Sidmouth Folk Week 2009: post festival photos on 19 August - in the sunshine!

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140_4024.jpg (79686 bytes) A dust storm in the dry tropical heat of Blackmore Gardens.

A ride-on motor mower was being used to cut the grass. There was no need to travel over all the areas that were simply hard baked mud - and with hardly a blade of grass in sight.

However, EDDC staff may be trained to follow set   procedures at all times.

They may not be able to think for themselves. Or perhaps it is not allowed?

140_4025.jpg (111951 bytes) The exit from the Bulverton Car Park, with the fencing and gate replaced.

Note that the land is baked dry - except for a large wet area where I parked my car.

This was still running with water.....

140_4026.jpg (111002 bytes) There is a natural spring (or a burst pipe!) very close to the car park exit - and on land where cars were directed to travel when the main mudslide down the hill became too well used.

This route close to the hedge was abandoned after a short while - and you can see why. Water was still welling up from the ground on 19 August. The rest of the field was baked dry in the sun.

No wonder drivers found this area hard going - even though it is relatively flat.

140_4028.jpg (104049 bytes) This spring water could be channelled away from the main exit route and into a conveniently situated pair of road drains just outside the gateway (where I parked my car in these photos).

If all the water that would pour from this area during wet weather could be prevented from mixing with the mud at the bottom of the field, the exit might have been easier to use.

Diverting the water and roping off the area near the hedge might be an idea? 

140_4029.jpg (115435 bytes) Highways maintenance Bickwell Lane.

This may have filled up during FolkWeek but more likely had not been emptied for years.

140_4030.jpg (99225 bytes) The short lane leading to the entrance to the Bulverton Car Park.

Water has washed out a deep rut on the left hand side. Cars needed to drive on the extreme right to keep their wheels out of the worst of the rut.

Otherwise - you could end up needing a new exhaust pipe!

140_4032.jpg (106603 bytes) Further highways maintenance: Bickwell Lane.

Devon County Council seem to attend to road drains in remote areas only when people complain.

Blocked drains caused more water to flood down Bickwell Lane during Folk Week but this didn't affect conditions on the car park.

140_4033_r1.jpg (178286 bytes) The trackway up to the Bulverton Marquee from the main Bulverton Road.

This was the access route for 4x4 vehicles and lorries used to erect the marquee.

It is quite a gentle slope compared with that down which pedestrians were expected to walk!

The slope was about 1 in 11 or 9% (more details here)

140_4034.jpg (82019 bytes) The campsite entrance from the Bulverton Road.

This whole area turned into deep mud during the festival.

Less than 2 weeks later it is parched dry.

It would have been expensive to cover the whole area in sheeting or boards, just in case of wet weather.

gascylinders.jpg (76559 bytes) Seven 47kg gas cylinders strategically positioned by the main road, waiting to be collected (or stolen).

Five of them were still full or nearly full!

Maybe folkies just got so fed up of trying to wade through the mud to the festival showers they decided to wait until they got home before bothering to get clean.

Refills cost 50 each, but were the responsibility of a subcontractor to the festival. However they should not have been left for days in this vulnerable position- still there on 21 August!

140_4035.jpg (78820 bytes) The top portion of field 1 looking south, towards Sidmouth.

This area suffered a lot of damage, maybe as a result of heavy vehicles using it in poor conditions. Some catering stalls were located here.

140_4036.jpg (77018 bytes) The central portion of field 1 - quite flat and safe for caravans as well as motorhomes.
140_4037.jpg (80864 bytes) Getting into field 2 is easy enough in good conditions but the gradient of between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 is far too steep in deep sticky mud, especially when towing using an ordinary car.
140_4038.jpg (89548 bytes) Looking south from field 2 towards field 1 and the campsite entrance.

The red gas cylinders can just be seen by the main road.

This area obviously suffered a lot from traffic and from tractors pulling vehicles up the slope (and maybe even back down again!). The deeply rutted ground is now baked dry.

140_4039.jpg (77805 bytes) The top of field 2 looking north towards the Bowd.

Along the hedge there is space for a row of dozens of motorhomes or caravans - and on ground that is reasonably flat. In wet weather there is the problem of getting them into position.

However, a 4x4 tractor or Range Rover fitted with M&S tyres might do it - or failing that a winch used by people who knew what they were doing!

It is a shame folkies may have been turned away from the festival with this much almost flat ground apparently available - and largely unused in 2009.

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