Lest we forget.

Might the old Sidmouth International Festival have been saved? - an academic study.

Note: an earlier version of this work was published some years ago. It is reproduced here.

The authors say that this new (2009/2010) version is much improved!

folkarticle.jpg (138036 bytes) Since 2004, SeeRed has been utilised as a source of information about how the Sidmouth International Festival was allowed to die.

In April 2009, an updated research article was published electronically in the journal Tourism Management.

A summary is available here (produced late 2010).

Taken together with surviving literature, photographs and television documentary footage, this study should serve as a warning to other towns.

So much of cultural and spiritual value was lost, most of it probably forever. Was there no other possible outcome?

In re-reading the 2004 version of this paper, one paragraph stands out as relevant not only to the future of the Festival but to the 'banking crisis' and the bail-outs of 2008/09. In late 2004, hardly any financial commentators would have suggested that investors should go short on western financials. Yet banks were already being blamed for rising house prices - the availability of easy credit doing much to help inflate UK prices. In discussing the problems of underwriting risks, the authors state:

"There is also the question of moral hazard. If any hypothetical Festival management know that they can repeatedly turn to a financial backer and make claims against a standing underwriting promise, this will automatically encourage this management to engage in highly risky activities that they would never have considered, if they had to underwrite them themselves."

The full text of the 2009/2010 academic study is now available here - with an introduction here and including the publisher's approval.

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