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GUEST,Folkie Sidmouth Closed (57* d) The Olympics & Sidmouth Festival 14 Apr 05

There is an interesting article in the latest newsletter from FolkArts England.

Under the heading 'Opportunity for Tradition in 2012' it reports on how a London Olympics could be good news for folk music.

"Have you ever seen an Olympic opening or a cultural festival that didn't include the traditions of the host nation?" it asks.

Comparing the Arts policies of the three main political parties, the article then notes that Tory Shadow Arts Minister Hugo Swire has "warned of major cuts in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport" if the Tories win the UK General Election (not much chance of that!).

The article then points out that Hugo Swire "is the MP for East Devon who made no intervention at all as the Sidmouth International Festival, after 50 years on what is now his patch, closed mainly due to lack of serious funding."

Since the Festival closed the Tory-run East Devon District Council has cut the 60,000 grant to the event meaning the small band of people trying to keep some form of Folk Week alive in Sidmouth will face an even greater struggle to make ends meet.

There's an old saying in politics. "Trust not what they say but what they do".

On that basis you can trust a Tory Government to be very bad news for the Arts and for the traditional music scene in the UK.

Folkie Dave

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