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Steve in Sidmouth Review: Sidmouth '08 (113* d) RE: Review: Sidmouth '08 22 Dec 08

I visited the official website a few days ago and I recall that there was a statement to the effect that the Blackmore Gardens ceilidh dance floor was to be made larger - but I can't find it now that the website has been updated (maybe it was wishful thinking?).

Can we know the intention please? Also, there is no mention of whether there will be a marquee on what was Church House Lawn (now Kennaway House Lawn after its 1million refurbishment, which is well on the way to completion). Maybe discussions are ongoing.

Knowing the venues that may be on offer could be as important as which bands for dancers who will need to decide whether to book tickets. I agree with Steve Harris when he suggests that the exodus of accomplished ceilidh dancers from Sidmouth must be reversed. The standard of ceilidh dancing at Sidmouth used to be superb. What has been sadly lacking for years is dedicated basic instruction for newcomers.

No-one can expect all their personal choice of ceilidh bands - but we can expect the organisers to take notice of what were almost universal comments regarding the venues - and including ventilation of low-height marquee(s) and excessive sound levels that have been problems for several years, especially at Bulverton.

The festival would probably not wish to book every top name ceilidh band - but (as a personal view) it is disappointing that neither 422 (excellent at Sidmouth 2008) nor Last Orders (ditto at Towersey 2008) seem to be on the list. These young bands need to be encouraged - they are very danceable and not too loud! However, there are several local groups (Pixies, Spinach for Norman and Dalla from Cornwall) which in itself is very welcome.

I've only recently seen the comments about SeeRed dating from September. I'll reply to some of the more worthwhile observations as and when. However, quite obviously, you don't need access to the small print of festival finances to do calculations. The back of an envelope can often be quite sufficient - it would have been for Northern Rock anyway.....I guess having worked with professional economists and knowing how to apply marginal cost benefit arguments are advantages also.

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