Sidmouth Folk Week 2009: Colour along Sidmouth's sometimes sunny Esplanade - and dancing at the Anchor.

If photos do not load using a slow modem - allow time to finish
then click 'refresh' and the remaining ones should come through.

Img_3978.jpg (111224 bytes) The Esplanade is always a centre of Folk Week - especially for the day trippers who think these stalls are a part of the official event.

Other visitors have a quite different view and regard the traders as intimidating and guilty of obstructing the promenade. Many local folk people feel likewise - but EDDC now makes money from allowing the traders to operate.

In-between the lashing rain and the gales it was probably not a particularly profitable week for the seafront traders.

Img_3979.jpg (98550 bytes) Apart from the usual (and still controversial) improvised stalls now controlled by EDDC, would-be star performers braved the weather on a few days - these are the people Folk Week seek actively to encourage.

Many local people and visitors alike would like to see fewer stalls and more young performers, keen to share their musical talents.

img_3981_r1.jpg (74269 bytes) The police decided this year to make an exhibition of themselves  - displaying one of their surveillance vans.

It looks menacing, which is probably the idea.

These vans are more normally used to help intimidate environmental protesters - although in the days of cheap high quality camcorders and mobile phones, it is increasingly the police themselves who are under surveillance.

Once the material is posted on websites hosted abroad, they find it difficult to interfere with the evidence.

The latest in police surveillance is a hovering camera, based on military technology. Almost silent in operation, it can hover over a crowd and relay a range of image types for hours at a time.

img_3982_r1.jpg (71883 bytes) Inside, the most important items were the box of sandwiches and the flask of tea or coffee.

Any self-respecting pickpocket would simply have gone somewhere else - that is the problem with so much overt surveillance.

Img_3977.jpg (65632 bytes) The Esplanade was (as usual) choked with cars. Many people seemed to have nothing better to do than drive around emitting pollution. The pedestrian crossing has been a joke ever since it was installed in 2003.

Many drivers were quietly fuming at the delays. The matter was raised by local councillors - none of whom appears to know how to solve the problem!

Congestion became so bad the police spent hours controlling the traffic!

How about part pedestrianisation and 'essential users only'?

Img_3984.jpg (84056 bytes) The box office had been moved near to the fishing boats and directly facing the sea. I doubt it will be there next year!

It blocked the view from the Ham area to the sea (and vice versa) and took the full force of storms and driving rain. So did hapless folkies who braved the elements to collect tickets.

The sign could have been on the other side. More people could have found us without asking!

parking signs ham.jpg (131235 bytes) The first sign seems clear enough. Which part of 'No' don't you understand?

Parking is now enforced by East Devon District Council - the local paper highlighted how an antique bus was given a ticket for parking in a coach bay.

A dustcart (community environmental services mobile compaction and transportation facility) was apparently also targeted.

There is no escape - the council needs the money to pay all those pensions!

Sidmouth has a serious parking problem - made far worse by dozens of elderly 'disabled' drivers many of whom seem quite sprightly on their feet and disabled only in the head.

Maybe the blue badge scheme for disabled drivers should include an IQ test?

ham info board.jpg (109241 bytes) Some of the new, petite and much criticised signs provided by EDDC to enhance the charm of Sidmouth's Esplanade.

Like the fishing boats and the red crumbling cliffs, this display has a timeless appeal and would surely enhance any holiday photograph?

In an emergency, with the rain and salt spray lashing all around, you are supposed to stand and read out the grid reference to the coastguard! All provided your mobile phone doesn't get waterlogged.

Alternatively, run for shelter and just say "the eastern end of the Esplanade at Sidmouth"

Img_3994.jpg (118187 bytes) Despite warning signs and the rather obvious debris from recent cliff falls, people continue to sunbathe (often with their children) directly underneath Sidmouth's crumbling cliffs.

If Natural Selection worked effectively, these specimens would be killed off before they had a chance to pass on their defective genes.

One of these days someone will be killed - and of course, it will then all be the fault of the local council who should have put up more signs!

landslide.jpg (78585 bytes)

It could never happen here now could it?

Local councils do not have the required legal authority to close the beach to the east of Sidmouth, therefore the risk must remain.
Img_3997.jpg (121328 bytes) Ever popular amongst the locals (because it's free) the dancing at Sidmouth's Anchor car park is an established feature of Folk Week.

The venue is open air (one of the few left that is!).

The surface is hard and sloping, yet many experienced dancers join in.

Many people get their first experience of folk dancing here.

No prizes for spotting the man who calls himself Mr Red.

There are dozens of pictures on other websites of the many Morris dance teams who added so much colour to the Esplanade during the week. These ranged from the rather restrained Sidmouth Steppers to almost pagan displays of the Witchmen - this group was a great hit at the LNE during the 'silent disco' evening.

next page

back to top of section

home page