Sidmouth Folk Week 2010: social dance and serious ceilidh - how long before it dies completely at Sidmouth?

The Blackmore dance floor.

This was so awful it merits special consideration. The quality of the dance floor was simply a joke - and may illustrate how little attention senior management of the festival give to dance venues or to the needs of dancers, so obsessed are they with major concerts and attracting youngsters to their silent disco and other Bulverton events.

So what was wrong with the Blackmore Gardens dance floor during the first few days of the festival?

In short, the floor would have been a disgrace to a village barn dance let alone to a major folk festival where some people would be expected to be wearing thin and expensive dance shoes. So why was it ever ordered? Why were alarm bells not ringing as soon as it was delivered to site? Do the festival organisers have such a low opinion of dancers that they consider we will accept any crumbs thrown in our direction? Or maybe the organisers simply have no-one in their midst who even knows (or cares) what dancers need? That would explain a lot about how dancers have been treated in the past few years - notwithstanding that management attention has been understandingly firmly centred on the Ham and the money it provides.

To cap it all, the Barefoot Flamenco dancers used the Blackmore venue on the Sunday and Monday and (so I was told) stewards were busy pulling out protruding staples so that the floor could be made safe (safer) for this visiting team. What an impression of Sidmouth Festival that must have made!

On Sunday lunchtime I joked to a friend within earshot of an elderly steward who was part of the taskforce team who every year try their best to keep venues operating - I said that there had already been 160 different complaints about the floor. His reply was succinct: "Yes, and I've heard most of them."

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