Sidmouth Folk Week 2009: Blackmore marquee - well ventilated (for a change) and either packed out or half empty!

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There were major changes to the Blackmore Gardens in 2009. The large craft tent had been moved to Kennaway House (used to be Church House) and the music fair was relocated at Blackmore. A lot of use was made of these gardens and yet, despite the weather, it all worked well and with a minimum amount of damage to the land. It was as usual, the centre for children's activities.

The ceilidhs in the dance marquee were variously well attended or poorly attended - Whapweasel on Wednesday was packed with some good dances (and good dancers). Fee Lock and the Climax Ceilidh Band on Thursday evening managed to attract only a few people: it looked distinctly uninteresting. Lunchtime social dances were moderately well attended - which meant you had room to dance. This was a welcome change from some of the crowded morning workshops in nearby halls. Attendance was no doubt limited by the fact that addicted dancers needed some lunch after thrashing about all morning. These lunchtime dances succeeded sufficiently to be programmed next year - they were popular with people who had been occupied in singing or musical workshops in the mornings.

Img_3937.jpg (121519 bytes) New for 2009 - an enclosed outdoor area for the Blackmore Gardens marquee. As a bonus, the large translucent side panels could all be removed allowing better ventilation than in previous years.

In hot weather this ventilation would have been most welcome - and the sitting out area would have been much utilised.

As it was, much of the area became waterlogged and unusable until a few days later in the week. Half the problem was all the water from the marquee roof - could this be collected and diverted somehow?

Img_3938.jpg (92602 bytes) An illustration of the universality theorem of folk festival management - often known as Sod's Law.

You provide a new outdoor sitting out and relaxing venue and what happens?


Img_3939.jpg (94450 bytes) These sheet walkways into the Blackmore dance marquee worked very well.

A few days after the festival had packed up and gone home the grass was returning to normal.

Img_3940.jpg (60077 bytes) Blackmore dance floor - 56' by 28' and with a noticeable slope to one side.

It was a popular venue for ceilidhs and social dancers alike - but was not as tempting as the floor in the new Ham bar!

Img_3941.jpg (71000 bytes) The ever popular bar in the Blackmore Gardens.

Combined with the new outdoor area, this venue was almost self contained - in good weather you could have danced, sat out to lunch, had a drink, and maybe stayed half the afternoon.

Pity about the weather on some of the days - and nights.

Img_3998.jpg (118039 bytes) How Blackmore Gardens should have been all week - maybe next year?
blackmore 14 august.jpg (88416 bytes) Friday 14 August 2009

A week after the festival had finished and much of the grass at Blackmore Gardens is returning to normal.

It was already dry enough for normal picnics.

blackmore worst areas 14 august.jpg (100030 bytes) 14 August 2009

Some of the worst affected parts of Blackmore Gardens - yet these will soon return to normal.

Grass was already beginning to regrow on denuded areas.

blackmore dismantling.jpg (92437 bytes) Dismantling these marquees (supplied by Aussie Marquees of St Austell) seemed to take about an hour. All the panels just slide out of the framework.


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