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So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?

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As a matter of interest (Sidmouth Folk) (23)


GUEST,Guest 11 Aug 12 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Guest 11 Aug 12 - 09:52 PM
Leadfingers 12 Aug 12 - 04:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Aug 12 - 05:41 AM
Dick The Box 12 Aug 12 - 06:05 AM
Leadfingers 12 Aug 12 - 06:47 AM
Morticia 12 Aug 12 - 07:06 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 12 Aug 12 - 08:54 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 12 Aug 12 - 09:26 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 12 Aug 12 - 09:41 AM
Dick The Box 12 Aug 12 - 09:48 AM
Dick The Box 12 Aug 12 - 09:53 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 12 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 12 Aug 12 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Tatterfoal 12 Aug 12 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,moira(flyingcat) 13 Aug 12 - 07:52 AM
melodeonboy 13 Aug 12 - 10:13 AM
Tattie Bogle 13 Aug 12 - 10:36 AM
Will Fly 13 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,FloraG 13 Aug 12 - 10:44 AM
The Sandman 13 Aug 12 - 11:01 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Aug 12 - 11:33 AM
Herga Kitty 13 Aug 12 - 11:45 AM
The Sandman 13 Aug 12 - 12:41 PM
bubblyrat 13 Aug 12 - 12:50 PM
Herga Kitty 13 Aug 12 - 01:16 PM
Leadfingers 13 Aug 12 - 01:40 PM
Morticia 13 Aug 12 - 02:01 PM
Will Fly 13 Aug 12 - 02:46 PM
Morticia 13 Aug 12 - 03:12 PM
melodeonboy 13 Aug 12 - 04:54 PM
selby 13 Aug 12 - 05:38 PM
Herga Kitty 13 Aug 12 - 06:18 PM
treewind 13 Aug 12 - 06:38 PM
Tattie Bogle 13 Aug 12 - 07:32 PM
The Sandman 13 Aug 12 - 07:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Aug 12 - 09:51 PM
Will Fly 14 Aug 12 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,FloraG 14 Aug 12 - 04:42 AM
johncharles 14 Aug 12 - 04:59 AM
bubblyrat 14 Aug 12 - 05:00 AM
bubblyrat 14 Aug 12 - 05:03 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 12 - 05:13 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 12 - 05:22 AM
Dick The Box 14 Aug 12 - 05:38 AM
Acorn4 14 Aug 12 - 05:54 AM
Will Fly 14 Aug 12 - 06:00 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 12 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,watcher 14 Aug 12 - 08:26 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 12 - 09:00 AM
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Subject: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 11 Aug 12 - 09:47 PM

The new (current) management team are keen for as much feedback as possible regarding Sidmouth 2012.

Try to keep it simple and general rather than picky and personal.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 11 Aug 12 - 09:52 PM

Whoops - realised I have created a conundrum.

Sidmouth for you must be personal but it is general comments that are the most useful!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 04:20 AM

As I was purely fringe , and have been for most of the years I have been performing at The Newt , my comments will be of no interest to 'the committee' .


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 05:41 AM

My first Sidmouth for many years. not as international as I remembered it. It was nice meeting Leadfingers and Acorn 4. Nice to touch base with old mates paul Downes, Alan bell.

There wasn't the sort of stuff that I like at a folk festival - seminars on guitar technique. I thought the craft fair side was a bit crap compared to fylde.

The Duke Open mic was okay, but the PA was inadequate. The open nature of it made it possible for me to turn up and do a spot, but it also made it possible for an umpteen versions of Wonderwall.

I wasn't really tempted - must see -by the acts on offer. Yeh it was all like that really. Everything had the middle class little lion on the shell. The kids busking with the suzuki method violin - these are parents who really have NO idea what being a folk performer means. Says it all really.

In the 1960's and 70's my parents used to urge me to go to Sidmouth FF. But I knew it wasn't Bob Dylan even then. I'd met Ken Penny and his mates at the Jolly Porter, it was a hangout for the students at the Uni and St Lukes - nice kids with University scarves - boys smoked pipes with Holland House and the girls tried to look like Julie Felix. And even then I knew proper folk music had a bit more attitude than that.

And really Sidmouth has stayed in that groove. I doubt any of organisers go to folk clubs. So they wouldn't get to know about that guy who gives slide guitar seminars every year in the backroom of the Steamer at Fylde, outlaw characters like me and Paul Openshaw, or Jack hudson. Its not so much that Sidmouth has lost touch with the roots - it has different roots from the people in folk clubs.

It is what it is. It succeeds in its own terms. Surviving this long as a FF is a great achievement. But I can't see it ever touching base with commonality of English folk.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Dick The Box
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 06:05 AM

As a member of the Blackmore bar staff I found it incredibly frustrating that during the lunchtime/afternoon sessions the tent was practically empty but the gardens themselves were packed. Something must be done to get the punters in but it is next to impossible when there is so much free entertainment in the gardens, I would suggest that the lunchtime and afternoon slots should be open to all on a collection basis. More money would be collected (especially if the stewards were proactive in collecting) than is currently taken in entry fees, plus the bar profits (which in the blackmore all go to the festival) would be massively increased.

On the subject of people in the gardens, why are we not allowed to sell them drink? It is not a problem to get a license as it was done previously but not used. The ham marquee bar sells drink to the public without a problem so why not the blackmore bar? They all bring in drink anyway from supermarkets and other pubs so we are missing a very big trick. It would require minimal internal re-arrangement of the marquee but would massively increase footfall. The amount of money that the festival would gain from doing this would be thousands and thousands of pounds extra profit.

I also think that the festival is suffering generally from too many free ceilidhs, bands and entertainers i.e. at The Anchor and Dukes. You always used to be able to have a good festival as a singer or musician without buying a ticket by going to sessions and singarounds. Now you can do it as Joe Public. Why would you want to buy a season ticket when you can be entertained all week for nothing? You can't do much about private enterprise but letting the Anchor act as a free alternative all week is shooting yourself in the foot. I know that they are a platinum sponsor but I feel that the damage to the festival is not worth the money they put in. Time for a rethink and a scaling back to what it used to be?

Another annual gripe! The Sunday lunchtime battle between traders, dancers and holiday makers took place as usual. It creates bad feeling all round so why can't the road be closed from the Bedford to the Ham from 11 to 2? The dancers could dance on the road and the traders and non-folky strollers could use the promenade. Everybody happy - so why isn't it done?

Didn't see much of the festival apart from the Blackmore. Like most people who get a free ticket I don't actually use it very much! The general impression I got was that there wasn't the buzz or numbers of previous years. I know that the Olympics and the weather have had an effect but I don't think that that the whole story. The line-up wasn't very inspiring, especially with dance display teams. When you look at the line-up that festivals like Shrewsbury put together then Sidmouth needs to really go to town in order to compete. A weeks season ticket ticket might be good value but it is still more expensive than a weekend ticket elsewhere so it needs to be something special to make people want to pay that much!

Generally I think that the organisers have done a good job in getting the festival reined in and under control but there is a severe danger of it slowly dying financially unless a more radical approach is taken. Or maybe the days of week long festivals are over?

At this point I stand back and wait to be shot down :)


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 06:47 AM

from where I sit , it seemed that there were a lot of people who had bought tickets and or booked accomodation who WERE there for the festival - Several reports about Sold Out concerts - but the fair number who seem to come down 'on spec' and find a campsite out of town , then see where they wanted to spend their time , were put off by the weather forecasts as were a lot of the Day Trippers . Made more sense to save their pennies , stay dry , and watch the Olympics


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Morticia
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 07:06 AM

It was quiet and lacking in atmosphere in general. I was actually quite distressed to find out that the bands in the Anchor are sponsored by the festival, I had always imagined the pub paid them. What this means, as anyone who went in would know, was that the Middle Bar Singers were having to compete with heavily amplified noise from the gardens, often not even bloody folk noise, one night it appeared to be Shit Songs from the 70's Night. Surely there are other places more appropriate for that crap?

Now, I'm not stupid, I know the Anchor makes lots more money from the garden stuff and perhaps the festival gets a cut, I don't know? I do know that the singers, who, let's face it chaps, have been keeping the tradition of unaccompanied singing alive for 30 odd years in that pub are a disregarded and disrespected minority, which seems so against what I thought the Spirit of Folk and Folk Festivals WAS all about.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 08:54 AM

As a personal comment (and from someone who doesn't drink alcohol) the less that is sold the better, especially in a 'family and children' area such as Blackmore Gardens. Alcohol is maybe something that people are scaling back on in these lean times and (as a general health comment) it would do them no harm to reduce consumption on a permanent basis. This applies particularly to many young people, some of whom suffer liver problems at ages 25 to 30. I'd be happy to see Blackmore Gardens made alcohol free - rather than encouraging consumption merely to bring in a little more money.

The weather was almost ideal for dancing - not hot enough to make people head to the beaches in large numbers.

For serious dancers, the worst aspect of Blackmore Gardens was the appalling floor - covered in staples (all of which should have been removed before dancers started to complain), with various patches (tolerable if unwelcome) and worst of all the awful surface with no slip to it at all. It is a step forward (pardon the pun) for such a large venue to be used for so many social dance workshops but the floor produced dozens of complaints from fellow social and ceilidh dancers who (like me) started to suffer knee problems after a day or two. It was simply not suitable for purpose.

If Sidmouth was a short weekend festival then dancers could tolerate a few dances on such a floor and without injury, but for a week it simply needs to be better quality with a far superior (more shiny) surface and preferably without most of the other imperfections. I've never been to Whitby but one group of dancers told me I should try it as an alternative dance week to Sidmouth: referring to the Blackmore Gardens floor they simply remarked "We don't have rubbish floors like that". Towersey is only a week-end festival yet it often manages to have very good floors.

In contrast, the floor at the new Stowford Rise venue was fantastic. For serious dancers the floor is all important - this is something that maybe the organisers fail to understand. Many people (including me) went home variously injured from spending hours dancing on the Blackmore Gardens floor. Such an experience is hardly likely to encourage people to return. And (despite the fact that the festival organisers may deeply disapprove of the process) we do talk to each other.

There were many other problems (often easily fixable) but it is disappointing that they occur year after year despite being well reported.

As for sponsorship, I don't know what are the cash amounts involved in Platinum/Silver etc levels and how they compare with the net profits made by the various venues and car parks. Only if such figures were made freely available would it be possible to analyse in any detail the extent to which various venues were a net asset to the festival.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 09:26 AM

"why can't the road be closed from the Bedford to the Ham from 11 to 2? The dancers could dance on the road and the traders and non-folky strollers could use the promenade. Everybody happy - so why isn't it done?"

Sidmouth Town Council is largely controlled by traders and their allies - they are collectively dim enough to believe that the more cars we have in Sidmouth the more money will be spent hence the more PROFIT they will make. Never mind the environment along the Esplanade which is one reason people come to Sidmouth - to listen to the sea instead of the traffic in central Birmingham.

The Drill Hall (used by the festival in the old days) may be demolished to make way for yet more car parking as in interim measure before flats are bullt there. There is a small group in Sidmouth fighting this - but they don't maybe realise that all public consultation exercises are a sham and the decisons as to what to do will have already have been made.

Closing the Esplanade to all but essential traffic (which would be limited to 3 mph) during all of all summer days at least would be a good idea - but one of our local county councillors (recently disqualified for being a drunk driver) is dim enough to believe that closing the Esplanade to traffic would make Sidmouth seafront 'die' - she really has said that more cars means more people means more life around. Faced with such mindsets - and a local population that would vote for a stuffed pilchard if it had a blue rosette, little progress is likely to be made.

I'll shut up now.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 09:41 AM

"More money would be collected (especially if the stewards were proactive in collecting)"

I believe it is actually illegal to rattle a collecting tin or bucket. Apparently it counts as intimidation and/or begging. There was a long discussion about this in Sidmouth many years ago, and I beleive the law is unchanged.

You are allowed to stand still and look appealing and to hold out the tin (or bucket) but not rattle it or ask for donations.

As with motorhomes parked all the way up the Bickwell Valley or amplified music at various places, the law is never likely to be enforced in FolkWeek, but that is the position as I understand it.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Dick The Box
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 09:48 AM

To follow up on Steve's comment about alcohol, the bar sells as much non-alcoholic drink as alcoholic. If the bar was opened up to customers outside of the marquee then I would expect as many, if not more, non-alcoholic sales. The bar is run extremely professionally, with rigorous ID checking, and in all the years I have been on the volunteer bar staff we have never had a problem with drunkenness and bad behaviour. I see the bar as a service to the festival goers and a means of raising money for the festival, and if we can do more in both areas then I think that would be a good thing. Better they buy from a well run festival bar than from the Coop.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Dick The Box
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 09:53 AM

Regarding the collecting, if it is a collection at a concert i.e. not on a public highway, then I do not see how it can be illegal? Maybe a lawyer amongst our readers could comment. I merely meant that leaving a bucket on the side for people to ignore is not as good as going round the event or approaching them face-to-face as they come in.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM

Selling only inside the venue surely keeps most litter, glasses, beakers etc largely contained. Selling more widely might mean people expect somewhere to sit with their drinks (and Blackmore Gardens is pretty full now!) If the trade was brisk it might upset the pubs who sponsor the festival - but by how much in relation to their trade? You'd also surely increase the litter clearing problem within the Gardens. And some families may welcome the 'alcohol free' ambience.

Soft drinks sales might conflict with the lemonade sellers too? They have to pay a tidy sum for their pitch?


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 06:41 PM

I must say that I appreciated the Anchor dance sessions. Good bands, good callers, and I donated what I thought was value for our enjoyment! I found that many events, especially the evening ones, were very expensive by my own lights and some of the dance selection was rather precious, eg an evening of dances chosen because they were named after people or places.
On the other hand, the Radway was as enjoyable and as sociable as ever. I onjly wish our local session was as inclusive. Oh, well there's always next year .... ..


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 08:04 PM

The new dance venue was good for dancing but felt totaly devoid from the festival and the £4 each way did not go down well, also waiting for the bus put us back into Sidmouth after all the sessions were winding up, after our first excursion there we made a point of staying away so as not to encourage any repeat. If the ceilidh dancers want a good floor put them in the Stowford and put Contras on in the Blackmore no complaints from any of these dancers.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,moira(flyingcat)
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 07:52 AM

well, I had a brilliant time at Sidmouth,no complaints. All the events I would normally attend were fantastic and I am already looking forward to next year.

I don't think there were quite as many people around and I agree the recession and the olympics were a big influence on attendance.

There will always be some things that need a bit of tweeking but I hope those of you who have fed back here notify the festival organisers on the feedback forms.
M


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 10:13 AM

I had a great time, as always.

As above, I also feel that the amplified sound from the garden of the Anchor is disruptive when you're trying to listen to an unaccompanied singer in the Middle Bar sessions.

I don't quite get Al's point about the festival only being for middle-class people or that the people who attend don't usually go to folk clubs. I can only speak for the people that I know, but I meet a lot of people there that I know from Kent, and every single one of them regularly attends one or more local folk clubs in Kent. And they're certainly not all middle-class!

By the way, I thought the refurbishment of the Bedford was a bit naff; especially the lighting!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 10:36 AM

The Bedford new decor was very bland (grey and white), and while it looked otherwise very smart, the "opening up" effect on the room made it much more noisy (from those by the bar!) for those of us trying to play, or especially, sing, at the session end of the room. I therefore went there much less often than I used to. I really enjoyed Rosie's sessions at the York and Faulkner, which I went to most night after concerts: a wide variety of songs and tunes with a listening audience, but no shortage of fun and banter!
Mornings were for workshops: John Kirkpatrick's and Nick and Mary Barber's both being excellent, lunchtimes for the Middle Bar singing - and yes, that music in the Anchor Gardens is FAR TOO LOUD! (and not just because it interrupts our singing). Hope they issue the dancers with ear plugs if they don't want to sustain noise damage to their ears!
Enjoyed all the concerts I went to: didn't buy a season ticket this year as we had to go home on the Thurs, but between concerts and workshops probably spent nearly as much.
I'd like to commend the support acts, who were really excellent: Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, The Voice Squad (tho' for me, this concert with Dervish was a double header), and The Finest Kind were all superb. Anyone who didn't bother to arrive until the break missed a real treat.
As usual, there were some difficult choices to make, and sorry if I did not go and see most of my Scottish friends, as I can see them easily enough nearer home. There was one lovely moment in the Bedford when I was playing "Barnyards of Delgaty" on my box, and both Geordie Murison and Joe Aitken walked through - Geordie's face appeared around a pillar, grinning from ear to ear!
And the other surreal moment was coming down to the Anchor ground floor to find ahe usual Irishy session going on right under a huge TV screen where Andy Murray was in the process of beating Federer - tunes went on regardless (shades of the Titanic, except that there was no disaster this time!?)


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM

Well I'm just back from Sidmouth and Exeter after taking a half-share in a B&B with Melodeonboy (thanks Kev - very nice). I went out of curiosity and didn't go to any of the concerts. I had a listen in at some of the sessions and had a little play or three at the Newt under the eagle eye of Leadfingers, so my impressions are, I'm sure, are purely personal, biased and probably not typical.

I walked up to the Radway after dinner one evening - I'd read quite a bit about it - and I frankly thought although some of the playing had some drive to it, a lot sounded uninspired. No-one at that occasion looked as they were moved by the music or even enjoying it. Why, I even looked at the Olympics on the TV - and I hate sport. Ironically, on the way back to the seafront, I heard the strains of "I Heard It On The Grapevine" coming from the Dukes bar. This turned out to be 'Mama Stone's House Band' playing that evening - and a great band it was. The crowd was jumping. Bit of a contrast there... Then I walked past the Black Horse, where a 4-piece rockabilly-style outfit were giving it some welly - full of life, full of fun, full of energy. Not 'folk', I'm afraid.

During the week I kibbitzed on sessions in the Bedford and the Anchor - again very mixed. I was looking for energy, musicianship, fun - and I realise that sessions cater for mixed abilities - but I just didn't have the urge to get in among it all. I'm not making myself out to be any great shakes, by the way, I just expected to see a bit of spirit and I didn't happen to see much of it. Perhaps I went at the wrong times.

However, I did see and hear some great music on the seafront during the day. I was walking back from the Ham about 11 one morning and there was a woman sitting on the low wall and playing the violin. She was superb - beautiful intonation, lovely tone, great playing. I went over and complimented her and asked if she was playing in any of the sessions. She shook her head and said she was down to play for some dancers. I saw her again the same evening, playing across the road from the Bedford, with a guitarist - just as great.

I saw a couple of great Morris teams - one being a blacked-up border team on the seafront with a cracking band behind them - and some good physical rapper dancing near the Ham.

The sun came out on Wednesday, and Thursday was a scorcher (went to Exeter on Friday). The seafront was awash with music and people, traders were trading, and everything looked great. Nice place. I might even go again, but not in folk week. As for alcohol, Doombar at £3.55 a pint is taking the piss, great beer though it is. The non-musical highlight of the week for me was a pan-fried John Dory in Neil's Restaurant. Cheers, Neil!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 10:44 AM

We went to some of the concerts. The voice squad was the highlight for us with the jazz a close second. The organisation and PA was fine.
I liked the dancing at the anchor -picked up a few tips for my calling.
We went to a session at the Bedford but it was spoiled a bit by some musicians playing too loudly during the singing.   The Swan was better for sessions except for one afternoon when they had a band inside with an over loud base.
I was disappointed by so many stalls down the front selling tat. My memory of the front from a few years ago is of dancing and a few buskers but even more musicians just playing there for the joy of playing. There was not room for that this year.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 11:01 AM

I find Sidmouth a little bit irrelevant, but I am glad lots of people had a good time, it must be better than sitting in fromnt of a tele watching crap like the olympics, at least people are doing something creative, you know making music, fornicating


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 11:33 AM

Speaking of meals - I had an awful meal in Sidmouth. It sounded great. carbonara pasta with cheese and chicken - sounded really fancy, But the pasta was boiled to slush - really watery and tasteless. you obviously have to know where to go in Sidmouth. Not cheap either - £9.50. A diet coke was £1.70 and he poured a small amount into a glass from a from a quid bottle.

Forget what I said - I was probably going the wrong places and pissed off on account of the meal.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 11:45 AM

Sidmouth has always had a problem finding suitable venues for different kinds of events. There is no point whinging about noise in or from pubs and pub gardens, since these are working pubs not dedicated concert or dance venues - and at least the ceilidhs and concerts in the Anchor garden in particular do include festival guests.

A lot of people come because they enjoy the fringe and are willing to put money in collecting tins. Doing away with free events wouldn't result in increased ticket sales.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 12:41 PM

There is no point whinging about noise in or from pubs and pub gardens,
why not whinge?, if somebodys experience has been ruined., they are telling the truth, warning people as to what they might expect.
when the efdss started the festival, sidmouth was as dead as a dodo.
as a result of the festivals success, pubs have cashed in on the festival goers, overcharging people for pasta, putting on music that is not compatible with the original festivals aims.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 12:50 PM

We had a great time ,despite the wet weather at the beginning of the week . But Oh dear ! -How the esplanade has changed to what it used to be ( like back in the 60s & 70s ). Far too many stalls nowadays, with the stall-holders' vans clogging up the road, and then there's the misery of the dreaded "Birdie Whistles" . Personal highlights for me were a very good Irish session one afternoon in the Anchor ,several American " Old Time" sessions in the new venue that I / we arranged with Colin in the Bedford , ie his downstairs "Pynes " or "Jack's" Bar : Debbie McClatchie dropped in several times , to our delight ! And , one afternoon ,in the same venue , a brilliant unaccompanied , mainly sea-shanty -type singalong. Perhaps the "Middle Bar " singers would be much happier there ?? The acoustics are good ,and there is room for a large number of singers / musicians.Colin showed his appreciation in the usual way . ie chicken,sausages,chips and jugs of beer ; thanks, Colin !
               I also enjoyed playing for "Wild Thyme" Morris a couple of times , and extra-curricular activities included visits to Seaton Tramway , Exmouth, Bicton Gardens ,and a boat-trip on the " Fanny Bowser" that takes passengers off Sidmouth beach, along the "Jurassic Coast " .And Brass Monkey were superb, as usual , as indeed were Mary Humphries, Anahata ,Nick Barber and Mary Barber, playing on the esplanade . No ,it wasn't the Sidmouth of old, but it was still a memorable experience !


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 01:16 PM

GSS - Morticia was whinging that a programmed event in the pub garden was interfering with her enjoyment of a fringe event inside the pub. The ambient noise problem is one that the Middle Bar Singers have had to contend with ever since they (we)started singing in the Anchor, not to mention the noise from people inside the pub until the singing moved upstairs from the bar. It's not a problem that the festival organisers can be expected to remedy. I think the Anchor is currently achieving a reasonable balance between the competing groups of singers, musicians and general public.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 01:40 PM

Some of the bands in the Anchor Car Park were definately far too loud , as were some of the bands in Dukes . Indoors and 100 yards(ish) away , several times all we could hear was The Bass .


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Morticia
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 02:01 PM

I'm so sorry you feel I was 'whinging' Kitty, I thought we had been asked for feedback and I gave mine.

You may feel it is a 'reasonable balance',you are of course entitled to an opinion and I will have the courtesy to respect yours without using such emotive and perjorative terms.

Personally, I fail to see why a folk festival needs to have rock bands, I thought there were lots of festivals all over the country that host rock and even dubious 70's pop. I do not see how they connect with Sidmouth Folk Week, nor why the festival organisers finance said bands and I said so.

For all I know there is good explanation as to why they are there and perhaps if so, someone with better manners might explain it to me. Or not,of course.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 02:46 PM

Morticia, I was told (by a Sidmouth resident) that the Dukes bar pays for the rock bands itself - they're not part of the official festival - and that the bar makes more money from the music in folk week than in the rest of the year.

Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but that's what I heard.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Morticia
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 03:12 PM

I don't know about Dukes, Will, I was referring to the Anchor, which I am informed, has it's bands paid for by the festival. They are a business and in their shoes, I would take the opportunity to make that kind of money too, I would simply like to know why the Festival organisers think it to be a good idea.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 04:54 PM

Thank you, Tattie Bogle, for reminding me about the York and Faulkner.

Rosie's and Taff's sessions at the York and Faulkner were great. Well run, welcoming, warm, friendly, and with more than a dollop of humour!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: selby
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 05:38 PM

reading this thread, I am thinking of coming to Sidmouth next year for the first time are there any concerts?


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 06:18 PM

Sorry Morti, I shouldn't have said "whinging" - and I wasn't in the Anchor every night, so may not have heard the worst of the loud bands!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: treewind
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 06:38 PM

Selby - there are concerts all over the place! They haven't been mentioned much here because it seem the majority of mudcatters are more interested in sessions and singarounds on the fringe.

Go to this page on the Festival web siteand download the Full 2012 programme (it's a sizeable PDF) and you'll find what you missed!

Sidmouth is several festivals in one - you can spend all week in singing sessions, or in music sessions, or in concerts, or in dance workshops, or in ceilidhs etc.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 07:32 PM

I'm with Morticia re the bands in the Anchor Gardens as I indicated in my post above. I was only in the "Middle Bar" at lunchtimes (and I don't think you were there then Kitty, or not often?), so can't speak for the evenings, but I'd love to have had a db meter on the sound that was coming through CLOSED windows - as for what it must have been like out there in the garden, I dread to think! There is just NO NEED for such ramped-up volume: we managed perfectly well 15 years or so ago when I used to go to the Anchor Gardens ceilidhs: we could hear the music and the caller at a much lower level of sound. They should fit noise limiters which would cut them off in full flight if they went over a critical level. If you want to wreck your hearing just keep going to the ceilidhs and Dukes!
Selby, I mentioned concerts too: there are loads of them, in numerous venues. Also forgot to mention the Fay Hield band: what an array of talent! Hubby John Boden, Andy Cutting, Robert Harbron, etc


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 07:34 PM

I don't know about Dukes, Will, I was referring to the Anchor, which I am informed, has it's bands paid for by the festival. They are a business and in their shoes, I would take the opportunity to make that kind of money too, I would simply like to know why the Festival organisers think it to be a good idea.
Morticia, Idoubt if you will get an answer let alone a logical answer


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 09:51 PM

Sidmouth is a very nice place - why wait til next year. I've always loved the place. theres always some folkmusic in Devon - no need to wait til theres a festival.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 04:22 AM

Agreed, Al - it looks like a nice place indeed, and I noticed posters for regular music events and sessions in pubs throughout the year. Very tempting to go for a week out of the 'folk season', stay in a good hotel and just enjoy the town and the area.

We took a boat cruise around the 'Jurassic coast' for 45 minutes - calm blue sea, bottle-nosed dolphins, the red cliffs, hot sun - great way to spend part of an afternoon. And the museum, which is getting a new volunteer organiser very soon, was interesting too.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 04:42 AM

I think I am stating the obvious but the town of Sidmouth, and the folk world in general) need to keep an eye on the overall costs.   Paying for accomodation, parking, tickets, then drinks - ouch.
There are always other festivals.

I think it an excellent idea to ask all sound engineers to keep the noise to a minimum necessary, and remind them frequently.

I should have liked to have come accross Debie Mclatchy in a session -perhaps more of the concert performers could be encouraged to do drop ins as part of the expectation of the festival.   

However, if I could have one thing, clear the front of stalls.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: johncharles
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 04:59 AM

up north Doombar is £2 85 a pint. A bargain.
john


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 05:00 AM

Yes Flora , but .....Debby was in some way contractually obliged to remain in Sidmouth for the rest of the week after she'd done her concert(s), which is why she came to some of "our" ( I am not an "Old Time" musician per se ,just someone who likes it )sessions. She is a very good fiddle-player too , with an infectious enthusiasm for the music she loves.
                   I , too, went to the Anchor garden and was horrified by the dreadfully loud,distorted ,over-amplified , bass-dominated attempts at Blowzabella-type tunes perpetrated by some indescribably awful band ! The sullen,morose-looking "Security" men ,constantly gazing at the mobile 'phone screens didn't help to lift the occasion ,either.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 05:03 AM

........or indeed "their" mobile 'phone screens !


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 05:13 AM

How pleasing to see some further sensible discussion of excessive sound levels at Sidmouth FolkWeek.

There has been some discussion in the pages of Set & Turn Single magazine - some of the letters are on these webpages:


initial letter from me and further correspondence as follows:


reply to my initial letter


further letter from me

The editor is keen to continue the debate - so do please air your views. I only experienced the DIN from Dukes in the run up to the final torchlight parade. It was just absurdly loud.

The festival organisers do not seem to realise (or care) that they are losing significant amounts of money because many dancers (social and ceilidh) simply do not wish to be deafened - they want to dance to a reasonable volume and be able to enjoy the music as they dance.

It is certainly possible for bands to 'turn it down' and not lose any of the instruments - Tickled Pink are known for being very loud (and they seem to be proud of being so silly) but in the first half hour of event 109 (Blackmore Gardens, first Friday) their music was simply fabulous to dance to. Yet by 8pm they had ramped it up so much that some people (including me) simply left.

It's such a pity - when turned down to a sensible level they are one of the best ceilidh bands.

I only went to the Anchor once - to hear the English String Band with Dave Hunt calling. Very good they were too - I did the initial polka and that was enough for my knees afetr suffering Blackmore Gardens dance floor all week.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 05:22 AM

I don't drink (so I don't keep abreast of prices) but one chap told me he was never coming to Sidmouth again because lager was £3.65 a pint.

How much was it in Blackmore Gardens?


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Dick The Box
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 05:38 AM

No draught lager (can't do everything!) but bottles (selection of 5) were £2.50

Festival ale (Brains IPA) was £3 a pint and the others (Brains SA, Skinners Betty Stoggs and Butcombe) were £3.10 a pint

Also had farmhouse cider at £3 a pint


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Acorn4
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 05:54 AM

We normally started with the morning singarounds at the Y and F and finished up there at gone 12.00 doing the rounds of the pubs in between.

If someone would hire out beds or comfortable benches where you could grab a half hour of sleep mid-afternoonish they would make a fortune.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 06:00 AM

The deckchairs were abundant and reasonably cheap...


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 06:01 AM

The email addresses for the editor of Set and Turn Single magazine are:

chrisdancing AT aol.com

or use

editor AT setandturnsingle.org.uk

Obviously you remove the AT (and spaces either side) and replace it by @

It is mainly for social dancers and local dance clubs but there is quite a bit of discussion of festivals , especially those (few) where there is a substantial dance element.

The September issue has already gone to press but the copydate for the November issue is 10th October.

If like me you are getting tired of the stupidly loud sound levels of some bands then please write and say so.

Having 500 complaints from Sidmouth residents next year might help too.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,watcher
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 08:26 AM

So far, Steve in sidmouth has complained about having beer in Blackmore (unpaid staff and all profit goes to the festival),
the dance floor (admittedly not perfect but the display sides all coped and the evening ceilidh-goers were tolerant),
and the volume of the rock-style ceilidh bands (which attract a younger audience, and very few bands were deafening, less than the northwest cloggies).
The stewards handled the sitation well, and the bar staff seemed to have equipment to deal with any eventuality and were always cheerful and helpful.

Surely the answer is for him to go to the many "social dance" events at St Teresa's and Stowford Rise where there are excellent permanent floors, cups of tea available, and quiet trios and duos.
Leave us to enjoy our ceilidhs and show our appreciation the efforts of the organisers, stewards and barstaff,


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 09:00 AM

I thought it wouldn't be long before a pathetic little troll appeared.

His/her errors so far:

I have never complained about beer in Blackmore Marquee - just pointed out it might not be universally welcomed all over the Gardens area. Any type of drink is always a nuisance if spilt on dance floors but it was never a problem in Blackmore.

Blackmore was used extensively for social dance events (workshops etc) because of the smaller venues being too crowded in previous years. There were more 'social dance' hours in there than the evening ceilidh events and probably more social dancers using the venue than ceilidh dancers? So both groups have a right to comment.

As for ceilidh goers being tolerant - depends on who you speak to - just your little in-crowd of fellow trolls presumably?

The floor in St Teresa's is not excellent - it is too hard - but at least it has some spin to it.

There were some complaints (not from me) about excessive volume of one social dance band.

Pleased to see so many people are now complaining about Dukes, Anchor etc and their sound levels.

I prefer to dance mainly ceilidh - so they are 'mine' as much as they are 'yours' little troll.

And I don't generally drink tea either - except on very special occasions of course.

One further complaint - why no chocolate bars (etc) for sale up at Bulverton?


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