horton prides itself on broadcasting its diverse range of programming to cater for inpatients and those feeling under the weather. The station is sincerely grateful to Bob Dainty and the organisers of Fairport’s Cropredy Convention for the unique opportunity.