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So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?

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Sidmouth 2012 (27)
As a matter of interest (Sidmouth Folk) (23)


melodeonplayer 07 Sep 12 - 05:58 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 07 Sep 12 - 05:28 PM
melodeonplayer 05 Sep 12 - 05:00 PM
VirginiaTam 01 Sep 12 - 09:13 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Aug 12 - 05:10 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 31 Aug 12 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,SoundMan 31 Aug 12 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,FloraG 31 Aug 12 - 04:20 AM
GUEST 30 Aug 12 - 08:45 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Aug 12 - 03:59 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 30 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Simon 30 Aug 12 - 11:50 AM
GUEST 29 Aug 12 - 03:30 PM
Girl Friday 29 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,FloraG 29 Aug 12 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,SoundMan 28 Aug 12 - 11:07 PM
Leadfingers 25 Aug 12 - 07:46 PM
Tattie Bogle 25 Aug 12 - 07:42 PM
JHW 20 Aug 12 - 08:03 AM
Tug the Cox 16 Aug 12 - 07:32 PM
Girl Friday 16 Aug 12 - 06:44 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM
Dave Earl 16 Aug 12 - 11:51 AM
Girl Friday 16 Aug 12 - 11:50 AM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 12 - 10:54 AM
Tug the Cox 16 Aug 12 - 10:22 AM
Essex Girl 16 Aug 12 - 09:33 AM
Will Fly 16 Aug 12 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 16 Aug 12 - 08:04 AM
JHW 16 Aug 12 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Jemma Gurney 16 Aug 12 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,FloraG 16 Aug 12 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,john presscot 15 Aug 12 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Tatterfoal 15 Aug 12 - 01:10 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 15 Aug 12 - 07:24 AM
GUEST 15 Aug 12 - 05:07 AM
bubblyrat 15 Aug 12 - 04:44 AM
bubblyrat 15 Aug 12 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,FloraG 15 Aug 12 - 04:27 AM
Chris_S 14 Aug 12 - 02:59 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 12 - 02:43 PM
Will Fly 14 Aug 12 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Lady Mondegreen 14 Aug 12 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Jon Heslop 14 Aug 12 - 01:17 PM
Dave Earl 14 Aug 12 - 12:35 PM
Tug the Cox 14 Aug 12 - 12:00 PM
Acorn4 14 Aug 12 - 11:51 AM
Leslie Butler 14 Aug 12 - 11:49 AM
Tug the Cox 14 Aug 12 - 11:10 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 14 Aug 12 - 09:53 AM
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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: melodeonplayer
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 05:58 PM

Hi Steve,
Well, in response, i would rather have a room full of "kids" dancing to us than someone as obviously unhappy about the volume as yourself, so in future do me a favour and don't bother coming to any more of our gigs. Reading some of your rants, it strikes me that you have no/little interest in english ceilidh being open to anyone who feels like having a go at it. Which goes completely against everything i believe. It is not an elite sport for a few self proclaimed experts.
Regards
Simon


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 05:28 PM

If other bands are louder than you are then they will be keeping even more people away. At your Exeter ceilidh last year(?) (Great Western) the organisers asked me as I walked in if I knew it was you and did I have my earplugs?!

As it happens you were fine for a while - very good music, then it got too loud to make dancing comfortable. Dancers by and large don't want the same volume as kids who want to be blown out of their minds.

I can assure you people do stay away. I'm writing up more comments on Sidmouth and other festivals in due course and you are free of course to disagree as you wish.

There is little logic in some of your statements but I'll leave those for now.

regards.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: melodeonplayer
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 05:00 PM

Dear Steve of Sidmouth,
For your information, because you seem to think that a band (namely Tickled Pink) is responsible for "ramping" up the sound levels at its gigs, at the gig in question, we made no request for the levels to be raised during the gig. This decision was made entirely by the engineer on the night, based on the reaction of the audience.
You imply that people left because of the volume. I can inform you that from the stage it was apparent that numbers only increased throughout the evening.
I thank you for your comment about us being a fine ceilidh band, but by its very nature Tickled Pink is a rock band that requires a certain PA level to balance out the volume of the drums acoustically.
Can i also politely point out that throughout any tickled pink gigs we are always safely within the designated volume levels set out by the relevant authorities. being 98db average throughout the period of the gig.
I hope you will desist from constantly having a dig at us when many bands in other venues at other festivals this year play at much greater volume. After 21 very successful years as a band, i am afraid you appear to be in a very small minority.
Yours sincerely
Simon Care


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 09:13 AM

I am still sorry I missed it. Very unwell. :-( Hoping next year I am feeling better.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:10 PM

I thought it was one of the nicest things about Sidmouth - seeing children and people who had never danced before -'having a go'.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:32 AM

There was little wrong with any of the callers at Towersey. One or two rather like the sound of their own voices - we stand around whilst tiresome joke after joke is endured (and we've heard them all before), others like Nick Walden talk very fast (but very clearly) and you just have to listen. But with so many inexperienced dancers and/or people who won't or don't listen, nothing but simple dances can ever be called with any expectation of success - which is rather a shame because people never experience anything else. Most of the experts at Towersey huddle in their own corner of the dance floor - surely they must be bored sick of such simple repetition? There wasn't a single ceilidh dance at Towersey I couldn't do in my sleep.

There is a thought provoking letter in the latest EDS - suggest you read it or if you don't have access I can put it on my website for a few days. A frustrated young woman asks at a wedding dance "Do you do any dances without rules?' She was having problems doing a simple figure of eight.

So let's throw away the rules for dances and do any old thing we feel like - and maybe musicians could do the same? Then we'd all be free of any need to learn anything. Oh and let's throw away the Highway Code as well. It would be so much more fun on the roads.

The point is really that once youngsters do bother to learn a few basics they enjoy themselves far more - and are less of a nuisance to experienced dancers. Many times I have rapidly explained moves to groups of youngsters - and most respond very positively to being told how to get it right (even if I do snap at them to shut up and listen).

The problem is that they seem not to want to put in any effort to learn - by attending the workshops that are aimed specifically at beginners. Often these are populated more by experienced dancers who go along to help new comers - but there are so few there to help! Maybe the problem is that these workshops (eg session 103 at Towersey) are often held early mornings when youngsters are still in bed? But the equivalent session at Sidmouth (session 102) was at 2.45pm with Kerry Fletcher. There were only 21 people these to start with increasing to 30+ in a hall capable of taking 70+ - and there were hardly any youngsters.

Maybe an extended three or four hour 'learn and practice' session on the first evening instead of a normal opening ceilidh might attract more of them? Learn simple moves in the first half hour, do simple dances for half an hour, learn more moves, do more advanced dances, build up to quite complex dances at the end of the four hours?

I'll volunteer to do the teaching (free of charge) and some calling of the more complex dances. Someone else can call the simple dances while I partner some newcomers.

And don't say I never make positive suggestions!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,SoundMan
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:14 AM

Thank You FloraG..I am glad you enjoyed the mix, I will be the first to admit its not always ideal, as you may have noticed due to the permanently open to the public nature of the venue, and the short changeover times, I don't get to do a proper soundcheck, at best its a quick line check, balance check and then go, the first time the audience get to hear the band play properly is also the first time I do, so the first few songs of the set are essentially the soundcheck, and the mix can be a bit rough at first. Unless I have been given specific instructions, or have an associate of the band on hand, I have to second guess what I think the band want to sound like. During the brief line/balance check I tend to concentrate more on getting the foldback mix, that the band hear in their monitors, right for them, my theory being that if the band can hear themselves they will play better and more cohesively, which should then make the job of getting a good front of house mix for the audience easier, as if a band isn't making a cohesive sound no amount of knob twiddling is ever going to make it sound good.
The sound for a band playing at the ceilidh dances will often be different from the same band playing a concert, as I try and find the instrument playing the rhythm that the dancers are dancing to, often its the melodeon, and have that a little higher in the mix, so the dancers can keep time easier. I feel this is especially important at the Anchor, as the dancers there are often less well practiced, many being holidaymakers 'giving it a try', there are often many children, and also more alcohol may have been consumed by the participants than at other venues. For the same reason I also have the caller a louder than may be normal, so the dancers can hear the instuctions clearly above the music and general noise of the pub, to try and avoid a 'train wreck' on the dance floor, especially given the unforgiving and less than ideal tarmac surface.
I feel sorry for groups such as the middle bar singers as they are having to compete against an increasingly 'heavier' sound from both the ceilidh and the concert bands and even some of the buskers. In the short time I have been working at Sidmouth I have noticed the bands having a more amplified and bass heavy nature. Whether that is a general shift in the folk world as younger people more used to that sound come into it, or because those type of bands often work better at the Anchor, because of the mixed nature of the audience, and so get programmed there more often, I can't really say. As the festival takes place across the whole of Sidmouth, there may be a case for having certain areas of the town and certain venues set aside and dedicated to unnaccompanied and unamplified singing and music, away from the louder venues. I don't know how much use is made of the Connaught gardens bandstand at the folk festival, but that would be an ideal outdoor venue for some of the quieter acoustic acts, and is well away from any interfering background noise.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:20 AM

A good caller should be able to assess the dance level and call appropriately. I think as callers its easy to assume too much. eg right and left hand star - just try putting both hands in! Also - to advise people - this is an energetic dance/ leave your partner dance/ difficult for beginners dance. With a live band often you can enjoy yourself just listening to the music so its OK to sit out a dance.

I always aim to be a good caller and sometimes succeed, and I'm lucky that the band will often say ' a better way to describe that might have been' There is no ' caller training' as such - perhaps there is a gap in the market .

Recently there was a thread about where the young people are and some suggested it was lack of welcome and tolerance that put them off. I did not think to include about how to welcome novices to a dance.
Is this a thread in its own right?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 08:45 PM

The large number of 'novice' dancers at some Towersey ceilidhs (as at Sidmouth) were a distinct nuisance

Yes, it's so tiresome when young people want to enjoy themselves. I have a great idea, a separate tent for something called "dances for dancers" where older people who only want to do it "properly" to a quiet band can have the place to themselves. Then all those terrible young "muppets" who've paid money to have fun can get on with it without spoiling it for the minority.

Can't imagine why nobody thought of that before. Oh, and they could invite a princess to be their patron too . . .


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 03:59 PM

Hmm. Is Deafass alive and well?


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM

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

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

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

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

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


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Simon
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 11:50 AM

I really enjoyed this years festival as I have done many previous years. There were some fantastic concerts at the Ham which I really enjoyed and some fun sessions to play in. Definitely had no issue with the volume at the ceilidh's and I found the novice dancers added to the fun.

I do have some things which I think need adressing.

Firstly contrary to other posters I think there isn't enough focus on bringing younger people to the event. I was there with my partner both of us are in our (ahem) mid 30's and nine times out of ten we were the youngest in the room by some way. It was only when we attended the late night extras that we didn't feel this. I'm not saying that Sidmouth should sacrafice everything it is to encourage a younger audience but certainly to avoid it dying off there needs to be work done to bring down the average age attending.

The non-Ham concert programme I felt was quite weak this year I spent a lot more time in the Ham than I did previous years just because the alternatives just didn't appeal.

The campsite was fine, one thing that niggled was why have one womens shower block and a mens shower block and a non designated block which due to positioning got hijacked by the womens queue. It surely makes sens to just have three non designated blocks.

Hope this helps.

S.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 03:30 PM

I think I have stumbled onto a thread about a different Sidmouth Folk Festival. The one I went to was great - nicely sized venues like Kennaway House, bigger ones like the concert tent on the Ham, amazing late night ceilidhs up the hill at the Bulverton. Some of the best folk musicians from Britain and beyond playing at them, everything from the return to health and performing of Norma Waterson to exciting new bands like Telling The Bees. Lively dance displays, old grannies careering around the streets on motorised shopping trollies. Some really good instrument stalls. Lots of young people. Lots of sessions chugging along for older people who'd rather spend their money on beer, but they don't bother the festival goers.

You lot should try the Sidmouth I go to a change. It's in south Devon the first week in August. I didn't hear anybody moaning about events they didn't have to pay to get into the whole week.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM

Soundman- thanks for explaining this to us. I am especially grateful for the explanation of why bass is so dominant. The upstairs room at The Anchor gets so hot (even with the fans on) that windows do need to be slightly open. I think that the only solution for the Middle Bar Sessions, is to move them to a quieter venue, but I don't think the Bedford's front room is the answer. There are too many music sessions in the pub. (not a criticism at all, just an observation with regard to unaccompanied singing.)


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 04:33 AM

Soundman- I thought your mix was very nice. I know its a mater of skill but also judgement. There were lots of people at the dances obviously enjoying themselves and I could hear the caller clearly. It is a big area to work.
I was not so impressed with the PA by a band in the Swan which was indoors and a bit over loud.
I did suggest that the middle bar singers could move elsewhere as there are quite a few pubs in the area. Someone else suggested the front room at the Bedford. Although there are lots of pubs there are not many open areas such as at the back of the anchor.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,SoundMan
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:07 PM

Hi..I am the sound Engineer at the Anchor Gardens during the Folk Festival and came across this thread and thought I ought to clear up a few misconceptions.
The PA system and myself are paid for by the Anchor Inn, NOT by the Folk Festival.
Whilst most of the acts are programmed by the festival the Soul/Covers band referred to by some people was programmed and paid for by the Anchor Inn, as was clearly stated in both the program and billboards at the venue.
As to whether some of the other acts are appropriate at a folk festival that issue would need taking up with the festival organisers. My own opinion is that just because music is played on acoustic guitars, violins etc it does not necessarily make it folk music.
The volume of the music seems to be an issue with some people, this is something I am very aware of, especially as being an open air venue the sound is not contained just to the area of the venue. Bass in particular will always be an issue, as the long wavelengths of bass frequecies are omnidirectional and cannot be focused into just the area of the venue, unlike the top frequecies which are focused into a 120 degree arc in front of the stage. There is a new development of cardoid bass speaker arrays, but these are very elaborate and expensive. The volume level is also something I try to keep appropriate to the music being played and the audience. The Anchor is a free public venue open to all, and is used as a social gathering and drinking place for locals, day visitors and holidaymakers, as well as for festivalgoers, it is NOT a dedicated festival venue, this does mean that volume levels often have to be higher than I would use at a dedicated closed venue like the Ham where the audience sit in silence and listen to the music. Also the ground slopes down away from the stage area, so once the venue gets busy and bodies start absorbing the higher frequencies I do have to turn those frequencies up a little in order for them to get to the back clearly, this can result in a slightly harsher sound close to the speakers, I try and keep a compromise that is acceptable to all those in the venue. The overall volume level is essentially governed by the nature of the music being played and the audiences response to it. An acoustic duo playing ballads being listened to by a quiet sit down audience will be at a low level, whilst a large band playing Folk Rock to a large standing/dancing audience will be at a high level. The fact that ceilidh and folk bands bands that seem to get the best response from the Anchor audience fall into the latter category and so form an increasing part of the repetoire is something which I know more traditional folkies may have a problem with, but the audience vote with their feet, and those bands get the best overall response at the Anchor, especially for the evening concerts, we even had bands that played earlier in the week as acoustic acts turn up later in the week having gathered extra musicians with drums and an amplified rhythm section, or a horn section. Personally I enjoy many of these modern variations to the traditional folk theme, though one of my favourite bands of the week was the medieval music band, Revellion, who were one of the more traditional bands of the week and thus did not require playing at a high volume.
It needs to be remembered that folk music is an ever evolving music genre, and that whilst the past must be respected, appreciated and kept alive, if it tries to preserve itself in aspic, allowing only music approved by Martin Carthy and the songs of Cecil Sharpe, lovely as they are, it will stagnate, and that as younger people and those from other musical genres discover folk music they will add their own interpretions to it, as well as bringing in the use of different or more modern instruments and sound systems. This may not always be a welcome addition for those more accustomed to the traditional folk scene, but undoubtedly at one time quill was put to parchment and a missive despatched to Ye Olde Folk Monthly, bemoaning the awfull intrusion of polyphony into plainsong.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:46 PM

Lots of peeps coming into The Newt for their beer , then heading for The Anchor - Branoc at £3


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:42 PM

Dave and Tug: the sign was actually at Manningtree Station, which is on the line from Colchester to Harwich and Frinton.
And when I lived in Torquay and Teignmouth in the 70s, it was also known there as the "Costa Geriatrica"!

FloraG: I think the Middle Bar Singers woud be reluctant to leave the Anchor after well over 30 years there: it was a huge, but inescapable decision, to move to the upstairs room when the mezzanine was no longer available. There were then some occasional "soundspill" problems from the ceilidhs in the back yrd, but nothing like the levels or persistence reached now!

And as Jack says, drinks prices were pretty much as (or less than) those of us who live in Scotland's wonderful capital have to pay: and the cider was so much better and NOT chilled out of existence - great!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: JHW
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 08:03 AM

Will Fly thanks for the plug tip. I did have a couple of packs of industrial ones probably like your description but somehow they'd escaped from the camping box. I wasn't dismayed at leaving. Went walkies a few days in the Howgills, then a few days at Edinburgh.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 07:32 PM

I know, Dave..arrived there in a terrible storm in the seventies on the last boat out of Dieppe for a week.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 06:44 PM

Ah yes, I'd quite forgotten that magical song. Thanks for reminding me of it.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM

Sue:

Thumping bass can be great in the right time and the right place.

I cannot understand why amplified buskers are permitted.

You should get Clive Lever's words to Wonderwall - some wonderful bits

All the words that Liam sings are whiny
The talents of the other guys are tiny"

And

"Wonderwall
It means bugger all"

And

"Maybe
Both the Gallagher brothers are crazeee"


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 11:51 AM

Alright Mr lewis so it wasn't who I thought it was but it got localised in Sussex cos you can get to the Continent from Newhaven

Dave


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 11:50 AM

I have filled in the feedback form, though it gives too much space over to Headers and questions. I'd like to see at least half a page given to feedback . I note that the workshop questionnaire's are two to a page, and suggest using the other side for comments . Perhaps seperating the feedback sheet from the newsletter might be better. I went to one concert at The Ham, "The Pauper's Path to Hope", which was exremely good. The rest of the time was spent at Fringe venues. The best one for me is The York and Faulkner for its variety, its friendliness, its humour, and its reasonably priced beer. Also enjoyed the Newt sessions, and the Middle Bar, when not drowned out by the muzak in the garden. Did not get round to doing Duke's open mic. but we don't cover Wonderwall. Made a point of going around the back of Duke's of a night time to avoid the crowds, and the noise . When will soundmen learn to use p.a. systems properly ? Thumping bass is not good sound. The quietest spots were to be find along the riverside . The seafront is hopeless to play on during the day . Too many amplified buskers !


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 10:54 AM

How can one pub sell a pint of local beer for £3.00, and another for £3.50?

Easily if most of the clientele is from big cities. Those are normal Edinburgh prices.

I don't drink enough for it to make any difference.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 10:22 AM

Dave Earl....the original was the railway sign at Harwich....which reads.'Harwich for the Continent' to which a wag appended...Frinton for the incontinent.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Essex Girl
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 09:33 AM

I stewarded the Ham again and almost all of the concerts, and there were 3 a day, were well attended and some were completely sold out. I did find that after the weekend the town was quieter than usual but that was only to be expected given the Olympics, weather forecasts and the recession, but I still had a great time even though I didn't manage to get to all the events I would have liked.The weather was kind to us - fabulous from Thursday to Saturday - so managed to sing in the sea and swim again on the Friday. The only complaint we had, as it seems do many others was the rip off prices some of the pubs charged. How can one pub sell a pint of local beer for £3.00, and another for £3.50? The festival venues were cheaper and had a good range of beer and cider. I appreciate the views on the Blackmore Bar, we would have used it but my partner did not have a festival ticket so we couldn't, unlike the Ham bar.
I'll still be back next year!!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 08:07 AM

JHW - one very useful thing to take with you if you can't sleep in a noisy environment - campsite, bedroom next to road, seagulls, etc. - is a pair of mouldable earplugs. You can get them from Boots and other chemists - roll each plug between the palms to make them soft and then push them into the ears so that they fit all crevices. They might seem a little uncomfortable at first but you get used to them - and they're very effective.

A must for the traveller.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 08:04 AM

I thought the campsite with it's very limited car movements allowed stood up to the copious amount of rain remarkably well - very little mud. toilets and showers were kept in tip top condition.

Some excellent concerts and I love the new ham marquee they've got but I was disappointed with the artists playing the smaller venues as none of them really attracted me. (NB not that I think they are bad or anything - just not my cup of tea).

Beer in the Blackmoor marquee seemed cheaper than elsewhere and the pubs seemed to charge as much or more than the venues which I found surprising.

Not my favourite Sidmouth ever but up there.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: JHW
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 07:56 AM

In case anyone missed me from the evenings at the York and Faulk I got so tired from campsite noise that I left and went walking in the Howgills. Never a prob before at Kingsdown but dickhead style bump bump stuff going on to the early hours then radio at 7. Knackered so left. I was sitting in things trying to keep awake like as if I was on a course!
The Middle Bar Singers sessions were way better crushed in that mezzanine basement than now upstairs but they certainly didn't deserve to compete with amplifiers outside, I left after once round the room - and I thought too that the Anchor paid for all the shows they put on?


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Jemma Gurney
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 06:53 AM

FloraG - Do you know about the eceilidh discussion list? Richard Mason and a lot of the callers on the circuit are on there, as well as enthusiastic dancers and band members. It's an email group rather than a webpage forum like this.

http://www.cix.co.uk/~net-services/ec/

Jemma
Trinculo ceilidh band, Pecsaetan Morris


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 04:27 AM

Thanks for the advice on calling. I work with a group who I think are mostly there as a keep fit exercise, a few are deadicated dancers and a few come because they kindly say they like the live music I play while calling.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,john presscot
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 02:08 PM

Sidmouth for me this year was half and half compared to last year i seen a lot of acts and really tired myself out BUT what i really missed was the UNIQUE SINGING of Thomas McCarthy & the VIRTUOSO UILLEANN PIPING of Simon Doyle & we cannot forget the very TALENTED playing of the YOUNG & VIBRANT Doyle girls why O why were they not here again this year or is it because theese performers are Irish Travellers is there a hint of rascism in the higher ranks of the allmighty I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 01:10 PM

I was in the Bedford for the unaccompanied session and I agree it is ideal, having sung in the Anchor and been disapointed with the sound from Anchor Gardens it was great to start a session in a smallish room with other good singers around, only get this opportunity at Sidmouth.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 07:24 AM

Flora G:

There are dozens of websites detailing dances - for example, try Colin Hume's site for some interesting ones!


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 05:07 AM

Flora G - try contacting him through his band website -
http://www.pigsmightfly.info/richard.htm


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:44 AM

Flora
    I have already suggested the downstairs bar (Pyne's) at the Bedford ; it is certainly more than big enough,and the acoustics are great for Middle Bar type music . I believe that it may well have been used by the MBS in the past ? I played in there every day of the week last week ; a lot of "Old Time" , with ladies "clogging" on boards ( Colin made one for us !!) ; we even had a long unaccompanied shanty-session ( instruments banned ) ,run by a man from "oop North " ) on Thursday or Friday (I forget which) and it was marvellous ! And not a melodeon or an electric bass to be seen or heard !


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:33 AM

Glad that you enjoyed it Chris ! So did we ,and yes !...the ten days passed quickly for us,too.But I don't think we'll be staying at Salcombe Regis campsite again ; it's getting old (over 60 years now ?) and tired and run-down , with lots of loud music from the "Fringe Festival" close by , and the bloody donkeys were braying all night long. We like the look of the Axemouth site near Seaton .


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:27 AM

Steve - diverting from the title - can I get hold of some Richard mason dances - I'm always on the lookout for a few new good ones?

Been thinking about the problem of the Anchor - is there no other venue the unaccompanied singers can go to as the back of the pub is so ideal for public dances ( both to watch and join in). I know they might argue squatters rights - but times move on.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Chris_S
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 02:59 PM

I thought it was a great year. Unlike most people here we had season tickets and found we really wanted to do 3 concerts a day to see the artists we were interested in so used Kenaway House, Bedford and Ham concert venues. Lots of great performances and many new discoveries. Too many to list all but stand outs were Mawkin (great musicinaship and energy), Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell (utterly beguiling), Oyster Band and June Tabor (just brilliant), Martin Simpson (wonderful guests and stunning playing), Old Man Ludecke (fab story telling and stage presence), Whapweazel (blew cobwebs away), Telling the Bees (wierdly wondeful), Anahata and Mary Humphries (great songs and playing), Stream of Sound (joyful and uplifting). I'm sure there are more but my over riding memory is amazement at the quality of the performances we saw. I love the newish Kenaway concert venue (under the guiding hand of Ian Anderson of FolkRoots for the afternoons). Beer was cheap enough at the venues and I was amazed that most did not charge anything for a pint of soda water which was my usual tipple. 10 days that just flew by, definately will be returning.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 02:43 PM

During the years when asteroid Crump was orbiting Planet Earth (and exerting a disproportionally large gravitational influence), it became policy that yoof of whatever quality (and whether they could dance or sing or not) should be attracted to the festival in order to make it 'multigenerational' and 'inclusive'.

During the same epoch, social dance nearly died (and many of the best dancers have never returned) and ceilidhs became such a pathetic standard that Sidmouth became an 'also ran' - whereas it used to be amongst the best and with many dancers able to master quite complicated dances. Imagine anyone trying that now.

Talented young singers and musicians used to find a place (and an audience) on the Esplanade and along the streets of the town. Now it is dominated by cheap tat and loud often non-folk music.

At my local club I sometimes teach and call Richard Mason dances (he lives in Exeter and teaches Exeter Univ. Folk Dance Club). They are challenging, a bit different and most of my club members can do them easily enough. So can many dancers at other public dances in the area.

It would be a joke to try them at most Sidmouth ceilidhs - which is a pity because the standard may continue to decline unless corrective action is taken. The principal point of discussion amongst groups of local dancers after the festival is how many of the best dancers were NOT there - fellow locals as well as once familiar faces from afar.

The sound level from bands also increased considerably when the asteroid was briefly in Earth orbit. There might be a causal connection.

As a suggestion, could we have a sort of reverse silent LNE on a few nights, and maybe a similar event in Blackmore Gardens? A really good dance band (Old Swan, Tickled Pink, Hekety to name but three) would be compelled to play at a reasonable volume all night, and at a further reduced level from 1am to 2am.

Any people who really WANTED the music much louder would be able to hire amplifying headphones that were powerful enough to induce hearing impairment - this setting would be used only by the really manly yoof (IQ = 57 maximum) who had something to prove (and probably something illegal in their bloodstream).

The same people cruise around in cars with 400 watt amplifiers in the boot. Later, when they become mature at the age of 46 they become wannabe sound engineers on the festival circuit.

It would be interesting to see how many dancers actually WANTED to amplify the dance music to headbanging and ear splitting levels, compared with the number who were perfectly content to dance to good music that was loud enough to generate a real atmosphere but not stupidly loud.

As for improving the standard of ceilidh dance, how about taking three or four groups of 8 or 10 young non-expert dancers, teaching them intensively and including several complex dances and having a competition on the last day? The best set to do not only the dances they have practiced but a few more besides, would get reduced price tickets next year.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 01:55 PM

Although the festival goers may have paid quite a lot for their season ticket, they're not the only people in the town during the festival. The youth of the town - the 'lager swilling youth' you refer to - live there all year round and can't be expected to convert to folk music for the week. The independent pubs which put music on throughout the year - possibly the 'deafening third rate pop covers' you also refer to - have to make a living and keep their clientele as well. I doubt very much that the Black Horse and the Dukes bar were being subsidised by the festival.

The 'third rate' bands I heard were actually bloody good - professional, energetic, musical and obviously very popular with many of the townees and festival-goers alike. You may not like their music or those people, but there's no need to look down your nose at them.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Lady Mondegreen
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 01:46 PM

The Anchor books it's own bands for the evening slots. The exception to this was on the final evening where the festival was asked to supply something and organised an extra ceilidh with The Gloworms. Which was well-attended at only a days notice, as it happens.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: GUEST,Jon Heslop
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 01:17 PM

Re the noise from amplified bands in the evenings in the Anchor garden. I think we're missing the point here. If the Festival management team are subsidising non folk style bands then that money is coming from season ticket holders who have paid a not inconsiderable amount of money to listen to their kind of music. As for the argument that "it will attract people to the festival and to folk music.", b******s!. If you think some lager swilling youth listening to deafening third rate pop covers is going to think, "Oh, this is good, I'll go and listen to some unaccompanied ballads, shanties or whatever", Planet Earth is awaiting your visit.
By the way, I had agreat time.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 12:35 PM

Thread drift to be sure but :-

If "Eastbourne is known locally as the "Costa Geriatrica"",it has also been said (was is Noel Coward?). "Newhaven for the Continent, Eastbourne for the incontinent"

Sorry! I'll get me coat

Dave


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 12:00 PM

Sidmouth has nothing on nearby Budleigh Salterton One commentetor suggested "Avoid Budleigh Salterton, at all costs, for if Sidmouth is "Gods waiting room" then Budleigh is the "Annexe". It has been said that "People come to Budleigh to die and ten years later, they have forgotten what they came for"! It is true that all the shop windows are bi-focal.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Acorn4
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 11:51 AM

Eastbourne is known locally as the "Costa Geriatrica", and I think Sidmouth usually fills that niche in the south west apart from festival week.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Leslie Butler
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 11:49 AM

Well I thought it was great. I enjoyed everything I ate and drank, and considered the amplified noise outside the Anchor a useful reminder that this festival is for all tastes; besides a challenge to be triumphantly overcome.
I do feel guilty for not buying a ticket (I prefer sessions), but i did contribute each time the collecting box went around.

Incidentally, I spoke to a taxi driver who reckoned that the festival was popular with local youngsters. I expressed surprise, pointing out that the average age of festival goers was at least 50. Indeed, said the driver, but that brings down the town average by at least 20 for the the week.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 11:10 AM

I always find the beer prices in Sidmouth a bit extreme. I live a few miles away in Exmouth where I can always find several puda selling real ale between £1.80 to £2.60.Some creep up to £3.20 but nothing loke the £3.50 standard in Sidmouth....which appears to have a cartel operating.Sidmouth needs a Wetherspoons to promote a bit of price cutting competition.


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Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 09:53 AM

It was probably the suggestion that I should restrict myself to cups of tea and quiet bands.

In the last few years I have attended about 70 hours of social dance and ceilidh events at Sidmouth each year and wherever possible danced every dance. This year slightly fewer total hours.

Anyone else get close to 70 hours (and dance every dance when you were at the event?)

A few hours of internet banking may have had an effect too.

Maybe I need to get out more.

Too late to organise for Whitby unfortunately.


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