Sidmouth FolkWeek 2011 - Alan Bearman to be the new Artistic Director - effective 1 September 2011.

Hardly had I completed writing the last page on Sidmouth in 2011 and questioning if power was becoming too concentrated in a few people when I received a copy of the following Press Release.

It was sent to me from an email address not on my database and stated that Joan Crump was leaving 'to pursue other interests'. My first thought was that it was a hoax: it was not in the usual format for a FolkWeek press release and was not on the official website. In the fullness of time it has been remarked that whilst Joan Crump was 'given the push' from Sidmouth, the event that triggered this (involving a drunken performer) was maybe simply an excuse. Her cards had allegedly been marked for some time.

Less clear is why the SeeRed website was utilised as the vehicle to relay the news of her departure to the folk world. Within days of this webpage being linked on mudcat, it had been viewed over 200 times, a total that later exceeded 500. The official website remained mute for months. 

sidmouth press release origin.jpg (12504 bytes)

The Press release comprised a WORD document drafted by John Braithwaite.

Part of the text of the press release is reproduced below.

Sidmouth FolkWeek

Press Release: 18/8/11

After 3 successful years, the Executive Team at Sidmouth FolkWeek is due to change. Joan Crump, the Artistic and Marketing Director, is leaving the Festival to concentrate on other folk-related projects. She says, "It has been incredibly exciting to work for Sidmouth during this period in its development. I am very proud of everything we have achieved in the past 3 years, and wish the festival every success in its next chapter."

The Festival Directors are pleased to announce that Alan Bearman has accepted the post of Artistic Director, returning to the Festival after a gap of 7 years. Alan has huge and successful experience of directing festivals in the UK and Ireland and was the Artistic Director of Sidmouth International Festival during its period of rapid expansion over 18 years to 2004.

Alan is a Sidmouth devotee and ‘feels a great affinity for the festival and town’. He looks forward to the challenge of continuing to build a sustainable Festival, based around a unique and strong programme.

John Braithwaite, Festival Director, comments ‘Joan’s energy and creativity have helped us make great strides since 2009. We are delighted that Alan has now agreed to join the team. No-one has better festival direction experience and there is the considerable bonus of his Sidmouth Festival background’.

Sidmouth FolkWeek is a major week-long festival, offering a unique blend of music, song, dance and family entertainment with lots of opportunity for participation, set in a beautiful East Devon seaside town.

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