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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Steve in Sidmouth So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you? (101* d) RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you? 30 Aug 12

Some comparisons to Towersey festival: there were three shower blocks near the main campsite and each shower had its own entrance to outdoors and its own small changing area inside the cubicle. So there was no problem with forming one long mixed sex queue. At peak times, a 45 minute wait. At other times, just walk straight in. It worked well enough.

An instruction had been issued to the sound crew in the Towersey ceilidh tent to limit the volume of all bands to a reasonable level - and what a difference it made! All the dancers I spoke to loved it. Even bands I usually avoid because they are so loud were quite enjoyable. So compliments all round to the sound crew and to the venue managers. And the dance floor in the Towersey ceilidh marquee was superb all weekend. Made up from varnished 8' by 4' sheets of plywwod I counted 13 wide and 7 long - or 52' by 56'. It was one of the best I have danced on but it was packed well beyond a sensible capacity at times and with far too many young muppets who couldn't even do a grand chain.

A large number of young people do attend Sidmouth FolkWeek - it's just that maybe they don't attend so many of the events, except perhaps at the Bulverton? Maybe it's seen as a seaside camping and drinking holiday with evenings of headbanging music and dance thrown in and with little interest in any of the 'real' folk events in town? There is so little opportunity now for young musicians to busk on the seafront - they have to compete with the traffic and the traders.

The large number of 'novice' dancers at some Towersey ceilidhs (as at Sidmouth) were a distinct nuisance - and not only I thought so. They need to learn but they don't bother to attend the scheduled learning workshops (either at Sidmouth or at Towersey) and in packed evening ceilidhs they don't even listen to the caller. A minority however were very good - and with parents who had obviously coached them and encouraged a genuine interest in learning to dance.

For every person who thinks the official Sidmouth campsite is 'fine' I get many enquiries asking for recommendations of alternatives. The Towersey site was not perfect - the farmers had not cut the grass owing to appalling summer weather - but as it didn't rain much the whole weekend and the ground is so well drained and largely flat, the long grass was not a problem. The festival also had extensive all-weather walkways - something that both Sidmouth and Towersey have devoted effort to getting right.

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