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newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival

VirginiaTam 09 Sep 10 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Girl Friday 08 Sep 10 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,Joan Crump 08 Sep 10 - 05:30 PM
VirginiaTam 08 Sep 10 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,Guest. Joan Crump 08 Sep 10 - 02:16 PM
Girl Friday 08 Sep 10 - 01:44 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 08 Sep 10 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,LDT 26 Aug 10 - 05:30 PM
JHW 26 Aug 10 - 05:22 PM
Bloke from Poole 26 Aug 10 - 07:24 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 25 Aug 10 - 11:12 AM
Leadfingers 25 Aug 10 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Aug 10 - 05:56 AM
JHW 25 Aug 10 - 05:40 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 24 Aug 10 - 06:35 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 24 Aug 10 - 06:25 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 24 Aug 10 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,LDT 23 Aug 10 - 10:28 AM
Girl Friday 23 Aug 10 - 10:23 AM
JHW 23 Aug 10 - 09:42 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 22 Aug 10 - 06:43 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 15 Aug 10 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,folkiedave 14 Aug 10 - 01:47 PM
VirginiaTam 14 Aug 10 - 10:23 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 10 - 08:45 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 10 - 08:37 AM
VirginiaTam 13 Aug 10 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,cardboard cutout 13 Aug 10 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,LDT 13 Aug 10 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,LDT 13 Aug 10 - 11:13 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 13 Aug 10 - 10:54 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 13 Aug 10 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,LDT 13 Aug 10 - 09:33 AM
Ruth Archer 13 Aug 10 - 09:01 AM
Rumncoke 13 Aug 10 - 08:42 AM
Bloke from Poole 13 Aug 10 - 08:05 AM
Ruth Archer 13 Aug 10 - 07:04 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 13 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 12 Aug 10 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,folkiedave 12 Aug 10 - 06:19 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 12 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 12 Aug 10 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 11 Aug 10 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 11 Aug 10 - 12:26 PM
Tug the Cox 11 Aug 10 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Folkiedave 10 Aug 10 - 03:27 PM
JHW 10 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM
Old Vermin 10 Aug 10 - 01:26 PM
VirginiaTam 10 Aug 10 - 01:02 PM
VirginiaTam 10 Aug 10 - 01:01 PM
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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 02:48 AM

Sounds wafting down from the Bulverton were enticing and made me wish I was younger and fitter so I could go up and party all night.

There were occasional steward checks down field around the toilets at night. (I wake between 3 to 5 times a night thanks to a very small bladder). One very helpful young man must have thought me a bit drunk as I struggled up hill to Girl Friday's caravan to collect the key to the disabled toilet. When I wake, I am stiff and when I walk in that state I list.

So the stewards do make rounds down around the toilets during the night. Wouldn't be right or fair to station one down there, and neither would it be feasible to escort young revellers down through the camp at night.

I quite enjoyed all the fun they were having. About 3am one morning I was greeted by 2 boys who had made themselves up to look like victims of an axe murderer and had positioned themselves in contorted death poses. Giggle... I went up and pushed my toe into the ribs of one of them... telling him he'd get a chill, lying on the ground like that.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,Girl Friday
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 06:55 PM

Thank you Joan for putting the official viewpoint. Also, thanks for saying that you'll raise the subject of the anti social noise and behaviour on the campsite. I did, raise with the stewards the subject of having toilets near the gate, as it seems logical to place some there. V Tam and I were two of the disabled users of the campsite, and so the quieter areas are not suitable for us. Noise from the Bulverton was expected and often enjoyable, and, whilst asleep, campsite noise was obviously not an issue. However, rowdiness was a nuisance as it was going on every time I woke up for a wee.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,Joan Crump
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 05:30 PM

Bulverton has its own toilets - and this year they were even under cover, in case of poor weather.

Sidmouth has a number of different audiences, of different ages and tastes, and it is challenging to cater for them all. We are constantly exploring new options and reviewing what we do in order to improve things and cater for the dynamic environment we find ourselves in.

"This would I think, be no loss to the majority of festival attendees...It's not needed so it'd be even better to get shot."

Bulverton had anywhere from 500 - 1000 people in it every night, and they appeared to be having a lovely time. While I personally observed (and chatted to) people of many ages at the Bulverton marquee, it is clearly a very important venue for the festival's younger audiences. The younger element is as important to the festival as any other audience - any festival hoping to replicate Sidmouth's longevity would aim to keep raising up the new generations. As they get older their tastes and needs will change - but hopefully at that point there will be new youngsters coming up to take their place. Hurrah for the multi-generational festival.

I would suggest that you talk to the campsite stewards next year about inappropriate late-night noise when it occurs, but I will also raise it as an issue with the appropriate managers at our next meeting. Please remember there are designated quieter areas of the campsite, and you can request them on arrival.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 03:13 PM

I don't see the point in losing the Bulverton. What is needed are toilets nearer to it, so the kids needn't make their happy noisy way down through the camp all night.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,Guest. Joan Crump
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 02:16 PM

Dear Girl Friday (and others)

Steve Wozniak's "Newcomer's Guide" - and indeed his entire festival website - should be viewed as the highly subjective document that it is, and taken with a grain of salt. Steve Wozniak does not speak for FolkWeek and is not party to any internal discussions or planning. Like the other 500 stewards who volunteer their time during the festival, his time is obviously valued but this position does not give him any special insight into the festival's planning or challenges. The ticketing guide Mr Wozniak has produced, for example, may well not reflect this year's system, as we are currently reviewing the whole ticketing structure.

There are no plans whatsoever to get rid of the Bulverton or to remove it from the season ticket. It is growing in popularity year on year with a wide age range of attenders. Sound control at the venue is the best it has ever been and we did not have a single complaint from residents this year that I'm aware of.


For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please keep an eye on the official festival website.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Girl Friday
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 01:44 PM

Steve - I've been on your website and thanks for all the links. It simplified matters considerably. My comments are:
1/ Possible removal of Supporters Club membership allowing use of the official campsite. I say - not good, as I am happy to partake in fringe activities and am not fussed about concerts: this is the only way to do my bit in supporting the festival.

2/ The Bulverton Arena- This would I think, be no loss to the majority of festival attendees. It is up a steep hill, not safe for disabled people, and only used by the yoof contingent. Our yoof was content to go to bed at 11.00 or 12.00, having tired himself out. I'm not surprised that the sound from it annoys the townsfolk. I have complained on this thread before about the yoof congregating outside the toilets all night too. Yes, charge for the Bulverton. It's not needed so it'd be even better to get shot. A quieter affair such as a sing around might be acceptable on the campsite itself. That's what I expected of the chill-out tent.
3/ If the supporters ticket is withdrawn I would stay on another, flatter site.
4/ We were told that you could busk on the seafront as much as you like. No you can't because of the traders taking up all the room.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 12:32 PM

I have now produced the first draft of a Newcomers' Guide to Sidmouth FolkWeek (Folk Festival).

This is available on my website together with many updated pages assessing the 2010 event.

Newcomers' Guide to Folk Week

If someone would like to check my sat-nav and postcode info - just to make sure it works!

I have also updated the camping page

campsites for Sidmouth

- some of the information on these pages was obtained from this forum - so thank you for that.

I'm not going to be rushing to update the material so take your time with comments!


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 05:30 PM

using 'enjoy england' website, 'tripadvisor' and googlemaps (search nearby-accommodation). Would usually use laterooms.com but really its 'early' rooms i want not late.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: JHW
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 05:22 PM

GUEST LDT are you looking at B&B sites or via TIC office?


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Bloke from Poole
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 07:24 AM

I thought it was downhill from Sidford to Sidmouth centre - and uphill coming back???


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 11:12 AM

If you walk from Sidford, take the scenic route down the footpath and cyclepath - not a bus or car in sight! Buses are every 30 minutes most of the day.

Sidford is perfect if you cycle - a safe cyclepath all the way into town, and no hills. Buses from Honiton to Sidmouth are every hour, about £3.20 single I think, but not late at night. Check late night bus services if you stay outside of Sidmouth, unless you can use your car - some places are impossible on buses (Ottery St Mary for one).

I agree costs mount up: one woman I know reckoned on close to £1000 for the week as a single person - £500 for Sidholme hotel (8 days) 150 season ticket, £30 Ham tickets, £120 travel, etc.

Luckily the festival was not this week - families camping on their summer holidays have been packing up and going home they are so wet through. Applies to Cornwall too - soaked through and nearly blown away.

There may be scope for a free list on the internet of B&Bs that only do folk week - I'll happily do one at no charge to the householders - I think the TIC charge people to be put on their supplementary list, maybe that is why more people don't do it.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 07:02 AM

I spent the week in Sidford one year , and walked in and out - Was passed by a Bus ONCE in the week !


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 05:56 AM

I'm looking at B&B's now and struggling. Might try looking in Exeter or Honiton as Sidmouth is out of budget unless I only do a weekend.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: JHW
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 05:40 AM

I came away this year with the TIC list of Hotels, B&Bs etc.
Weekly prices listed make some saving on daily rates but start about £200.
Getting a vacancy is another matter. The once I have B&Bd (with a none camping friend) we struggled to find somewhere booking in January (But did) Single B&B would be harder again.
I am though trying to decide I AM going next year and trying to find a B&B NOW.
Here's why. Campsite for just me, car and tent was £13 a night. One return bus trip makes £16. If I take or fetch the guitar and freshen for evening that's £19. With breakfast downtown say £24.
Being in town is probably worth half as much again...?


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 06:35 PM

It was apparently a documentary film as well: http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/262942

I doubt it is available for viewing these days on the internet but let me know if it is!!.

The Listener magazine called the book "Positiflea delightful."


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 06:25 PM

Thank you for the info about the Alpha bus by the way.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 06:16 PM

One of the reasons 'cheap and cheerful' B&Bs no longer exist is that to be 'approved' and appear on some internet listings you have to have ensuites (etc etc) and it all got a bit expensive for some owners - so they needed to put up prices to cover all the capital expenditure they were (in effect) forced to undertake in order to stay in business at all.

In the days when I stayed in lots of B&Bs I was quite happy with basic accommodation so long as it was clean. Also, so many people now expect 5 star comfort even from a simple B&B.

Here is a true story:

a friend of a friend stayed in cheap lodgings in London to save money. Got back home and started to itch. Turned out to be bed bugs. His whole house had to be treated - they apparently hide everywhere even inside wall sockets just waiting for their next meal. They can wait for more than a year at low temperatures. It makes your own tent seem quite atractive! Like TB, bed bugs are making a comeback.

I read a very interesting book years ago entitled "The Life that Lives on Man." It had wonderful pictures of the scabies mite including one of a mite in its burrow in human skin. I'm ITCHING to read it again.....

An out of date listing of B&Bs is here: http://www.seered.co.uk/hotels.htm

I may add 2011 prices if I get round to it.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 10:28 AM

I've been looking too. They all seem to be out of my budget. Might have to give in an camp...although somewhere with electric hook up.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Girl Friday
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 10:23 AM

I have been looking at Sidmouth's hotels and B and Bs. They are charging obscene amounts.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: JHW
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 09:42 AM

The Alpha bus does Thorn, Salcombe Regis, Oakdown and Kings Down Tail.
I've stayed at Salcombe Regis, a but plusher than King's Down Tail but much more crowded and all the site at King's Down Tail is flat.
At Salcombe Regis my pitch was sloping (though not as bad as at the official site where every time I awoke I was like a foetus at the bottom end of the tent).
I've used KDT lots of years. Making a late decision to come I came down Monday. Lots of folks go home Sunday night so while you might struggle to get a last minute pitch on Friday you'll probably be OK Sunday night.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 22 Aug 10 - 06:43 PM

Some comments are now loaded on Sidmouth's SeeRed website - they've been through several drafts and discussions locally and are now available on the web. start at page 139 and onwards to page 153.

Constructive ideas and further comments welcomed.

link here for 2010 pages: http://www.seered.co.uk/folk139.htm


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 04:06 AM

I agree that in a year of good weather any 'official' folk festival campsite would be hard to beat. The pity at Sidmouth is that the site is inherently unsuitable for camping - it has quite a slope over much of its area and the ground rapidly becomes waterlogged. In contrast, Towersey is broadly flat and, being on more chalky ground, it dries more quickly if there is rain. The view from Sidmouth festival campsite on a good day is second to none. There is a report in the local Sidmouth paper about the 'fringe' festival at Thorn Park campsite - I'll copy it to my webpages shortly.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,folkiedave
Date: 14 Aug 10 - 01:47 PM

I didn't use the festival campsite. I wanted a hook-up for my motorhome and I wanted good showers. I also wanted to avoid being towed out in case of bad weather from the official camp site. I have an expensive motorhome and I did not want to take a chance on it being damaged.

To answer Steve's question about the Alpha bus - on the way out - to the Radway turn right to Sidford, up the big hill(Trow Hill?) - takes a right for Salcombe halfway up the hill along some narrow roads, stops at Salcombe Regis Camping and then goes onwards. (We got off there). I understand there were two more camp sites afterwards. But I have no idea.

Inwards much the same except it comes down Fortescue and Sid road and then stops on Salcombe Rd by the bridge. A bit further than the festival campsite at a guess. Took us forty minutes approx. to walk on a more direct route for cars (Salcombe Regis Rd). but not suitable for the bus to go.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 14 Aug 10 - 10:23 AM

taps both drinking water and other were on the far side of toilets and well away from driving track up the field, so no danger of swamping the road. water butts come with wheels now making transport easier.

Sorry maybe I keep pressing for the festival campsite because it was fine weather and lovely experience for me. Hearing people singing, whistles, guitars, pipes and banjos, concertinas and even a trumpet while basking in the sun on a break was wonderful.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 10 - 08:45 AM

And if anyone wishes to know the things that can go wrong with old caravans and motorhomes my website offers a reliable guide. There is plenty of other advice available on the internet but few of these repairs should be attempted by novices.

Try this: http://www.seered.co.uk/top_of_caravans.htm


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 10 - 08:37 AM

A quick look at the internet confirms that caravan hire in peak season is from £40 per day or £250 per week even if you collect and tow it yourself. Hiring a decent sized campervan in peak season is more like £500 upwards per week.

In theory you can have hot showers in either but you'll need to transport all the water from distant taps to refill the tanks. Only large motorhomes have sizeable on-board water storage. Festivals generally don't allow repeat trips to fill up, it can churn up the roadways too much if everyone did it. And you have to dispose of the used water.

I bought an old caravan five years ago, did some work on it and it's still fine for festivals - main benefit being a balanced flue space heater! If you know what you are doing with gas systems, brakes, electrics etc you can do caravanning on the cheap. Otherwise it's £60 per hour even for simple repairs. But you do need somewhere to store the wretched thing the rest of the year. Buying a cheap motorhome is asking for trouble unless you are very good with DIY. You need to tax, MoT and insure it too. For most people - B&B makes a lot of sense in Sidmouth.

In summary, it seems there is scope to encourage more locals to do B&B during FolkWeek.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 01:07 PM

It is my understanding from other stewards that the campsite is much improved even from last year with a large hard standing at top and arrangements for tractors and 4 wheel drives to haul up any vehicles and caravans if need arose. So it looks to me from this one thing that a lesson was learned last year and solutions put in place. Brilliant having farm shop and hot food van at top of field too. Hope they add hot veg soup and crusty rolls for vegetarians. Another big plus the convenience of shuttle though sometimes crowded evenings returning to camp. They solved that immediately by putting on extra shuttle in the evenings. There was even a festival osteopath with massage table pitched near us.

We will continue to use festival campsite as long as we have a van, unless my physical state requires something more amenable. If/when that happens we will save for and book B&B early.   Next year we bring big awning so we have more living space. Was lovely sitting outside with muesli, strawberries and coffee in the mornings, surveying the camp and the hills beyond.

LDT I highly recommend stewarding. It provides nice break from festivalling and opportunity to make friends. Also there are companies that will deliver and collect caravans to and from festivals for you. You hire, they deliver, you use like self catering. You can have hot shower and limited electricity inside the van. Just a thought.

Oh just another thought. Could the festival (for a fee) help arrange those hired caravans? Too much work? Just thinking maybe another income generator, some how.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,cardboard cutout
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 12:00 PM

For Guest LDT

"I think I'll have to find myself a B&B."

I'm fairly sure there are B&Bs that will be cheaper than the actual hotels: they will get booked up a long time in advance, though.


"What would be the best combination of lets say 3-4 days to do? Is mid-week or weekend best to catch all the stuff going on?"

Mid-week has by far the more interesting stuff, in my opinion, although slightly less dance displays etc. on the sea-front.

Can't answer your stewarding query - don't know.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 11:25 AM

another question if you volunteer to steward do you have to be staying there the whole week to qualify?

and tickets the young adult ticket...do you have to be 24 still when it gets to august? (like if I bought the tickets when I was 24 but by time august came round I was 25 would I still get young adult ticket or need an adult one?)


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 11:13 AM

"I had a tour of the Sidholme Hotel the other day when I took a festival attendee to the airport (to save her a £28 taxi fare!). They seem to offer good value and have rooms free for next year. £62 for B&B and evening meal included and apparently no single room supplements. Meals are quite good too so I'm told. Other hotels were advertising B&B alone from £60 - likely with a supplement for a single person."

£60? That's £420 for a whole week...hmmm...might have to just do a couple of days then.
What would be the best combination of lets say 3-4 days to do? Is mid-week or weekend best to catch all the stuff going on?


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 10:54 AM

In reply to Guest LDT - I had a tour of the Sidholme Hotel the other day when I took a festival attendee to the airport (to save her a £28 taxi fare!). They seem to offer good value and have rooms free for next year. £62 for B&B and evening meal included and apparently no single room supplements. Meals are quite good too so I'm told. Other hotels were advertising B&B alone from £60 - likely with a supplement for a single person.

The main part of the hotel is rather grand - piano in the music room, vaulted ceilings, very 'Jane Austin' and only a short walk into town. They made themselves very unpopular with the Folk community a few years ago by cancelling a block booking (details on my unreliable website but all obtained from people who were directly involved!) but they happily accept individual folkies. Some people have been going there for over 10 years. I mention it only because I had a conducted tour a few days ago. The annex rooms are a bit naff - better go for the main building if you can afford it.

Maybe I should visit every available campsite and hotel and extend my unreliable photographic website record so as to be even more unhelpful to potential festival attendees?


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 10:39 AM

Quote: "the organisers were frantically trying to find spaces for some artistes this year"

"See, this is the reason why I have been disinclined to join in with these discussions and, in fact, to post links to your website on ours, Steve. The statement above is simply not true - a case of hearsay augmented by assumption, which is the case with many of the assertions on your website: a sliver of information plus a whole lot of conjecture often add up to conjecture being presented as fact".

Not so 'Ruth' . I had a discussion on this very topic with people who host in Sidmouth. Let's just say my knowledge of some of the facts seems to be different from yours - although you might have more complete information. And I live here all year too. Many people contribute views and information to my website to make it as rounded as possible.

As for promoting other campsites - you seem to have a rather narrow business model. Which is better - people coming and buying festival tickets and choosing not to use your campsite (because of what they have been told about it or have gleaned from arguably reliable and popular third party websites) or simply not coming at all?

Sidmouth people gain from B&B - do you resent this? Other campsites gain, and so does the festival, when people come who would not dream of using the official campsite because of age, infirmity, home comforts, etc.

Your attitude reminds me of the local people who resented the money Steve Heap sometimes made from the International Festival despite that every year they did well out of it themselves.

And whatever else you do - please don't tell me I am naive when it comes to finance and economics!!

This discussion is all about being helpful to newcomers - put yourself in the position of someone coming for the first time - would it be helpful to have lots of info in one place (or even with links to my website) rather than have to scratch around all over Google and tripadvisor (etc) to collate all the most relevant data?

Who is being naive?


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 09:33 AM

Finding this thread rather interesting as am planning on going next year (and maybe volunteer for stewarding). I've even insisted that my 'transport' book first week of august off as she has to book holidays a year in advance.


Being allergic to camping ;) (hate having to share public loo's/showers *shudder* and the grass makes me sneeze and a NEED electricity to charge up my stupid phone with short battery life) I think I'll have to find myself a B&B.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 09:01 AM

Malcolm: the TIC, who also act as our box office during the year, can happily direct festival-goers to the other accommodation available in Sidmouth, including campsites. Our website exists to promote the services and goods that we provide. It seems an amicable situation, and I don't think it is likely to change in the near future.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Rumncoke
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 08:42 AM

The showers in the Rugby club are always hot - I have been using the ladies side of them for decades.

Sure the floor can be muddy and there is a lingering odour of testosterone laden sweat until the ladies have been using them for a few days, but there is a broom cupboard if you really have to mop, I just use plastic shoes to cross the floor.

If you just need to refresh yourself and get changed then the Rugby club showers are fine - they were 50 pence a go.

You can sing 'The Oggy Man' to the buzz of the extractor.

The cricket club was reluctant to allow non campers to use the showers, the water was not all that hot and sometimes very cool, and they charged a pound a time.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Bloke from Poole
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 08:05 AM

Due to a problem with holiday/breakdown cover arrangements I couldn't steward this year, but I had made some enquiries: (as of early this year)

1) Cricket club don't take bookings, just turn up. The guy said they hadn't turned a camper van away yet. But then at £35 a night I don't suppose I would.
2) Rugby club are cheaper (£20? not sure) and take bookings during a fixed period, in the autumn as I recall. But they go very quickly.

I was looking forward to seeing the campsite improvements, after getting towed out last year. Some of the points I suggested were implemented, I believe (although not necessarily as a direct result!)

While I understand Ruth's comments, the festival campsite will never be to everyone's taste. I don't think some links to other local sites would be out of order.
The purpose of a business is, after all, to make money for its shareholders...

Malcolm
who made it for Friday morning and afternoon, and got unaccountably wet at an event that didn't happen.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 07:04 AM

"the organisers were frantically trying to find spaces for some artistes this year"

See, this is the reason why I have been disinclined to join in with these discussions and, in fact, to post links to your website on ours, Steve. The statement above is simply not true - a case of hearsay augmented by assumption, which is the case with many of the assertions on your website: a sliver of information plus a whole lot of conjecture often add up to conjecture being presented as fact. Our accommodation manager is amazing, and he lives in Sidmouth. He did a fantastic job of finding us accommodation for all the artists, and there was nothing "frantic" about it at all. We decided on a different approach to artist accom this year, and sent many of our artists who were only staying for one night to hotels in Exeter. This was partly to do with accommodation shortages in Sidmouth itself, but also because our hospitality team, who change beds and make up rooms in self-catering accommodation during the week, is small and worked very hard last year. In coming up with solutions, we ended up with over 100 bed nights in Exeter, which relieved greatly the pressure on the rooms available in Sidmouth. Again, there was nothing frantic, and this strategy was in place many months in advance.

With regard to the campsite: it costs us a lot to put in the infrastructure for our campsite. It is within the festival's financial interest to promote the campsite while it still has vacant space. It is quite ridiculous to think that we would promote or advertise the services of other campsites when our first concern is filling our own. The festival is a business and it needs to run as such. If you want to promote other campsites on your website that's entirely your choice, but the expectation that we would do the same is a bit naive.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM

Feedback is always useful for campsites - one social dance caller + his wife had an appalling experience on a local farm site and left after a couple of days to get accommodation out of town.

This type of info can be very useful to other people, especially newbies, and I'll be updating my camping page as appropriate.

If anyone can tell me the route taken by the Alpha bus and if it is a constant pattern year on year that would be helpful - I've never actually even seen one of them (rare species?).

The rugby club certainly book year on year for campervans - I know someone who does this. I'm surprised by the suggestion the CC does not. What happens to all those turned away and if the main festival site is full?

Better and firmer info would be useful to all, especially newcomers. I did try and interest the local press about doing an article asking people if they would be prepared to let motorcampers and/or tent campers use their lawns or driveways (some people do this year on year) but there was no interest.

A couple of people I know camp (tents) in gardens and use showers etc in the house, it works well and they have a secure and quiet base each year. If a register could be set up more households might participate - it might take custom away from the main campsite but competition generally serves to improve standards and encourage people to attend the festival, even if they don't use the official campsite.

Accommodation is an increasing problem - the organisers were frantically trying to find spaces for some artistes this year - one problem is that insurance companies are apparently taking a stronger line on letting private houses out for a week and refusing to provide cover. So fewer residents now do this.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 07:32 AM

thanks to Steve and Dave for these comments. Look forward to receiving comments on the ticketing system - this and box office arrangements are on the agenda for Autumn discussion.

any more comments from others?

Derek


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,folkiedave
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 06:19 AM

We camped at Salcombe Regis Camping and Caravanning and it very good. Excellent showers and constant hot water + electricity for the motorhome was a boon. (Not up to Caravan Club standards but still very good). It was recommended by a Sidmouth resident.

We used the Alpha Bus service which was basically hourly (with a meal/rest gap at lunchtime and evening). Last bus at 1.00 am which to be honest was a bit too early for a night owl like me). Drops off near the Radway/Swan and thus very handy.

Some of the Alpha services in the evening (late evening they are every 30 minutes or so) could be very crowded. But everyone got on and there was often some singing (generally "The Wheels of the Bus.......). The two drivers (husband and wife) were very friendly and the cost was £1.50 in each direction which was reasonable. No season ticket.

Apparently the Cricket Club is now £35.00 a night and I was assured could not be booked. Spaces are on a first-come, first-served basis. There may be a discount for a week. Whilst this is expensive (Five Star Caravan Club site is £20.20) it is very convenient and I would consider it for future years. I took a peek at the showers and they are communal but looked of high quality.

Don't know about the Rugby Club but the showers are rumoured not to be first class!!

A couple of years ago I discovered the Sailing Club showers paying (I think 50p a go. Don't know if that still goes.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM

I'll be sending suggestions for improvements to the festival website re: ticket ordering. So many people need particular aspects of the structure clarified that I would be a rich(er) man if I had a pound for every time I answered some questions!!


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 04:55 AM

A FAQ page or two would be a good idea - I've done some of them already on my camping page on the SeeRed website because so many people want to know about alternative campsites - where there is less mud, better showering facilities and less noise in the small hours. It is surely small minded not to include 'alternative' information that is of use to some festival attendees.

Try this http://www.seered.co.uk/camping.htm

Similarly people ask about the alpha bus that serves the Golf Club site - they get it confused with the festival bus service.

I've responded to queries about public transport with a page of my own including a bus map - it's proven useful to a few people.

link here http://www.seered.co.uk/busmap.htm

The official website has links to many other websites that are Devon folk linked - how about a link to mine?? If only the festival management could be so broadminded as to include all relevant links and views!

I've heard nothing but praise for the Ham and Bedford music by the way. I'll be publishing draft pages of discussion and a few photos later in the week, comments welcome as always - and I'll maybe work on a FAQ page of my own.

I hope you made a good profit this year - conditions were ideal.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 12:34 PM

Inspired in part by Cllr's original posting, and by meeting his American guests in the Bedford, late one night, I would like to work on a series of FAQs for the festival website. In other words, a newbie's guide.
So, what do you think should be included?
Particularly interested to hear from people who were new the the festival this year (and who bought a ticket).
Warning - I don't want loads of stuff about the fringe! Yes, one item might be "Are there any informal sessions? Answer - yes ..." plus some details.
So I am more interested in the main festival.
You can post your suggestions here (thoguh if it's slow, I may start a new thread), or email press @ sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk
thanks
Derek


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 12:26 PM

I'm glad Tug the Cox added the bit about being generous with the collecting tins. At the end of the day, the fringe stuff is there (and everyone enjoys it being there), only because the main festival exists. and that has to be paid for. Artists, marquees, people to run the festival 52 weeks of the year, publicity, etc etc........ The money collected in those tins are an important source of festival income. So thanks to everyone who contributed, musically and financially!
Derek


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 09:21 AM

The fish and chip shop between the Anchor and the Ship does good,, reasonably priced breakfasts etc.
There is so much good participative stuff on the fringe that it is easy to have a great week without going to any paid events...just be generous with the collecting tins.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: GUEST,Folkiedave
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 03:27 PM

I was being berated by a Morris man who said "We've seen you dance now sit there and watch us dance"! And you know I didn't see that particular berator doing any dancing! Did I Dave?

1. I had watched you dance. 2. I haven't danced for fifteen years, a combination of age and asthma. 3. I am now simply a mouthpiece designed to drum up a crowd.

My missus went to a different dance workshop each day. No problems. To be fair as a (non-dancing) member of a morris team booked for the festival I was delighted with the organisation of the (Morris et al) dance side of things.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: JHW
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM

I was asked in the street for a 'greasy spoon' cafe ie somewhere a bit cheaper. There was one in the market but that is now the 'original' factory shop. The Rugby Club used to do cheaper scran but moved over to catering for teams.

I've had decent enough meals but had to bite the bullet on price. Anyone find a bargain?


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: Old Vermin
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 01:26 PM

Having popped in and out for a day, only doing the real essentials, I am now struck by how much easier it was without camping or having a complex schedule.

I seem to remember that last year all went more-or-less OK for us for about two days from the Monday. It then started to fall apart with poor weather, interrupted sleep - just too many people being stupidly noisy at ridiculous times on the 'quiet' far end of the camp-site - and the Blackmore/High Street area being sealed off after the assault & rape. We ended up with most of our second book of workshop tickets unused.

Perhaps the trick is to do as little as possible. That said, I'm beginning to consider Folk Camps. We enjoy actually singing, dancing and playing a bit, but are getting a bit reluctant to pay money to sit still in crowded venues and listen to other people doing stuff.

Keep it simple? Are the best bits of Sidmouth free-ish?


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 01:02 PM

bum... I meant to put that last post in the comments thread. Guess I will copy and paste it there.


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Subject: RE: newbie guide to Sidmouth folk festival
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 01:01 PM

Unfortunately the first news letter ran out before we could get one and as stewards we needed it. We had to borrow the Ham box office copy and mark changes in our main programme. The lanyards for holding passes also gone and we arrived on Thursday 29 July well before festival started.

If possible, it might be good to have a different coloured lanyard (or armband) for stewards (even if we have to buy them) so there is a visible presence to punters who have questions/concerns. Someone mentioned to me that there should be more stewards in the high viz vests just wandering about town. But in the event you don't have enough stewards, then I for one have no problem stepping up to fill the one off needs when I am off duty. The special lanyard or armband would facilitate that.


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