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Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?

The Shambles 31 Jul 05 - 11:13 AM
Lizzie Cornish 31 Jul 05 - 01:30 PM
The Shambles 31 Jul 05 - 07:20 PM
vectis 03 Aug 05 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Hawker with a missing cookie 03 Aug 05 - 06:23 PM
Blowzabella 03 Aug 05 - 06:32 PM
Murray MacLeod 03 Aug 05 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,NIckp cookieless 04 Aug 05 - 02:48 AM
John Robinson (aka Cittern) 04 Aug 05 - 05:34 AM
manitas_at_work 04 Aug 05 - 07:25 AM
The Shambles 04 Aug 05 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,flatat 04 Aug 05 - 11:47 AM
rhyzla 04 Aug 05 - 12:00 PM
GUEST 04 Aug 05 - 01:33 PM
The Shambles 04 Aug 05 - 02:06 PM
My guru always said 04 Aug 05 - 06:19 PM
Cats 05 Aug 05 - 03:10 PM
The Unicorn Man 05 Aug 05 - 03:59 PM
The Shambles 06 Aug 05 - 07:27 AM
GUEST 06 Aug 05 - 08:22 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Aug 05 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,rumncoke 06 Aug 05 - 10:45 AM
GUEST 06 Aug 05 - 11:10 AM
Leadfingers 06 Aug 05 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Rumncoke 06 Aug 05 - 03:02 PM
Chris Amos 06 Aug 05 - 03:03 PM
RobbieWilson 06 Aug 05 - 04:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Aug 05 - 06:06 PM
Morticia 06 Aug 05 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,Don(Wyziwyg)T, by the back door 06 Aug 05 - 07:46 PM
MBSLynne 07 Aug 05 - 04:22 AM
MBSLynne 07 Aug 05 - 04:28 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 07 Aug 05 - 04:46 AM
MBSLynne 07 Aug 05 - 06:20 AM
MBSLynne 07 Aug 05 - 06:25 AM
MBSLynne 07 Aug 05 - 06:38 AM
steve_harris 07 Aug 05 - 06:49 AM
Chris Cole 07 Aug 05 - 07:54 AM
MBSLynne 07 Aug 05 - 08:06 AM
AggieD 07 Aug 05 - 12:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Aug 05 - 01:07 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 07 Aug 05 - 01:57 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 07 Aug 05 - 01:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Aug 05 - 02:21 PM
MBSLynne 07 Aug 05 - 02:36 PM
Col K 07 Aug 05 - 05:30 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Aug 05 - 05:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Aug 05 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Mike from Dorch 07 Aug 05 - 06:57 PM
Leadfingers 07 Aug 05 - 07:06 PM
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Subject: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 11:13 AM

Probably a little early yet for most to judge yet but I paid the only visit I will be able to manage this year's event - on Saturday.

My impression from this one visit was that Sidmouth Festival was pretty good. Things may have seemed a little different but I am not sure that it was worse or obviously lacking too much. Seemed to me that there was more than enough going on for just about everyone's taste.

There will always be quibbles and especially as there are many well-organised past events to compare the present one with. But festivals organised as recent Sidmouth Festvals - were not going to be an option. So perhaps any comparisons should be made in the light of this fact - if they are to be fair ones?

I think that those who have put in the effort to ensure that some form of festival would happen this year - deserve our thanks. They can certainly have my thanks for a very pleasant day.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 01:30 PM

You canalways look at the 'Live From Sidmouth' thread on Radio 2 F&A board Shambly....save me having to put it down twice! ;0)

Here it is:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbradio2/F2142825?thread=721249

Hope that works OK....still got 5 more days worth to add to it yet though. There were so many Cambridge threads on the BBC (hmmm..can't THINK why!)...so I thought I'd get my own back! ;0)

Come back Shambly.....you're missing LOADS of fun!!

Lizzie :0)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 07:20 PM

I wish I could.

There was a good session in the Bedford on the afternoon and singing in the other bar - sadly that will have to be all my fun and my good memory of 2005.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: vectis
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 06:12 PM

I have just got home from a quieter, less crowded Sidmouth. The atmosphere was far more relaxed, possibly because people weren't dashing madly from place to place trying to get their moneysworth out of a season ticket.
The singing was super in the Middle Bar, Theatre Bar, RY&F and The Volunteer.
There was plenty of activity on the esplanade from dancers, traders and buskers.
The big dance marquee seemed to be full whenever I looked in.
There were plenty of music sessions going on in most of the pubs around the town, the Rugby Club and the Sailing Club.
The traders seemed to be happier now that they had a steady trade all day and didn't get the mad rush at 5pm when you used to be able to get into the arena free.
Most people who go to do fringe events were putting their hands in their pockets and putting their hard earned cash into the festival by attending some concerts and workshops or coughing up several times in the session when the collecting tins went round. There were more £ coins going in instead of small change.
The huge difference was that the festival was concentrated down in town and the locals seemed to be far more involved. I was certainly made to feel more welcome than has been the case in recent years.
I hope that this year will be a financial success and that it won't go too far down the money grabbing comercial route next year or this years lovely atmosphere could easily be lost. A lot of people commented that they had got the old Sidmouth back. Many returned for the first time in years having been put off by the direction took when Sidmouth Festival lost the 'Folk' in its title.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST,Hawker with a missing cookie
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 06:23 PM

Hi Vectis,
Nice to see you at Sidmouth,
We were there on Saturday, It was a lovely atmosphere, a lot more friendly and there were still LOADS of people there, street entertainers, morris, dance, concerts, and of course the Bedford sesh and The Anchor middle bar singing It definately has a thumbs up from here
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Blowzabella
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 06:32 PM

It has certainly sounded brilliant, jjudging by Lizzie's excellent, enthusiastic descriptions on BBC site. If I didn't have hols already planned at back end of Aug, I would have gone. Have never wanted to go before becuse the line-up hasn't appealed, but this year looks much more my cup of tea.

The lack of a season ticket would not have put me off at all - much prefer to pick and choose what I go to and pay accordingly, rather than get to a venue and find that there isn't room, because too many other season tcket holder have got there before me....


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 07:48 PM

Hi Vectis

An excellent post.

I hope to see you again this year at Lewes or Peacehaven or Seaford.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST,NIckp cookieless
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 02:48 AM

Had Saturday and Sunday - and yesterday evening down there. Very much quieter that usual although I agree that maybe the traders were in a more congenial place - or perhaps that should be places.

The only real problem I found was food. I understand that the lack of food concessions was an agreement with the town but - unless you like fish and chips regularly - the local eateries weren't geared up to the numbers at the weekend. I had to wait for an hour for a sandwich and coffee on the Saturday and several places wouldn't serve in to the Sunday evening.

Still, good on them for getting as much as they did going and success for the future whoever coordinates the future events.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: John Robinson (aka Cittern)
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 05:34 AM

The "guests" are a little quiet ...


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 07:25 AM

Didn't they say they were going to Eastleigh?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 09:22 AM

Was it thought by anyone that the lack of a season ticket was a problem?

I certainly agree that concentrating events in the town itself - was preferable and something that I hope will be the case for future events.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST,flatat
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 11:47 AM

it sounds as if things have gone very well this year without season tickets, however I know of quite a number of people (and there must be many many more I don't know!)who decided not to go this year because of the lack of season tickets which provide unlimited choice of events at a known cost for the week.

Perhaps next year they will once more be available but this will presumably need 'the festival' to act as promoter for all events booking performers and arranging venues, insurance etc. It will also need a substantial 'kitty' in case sales of season tickets plus 'door sales' doesnt add up to what it has cost although costs could presumably be considerably less than in previous years if the arena anad it's huge infrastucture is not brought back. Season tickets wuold also provide a fair reward for the efforts of those who give up their time as stewards.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: rhyzla
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 12:00 PM

<>

And also for artists who were not financially rewarded (and even had to pay to play in some venues!), but would appreciate the opportunity to see other artists.

I attended for 4 days, and enjoyed it a lot, tho' did not attend any concerts. The fringe certainly supplies the true atmosphere of the festival, and should never be lost IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 01:33 PM

We ate at the Manor Pavilion cafe the food was fastr and excellent on the saturday lunch and tea baked potato with cottage cheese and Grimsby pie, chips peas and carrots VERY nice and very reasonable too.
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 02:06 PM

Could it be that the particpation in the sessions etc was better because of the lack of season tickets.

Without the need to get full value from their tickets - perhaps many were involved this year in these fringe activities - who would not normally have attended the events?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: My guru always said
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 06:19 PM

Got back today from a brill week, thoroughly enjoyed it except for the cold I've acquired from all the hugging of good friends. The Middle Bar was just as good as usual & the collecting tins were filled to bursting every session for the Festival next year. Was good to be there for this 'interim' Festival, Hats off to the Organisers, a job well done!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Cats
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 03:10 PM

Stunning week. I worked incredibly hard all week and saw hardly anyone I wanted to as I was involved in making the festival work. Yes, I was one of those who spent the whole week performing with the storytellers and in Unsung Heroes, for no money whatsoever. No expenses and paid our own accommodation. And I don't begrudge it one little bit! Fabulous week, loads going on, the festival is back in the town where it belongs. I'm ready for next year...


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: The Unicorn Man
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 03:59 PM

Only 360 days to go then.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 07:27 AM

Just my view - but to my mind the best folk festivals are when the folk are involved in every aspect of them - rather than being there primarily as paying spectators. Perhaps when the paid performances are thought more to form the fringe events?

For a paying audience seeing a sample of perhaps a number of different acts - commercial festivals on the line that the past Mrs Casey ones were at Sidmouth are good value. But to see the very best performance of an individual act - it is probably better to see them when they are the main attraction, can perform for longer and can control all the aspects of their performance.   

This is not to say that paid performers have no place at all at folk festivals - far from it. But if the struggle to pay for these top performers whilst still trying to make a profit from the festival - (given the other uncertainties like that of our climate) - mean the sort of atmosphere - where charging admission to the music and craft stalls is thought necessary - perhaps festivals of that type are not really worth us all paying this price?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 08:22 AM

Everybody who will come back from Sidders will say positive points about it.
Just like if you miss your folk club for a week,that week before was the best ever.
I look forward to seeing this not,but it will happen.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 10:19 AM

The BBC Radio 2 folk and acoustic message board is a poor excuse for a folk based thing, it has about a dozen posters [ not including Lizzie ] who are pseudo intellectual nob heads, who talk the biggest load of shite I've ever heard, they are nearly all so far up their on arses they never see daylight, to sum up it's a mutual appreciation society for people who wouldnt know a good folk song from the Spice Girls crap.

eric


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST,rumncoke
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 10:45 AM

Best Sidmouth ever for me.

I only hope that the people who did so much for free this year can be recompensed in future, or people can be found to do the same service, or something in between, more people sharing the burden would seem to be the obvious answer.

I just hope that we never again get an organisation of the Mrs Casey type ever again. Sidmouth is not really a place to go to see big names on a stage - it is not the right size and shape for that.

Last week seems to have been an almost audienceless experience, it appeared that everyone sang, told stories, played or danced, or was there with someone who did. It was wonderful.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 11:10 AM

An audienceless experience? Can't imagine where Guest rumncoke was. As a direct result of the lack of season tickets, punters stayed put throughout concerts as they'd paid to be there and didn't have the option of drifting in and out. Good for artists, maybe, but what definitely wasn't good was how, with dozens of warring factions organising events independently, booked performers - whether they liked it or not, and many didn't - were parachuted in and out on a daily basis, exactly in the style of Cambridge-type, commercialised mega-festivals. This is not was Sidmouth is about and certainly not how Mrs Casey Music did it. Artists on the whole stayed the week, or most of it, did workshops and played in sessions. Not a lot of this occurred during the past week and sessions appeared to be dominated by bash-it-and-thrash it, out-of-tune, unprofessional drunks. Many people deserve congratulations for actually pulling something off, but it was far, far from perfect and much needs to be learned and done better for next and subsequent years to have a chance of success.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 12:53 PM

The New Tavern sessions were a bit curates egg , with people NOT being in because they went to see people they REALLY wanted to see at concerts - It seems to me that the majority of people who came to Sidders were true enthusiasts , but not in sufficient numbers to sell out the concerts and still leave enough people to pack ALL the fringe sessions ALL the time ! Overall , the atmosphere was JUST RIGHT !! and all the people I spoke to were having a good time !!
We were SUPPOSED to be on twelve til three and eight til closing , but it seemed that there were always such good things going on that we over ran nearly every day !! Thanks to all the Musos who came in to play and sing with us !! Now I am going to bed for twenty four hours to start the recovery process !!!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST,Rumncoke
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 03:02 PM

I wonder why I am a guest - too tired to sort it out - still have to unload the car.

Maybe I put it badly - I meant that there was a high proportion of people who were performers of some sort rather than 'professional audience', there just to watch and not participate - of course there were audiences, singers watching dancing, dancers and others in the concerts, but where I was, involvement was the normal thing. Even visitors got roped in - I heard several people who were in the area on a family holiday and had come intending just to visit for one day, become involved and travelled in every day after that.

The oldest person joining in Herbaceous Border was in her 90s - I think the award for youngest dancer has to go to Motley - he might have been three.

The Cafe Bar sessions were starting early and finishing late.

Everyone around the places I frequented seemed to be expressing their approval, and 'Best Sidmouth for Years'was repeated many times.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Chris Amos
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 03:03 PM

I only got to spend one night and the following morning there and it reminded me of how it used to be in late 60's and early 70's. I would be interested to hear how it played with the local populous and businesses, with the reduced attendance. My vote goes to this year's format.

The Folk Club was great and well attended.


Chris


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 04:03 PM

Just got back. Was there from Mon to Fri. Loved every minute of it.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 06:06 PM

Arrived home after a very good week at Sidmouth.

It was pretty amazing how it had risen from the dead. Mary Ellen Carter stuff - a labour of love by people who had refused to accept the seeming inevitable. Around the country over the years festivals have run themselves into the gound and died, and they don't come back. We say "what a shame" and we move on. (The only exception I can think of is Walton which was very nearly killed by the disruption caused when Princess Diana's death and funeral buggered things up, and got foprced back to life beacuse regulars refused to accept it was gone.)

Last year there was all the talk about taking a year off, and coming back all shiny and organised, but it was whistling in the dark. I think if it hadn't gone ahead this year whatever happened in future years it wouldn't have been the real Sidmouth.

But instead we bounced right back, and this was as good a Sidmouth as I can remember - and I can remember a lot of Sidmouths. At the feedback meeting on Friday someone likened it to a rose bush that's been pruned back hard, and will be all the better for it.

Not having a season ticket - I didn't like that. True, maybe it removed a bit of the pressure, and the feeling you ought to make the most of it - but for me the season ticket has never been about saving money, or getting my money's worth. If I didn't get my moneys worth and spent my time in free events, that was OK by me, because I knew that my money was helping to keep the whole show on the road, and the whoel show was what I really valued most of all.

But the main thing about the season is having the freedom to try anything. This year I tended to stick to the things I knew I'd like, and though I had a great time, I didn't have many of those moments of amazement I've had in the past, because of that very freedom to roam.

And in fact I probably spent a lot less on tickets than I normally would on a season ticket (even including the voluntary contributions in the tins) - and I'm pretty sure that's true of a lot of people, and it's the main reason why there is pretty well bound to be a season ticket of some kind next year.

The other thing I missed was the international presence, both because of the opportunity to see the English traditions dispalyed in the context of other traditions, and because it was such fun to walk around a corner and run into some monks from Tibet or farmers from Slovakia , or Bengali Dancers from Brixton, in the White Horse Cafe or the charity shops, or joining in the Social Dances. The native English folk traditions are great but they aren't the only folk traditions - even in England.

But I'm sure one way or another the things I missed this time will grow back in a healthy way. The main thing is, we've got Sidmouth back, and it's a kind of miracle.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Morticia
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 07:42 PM

nice post, Kevin......and yes, I agree.It was interesting to hear people's comments as I went round collecting for a festival next year....most people liked the pared back approach and were happy to have something closer to the Sidders they remembered and glad to prove it by giving up their hard earned cash.

I'm glad to say rumours of Sidmouth's death were greatly exaggerated.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST,Don(Wyziwyg)T, by the back door
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 07:46 PM

Just arrived back, after a long days drive. Logged in to see what was being said, and I'm delighted to read this thread.

It was indeed a great festival, and from direct contact with one of the main organisers, a success in every respect. There is money to get the ball rolling for 2006, and given the results achieved in so short a time, one year from now we will see something amazing next year.

My hat is off to those good people who knocked themselves out to ensure the survival of this unique event. They deserve nothing but praise and admiration for their efforts.

High spots of the week for me, in no particular order of merit,were:-

Bob & Gill Berry's Folk week folk club, which booked some very fine guests, and featured some talented and entertaining backing artists (I hate the term floor singers), playing to a full house throughout the week at the Arts Centre

Leadfingers' sessions at the New Tavern, which, while sparsely attended at certain times, were lightly guided and thoroughly enjoyable.

The open mike sessions at Dukes, very ably conducted and producing some really top class performers, including the odd appearance by professional artists.

The Middle Bar, as good as, or perhaps better than ever.

The first Friday evening session of The Asby de la Zouch folk club, well run as always by our own MBSLynne.

And of course The Bedford sessions, packing 'em in as always.

The concerts were in the main well attended, and those I went to were great value for money.

While the international aspect was much reduced (tho' not entirely absent), I felt that The whole was more integrated, and being centred in the town, there was less of the "us and them" division between the concert scene and the so called fringe, which I feel was, on balance, a good thing.

The business community were generous in supplying funds for this one, and deserve our gratitude for that.

All in all, I don't regret the past year of posting positively about Sidmouth 2005, and feel that my optimism and enthusiasm has been more than justified.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 04:22 AM

Just got back last night. It certainly felt more like the Sidmouth festival I came to first years ago and loved so much I've been back every year since. We arrived the Saturday before to help erect the campsite, which was made far more difficult by the awful weather we had. Everyone worked really hard (epn did something like a 60 hour week as team leader). GUEST said something about 'warring factions' promoting different events. As you might expect, this is an extremely warped view of what was actually happening. I thought it was wonderful to see how the different people, some of whom haven't always seen eye to eye in the past, worked together because they all love the festival and want it to continue. Early indications are that those who put up large amounts of their own money (and took an enormous risk in doing so) will at least have broken even, and that's really all they were concerned about.

Conversation with locals was also very positive. Everyone I spoke to was really pleased with the changes and the fact that the festival was based far more in the town.

I'll send this now and post again because i seem to lose long posts if they go on too long.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 04:28 AM

The festival itself was great. We didn't have the problem of lack of season tickets, because, as stewards, we had what almost amounted to one anyway. While it was only actually finalised a couple of weeks before the festival, stewards were very adequately compensated with free entry into almost everything, including camping and bus passes. One of the big problems was that, probably due to the late sorting out of steward's perks, we were woefully short of people. Could do with lots more next year...any offers??

I did miss the arena showground a bit, but then, we had "Not the Arena Concert" on Tuesday afternoon, (Including performances by Christie Less, Toffee Thomas and White Umfolosi) which was great fun and will probably become an annual fringe event unless the arena comes back into use.

The Ashby de la Zouch folk club, which was a programmed event for the first time, was packed, and much harder work to run than usual. The high point of that for me was Houston Diamond and Clive getting together to perform "No Woman No Cry". Absolutely brilliant.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 04:46 AM

" we were woefully short of people (stewards) ". Strange, I was told by Alan White that all places were fully subscribed. I offered to give lots of my time before the festival but was told all the task force and people to build the campsite, etc, were already in place. During the festival week I was told by someone I know only casually as a folkie that I had a stewards badge waiting for me in the Manor Pavilion - the first I had heard of it!! Earlier, Folk South West had phoned to ask if I could do hours that I had specifically said on the stewards form that I did not want to do. They had been given my name and phone number but no details of what I said I could and could not do. Talking to other people, the whole organisation of stewards seemed to be very haphazard. The organisers did a brilliant job overall but if they had made more use of the help that I and others offered (and that was refused!) maybe other people would have had an easier time.

I have collated comments from many people I know locally and some who I know only as festival attendees. They are heavily weighted towards the dance and ceilidh events but there are aspects of the organisation as a whole that need to be discussed. Universally, the organisers are praised, but it is doubtful if 2006 can be a rerun of 2005 - the ticket structure and prices are not sustainable and funds of goodwill run out sometime. Personally I doubt whether there will be a LNE event next year - so few people attended this year whereas some of the Ham events sold out.

Some initial discussion is here feedback on Sidmouth 2005, problems for 2006


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:20 AM

LNE was one of the problem areas, but that was partly because of no season tickets this year I think, and also because Malcolm Burrow, who was supposed to be running LNE at Salcombe, suddenly decided he wasn't going to do so, giving the organisations only a matter of weeks to make alternative arrangements. I think they deserve an accolade for having managed, in that time, to organise and run LNE at all.

The organisation of stewards may have seemed haphazard, but that was partly one of the problems of the different organisers for different events. Co ordinating something like that is an enormous and time consuming thing, and the people who were doing it were also doing most of the work of setting up and running campites, LNE and the Ham. All will be learnt from for next year.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:25 AM

I was disappointed not to meet more new Mudcatters. There seem to have been a number there that i didn't get to meet. And where was Lizzie??? I expected her to be a high profile presence but lots of people were saying "Who's Lizzie? Have you met her?" and no one had. I think we should have a Mudgather next year.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:38 AM

Sorry to keep posting....I forgot to say that I had several proud moments at Sidmouth this year, when my two kids (RAT-W aged 14 and ShadyLady aged nearly 10) performed. ShadyLady won Doom Gloom and Despondency with "The Unquiet Grave" and is now carting around a coffin containing the trophy! (Her Dad, el_punkoid_nouveau, came second) RAT-W danced with herbaceous Border and was in the procession, and both of them sang wonderfully at the Ashby de la Zouch folk club and in the Middle Bar. They both say that they have had their best Sidmouth ever.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: steve_harris
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:49 AM

"Last year there was all the talk about taking a year off, and coming back all shiny and organised"

I'm so glad we didn't go down that shaky path. We now know that a different sort of Sidmouth IS possible.

From viewing the camp site, I estimate attendance at 75% down but we were still offered just about all the usual events - except the Arena. And the organisers haven't lost money.

I look forward to a similar Sidmouth 2006 with half the 2004 numbers which will be comfortable for all concerned.

What was particulalry good this year was that just about everybody PARTICIPATED. Yes, there were fewer people at LNE but a far higher proportion were dancing.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Chris Cole
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 07:54 AM

Lynne I am pleased to say I met Lizzie. If you had, you would understand why she lives in a world of smilies! All I can say is I would rather know Lizzie than some of the "guests" that frequent this site. What a lovely lady and family.
Sidmouth is different things to different people and as a family we will have had a significantly different time to other people. My main points are
1) Disappointed to meet locals that could still find reasons to whinge - they seemed obsessed with the "outside" traders in the Arena. Perhaps they should focus their energies into providing a without chips eaterie in Sidmouth.

2) Delighted that my daughter could spend 10 and a half hours singing with Emily, Lauren and Jim for £15. What a bargain and what lovely people. The super singers were indeed super.

3) Huge thankks for the determination and hard work of a group of wonderful people who allowed me and mine to enjoy our annual folkie holiday. Dipping in and out of events, meeting up with old friends and making new ones etc.

4) Sidmouth happened and was not by any stretch of anyone's imagination a failure. Imagine that being the case 12 months ago? Cynics can have their say (thank God), but I was there and had a great time/holiday.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 08:06 AM

Steve...I agree with every word you said. I think the future for Sidmouth festival looks rosy. And perhaps I'll get to meet Lizzie next time!

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: AggieD
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 12:04 PM

Oh dear woe is me. I see that folkies are regessing & looking inward again. Do we really want to go back to the 70's & be regarded as a joke (Arran sweaters et al) or do we want to see polished performances that can hold their own with the best of them & see the music we love given more credence?

Please don't get me wrong I enjoy the true meaning of folk music, with all being able to join in & have a go, but there are many people out there who will just laugh at us if we allow ourselves to become inward looking & lose some of the polish that many of our top artist have achieved if we don't allow the 'big' events every so often. Ok I don't have a problem with Sidmouth going back to a more core festival, but please don't discount the fact that lots more ordinary people are drawn in to have a look at what's going on if there is a slicker, glossier organisation. I wonder how long the professionals will be willing to pur their hands in their own pockets?

I didn't make it to Sidmouth this year, partly because my other half is not really a folkie & only comes along if he can have a season ticket & can drift in & out of events until he can find something he can enjoy & partly because we like to do different festivals, but one thing that I hate to hear in the folk world is that it was just like it was 30 years ago.

I really hope that the festival comes back better & stronger, but please lets not go backwards.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 01:07 PM

I don't actually think people particularly care for "slicker, glossier organisation". I mean ordinary people. Unless that means stuff like good sound systems and efficient systems for selling tickets, and getting things like that right aren't anything do with being slicker and glossier.

Look around the world today and it's full of slick glossy operations run by slick glossy operators who couldn't organise a booze-up in a brewery.

So far as I'm aware the sound systems worked pretty well this year. The ticket sales were pretty shambolic, that's true - but that was most especially the case where the paid professionals in the Tourist Office were involved.

Getting things right matters, but that is a matter of people taking responsibility, recognising what needs to be done, and doing it. It isn't about image, it's about committment - and there was plenty of that about.

I think Sidmouth 2006 is going to be one hell of a good festival.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 01:57 PM

The Tourist Office staff did their best issuing tickets over many weeks utilising an archaic 'record everything using a quill pen' system. They deserve credit for keeping at it not only before but during the festival when the load should have been taken off them by other people.

To be sure there were queues - more than an hour at times - but no-one expected it to be perfect this year. What is important now is not to carp about the petty failures but to analyse what worked and what didn't and to plan logically for 2006. For my money, the LNE may not be viable next year and the whole idea of a Supporters card is a non-starter. No-one asked to see the cards when you went into events, it complicated the ticketing arrangements and a much better idea would be simply to offer discounts for early purchase - just as Steve Heap did.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 01:59 PM

I forgot to add - I didn't meet Lizzie (not to my knowledge anyway) and I am truly mortified.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 02:21 PM

I'm not blaming the Tourist Office people - as paid employees they presumably felt they didn't have the freedom to use their own initiative and adjust their way of working so as to reduce the delays. My point is, making use of amateurs and volunteers can sometimes be more efficient than the alternative.
.....................................

There's no reason a LNE of some side shouldn't work very well. It needn't be a primarily dance event way out of town, there are lots of ways of doing it. But some conveniently situated late night place where people can wind-down and meet at he end of the day, and the different aspects of the festival can come together could be very good for teh festival, as well as enjoyable. Maybe something like the one at Fylde (but in a less crowded setting than that please!)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 02:36 PM

Aggie, you may consider the way Sidmouth has been this year to be going backwards. I,most emphatically,don't. Because the festival was a little smaller and much more relaxed than in recent years, doesn't mean that the many artists who performed, some of them 'big name' professionals, were any less polished than they ever are. This time we had a really good mix of the glossy, professional acts, the smaller, more accessible (but no less polished and professional) acts, and the participatory events. It was a better Sidmouth than it has been for years in some ways....certainly in atmosphere.

And I personally couldn't give a damn whether people laugh at me, or us, just so long as I'm enjoying my music and my festival

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Col K
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 05:30 PM

Yes it happened, despite all the doom and gloom merchants out there who said it could not be done. OK it was not Sidmouth 2004 repeated regurgitated or copied, it was Sidmouth 2005. Lets congratulate all those who were involved in any way with the organization. Yes of course there were problems, as the organizers all said " We are on a steep learning curve this week".
The organizers have learnt a lot this last week and I am sure that they will take these lessons on board and that next years will be even better.
Major comments heard were about the lack of the arena, the vast majority of them being in favour of forgetting the arena and concentrating events in town.
All in all a good time was had by many people ---- Thanks to those people who risked it ----You WERE successful --- WELL DONE


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 05:42 PM

It sounds so wonderful. The way it ought to be. Next year I simply MUST get dogsitters and officesitter and do it and Dartmoor.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:00 PM

Here's a link to a bunch of pictures of this year's Sidmouth on flickr.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: GUEST,Mike from Dorch
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:57 PM

I nearly didn't go this year, for personal reasons not because of the change of style, but a friend persuaded me to go for three days and I'm glad I did. Most of the things that I go for, and most of the people I usually see, were there. I don't think I missed sitting on that horrible steep grassy bank, or wandering round those Arena stalls full of neo-hippy tat made in sweatshops in Asia.
Many thanks to all of you who worked hard to make it happen. Next year I'll go for the week


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2005 - the verdict?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 07:06 PM

Talking about being 'Inwards Looking' - WHY do some session musos have to sit in a circle playing to each other ?? At The New Tavern we
sit looking OUT at the rest of the bar , NOT looking at each other !!


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