Letters in Sidmouth Herald 27 August 2010

Turn down the volume please

SIR - I hope you receive many letters repudiating the diatribe from Mr Johnson last week.

Despite some minor problems, the crowds in FolkWeek are generally far better behaved than are probably any other groups of similar size. The policing that is deemed to be necessary is very small.

As someone who dances at many folk festivals I would agree with Mr Johnson on only one point. Much of the music at late night events is far too loud - both for attendees and (in Sidmouth) for the residents of Woolbrook. If the organisers could ensure that sound levels were kept to reasonable levels everyone would benefit.

Dr Stephen J Wozniak

Best Folk Week I have known

SIR - Congratulations on your excellent FolkWeek editorial and pictures. It certainly was a wonderful occasion and must be one of the best FolkWeeks I have known over the past years, which I have attended.

My wife and I always enjoy our holiday in Sidmouth, but why are all those Folk musicians not returning?

We've seen some really good entertainers on the sea front, but no more. Now it is like a glorified market, with a line of stalls along the sea front. We have never seen so many crowds as this year.

We must admit you can see the Folksy stars in the Ham Marquee at an entrance cost. The groups of Morris Dancers were very good, entertaining holidaymakers and day trippers on The Ham with their performances.

Of course, the Market Square was always crowded with entertainment by the yearly conjurers. I was, indeed, pleased to see Sidmouth is supporting "Help For Heroes", for our servicemen in Afghanistan. I am a RAF Regiment veteran. Whilst in Market scluare one morning, there was a duo of Senior Citizens. Celia, on a keyboard, and Wally, singing his heart out and doing very well collecting for "Help For Heroes". These are the folk who put Great into Britain. I took a photo of them as a big thank you.

So, now we look forward to 2011 for more FolkWeek entertaining.

H J Lucas 26 Lawson House Nightingale Place London

Folk fest: no threats, just fun

SIR - I was sorry that your correspondent dislikes the Folk Festival so vehemently.

Of course, it isn't to everybody's taste. Personally I have made sonic good friends in the 30 years that I have been here. As for feeling threatened, a normal Saturday night at closing time could be worse. My husband used to go every day in his mid-eighties with a walking frame and there was someone to help him and find him a seat wherever he went.

The objection he raised about subsidising the festival out of council tax is incorrect. I rang EDDC yesterday to be told that none of it goes towards the Festival.

May I suggest that the gentleman takes his holiday next year in the first week in August?

Mrs J A Shenfield 105 Peaslands Road Sidmouth

Folk fest plea: live and let live!

SIR - I just could not let the letter from D Johnson in your August 20 edition. I do not know which Sidmouth Folk Festival Mr Johnson attended, but it was clearly not the same one as me.

Long may the Folk Festival, with its liveliness, fun and general good humour, together with the welcome - (and for some businesses, I suspect, vital) - economic boost it brings, continue. Come on, Mr Johnson, the Folk Festival is just one week out of fifty two - live and let live!

Incidentally, I would be interested to see the survey on which Mr Johnson bases his claim that "the majority of Sidmouth's residents do not want or support Folk Week", since I question whether this is actually true.

The peace of Christ be with you,

(Rev.) David J C Wheeler via email

Folk Festival 'is like marmite'

SIR - Another folk festival and another disgruntled resident.

The festival is like marmite you either love it or hate it. Personally, I and family are Sidmouth born residents who happen to love it.

It brings life and diversity to the town. Granted it's not quite the same since the international dancers stopped performing and, believe me, it's a lot quieter now, but it's part of Sidmouth and it has been for over 50 years.

As a child, my friend, also a Sidmouth girl, spent hours watching the dancers at the Knowle, taking part in the hobby horse club down on the Blackmore, then the finale torchlight parade.

It was brilliant and, as we have had our own children, we enjoyed taking them to the festival.

It's a bit of fun. It is great to see the public houses overflowing with people enjoying themselves.

That hardly seems self-greed on the publicans' behalf and why should we begrudge business owners one week of extra business. It can be a long, quiet winter in this town.

Finally, if Mr Cameron told us that we are in it together then those that love the folk festival certainly are.

Barbara Cooper via email

A few ways to save money

SIR - As the council seems to be at a loss as to where they can make cuts to save money, it came to my mind to give them some help.

To start with, cut the number of councillors and the ridiculous amount of money they draw. Stop building cycle tracks which are not needed. The few cyclists that use them does not warrant the money spent. Cut staff at the council offices. We do not need two or three people to one person's work. Stop building affordable housing which local people cannot afford. Terminate the Festival, you have been flogging a dead horse for years and you know it!

Mrs B M Furnell "Uphills", Greenway Lane Sidmouth

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