Comments and opinions from folkies on the crisis facing the Sidmouth Festival.
Views of councils and EDDC
From my own bitter and personal experience with local authorities, I have absolutely no doubt that the council are telling 'whopping great porkies'.
I've been at meetings with 'high ranking' public officials where the pre meeting discussions were followed by a meeting that did not match those discussions and then a report later that varied from both! Perhaps both (or all) sides are playing brinkmanship. Anything could be happening behind the scenes!
Responsible politicians should not hand over the best part of sixty thousand pounds without checking what is being done with the money. The council want to scrutinise the way it is used. It is not for local councils to support private businesses and unless it can demonstrate that it is a valid use of tax payers money they could be accused of maladministration.
There appears to be a Council / Sidmouth / Festival Organisation problem which needs to be solved. All tussles include a large degree of posturing before and after I suspect we are at the end of the first posturing phase and ready for the battle. We will get some result eventually which will also be presented differently by all sides.
East Devon District Council are a typical rural conservative council, and are never going to have anything like the supportive attitude of the likes of Cambridge City Council (I believe that Cambridge folk festival even gets free PAs from the council's own music venues, and has a lot of council employee's time put into it, at the council tax payers' expense).
So if it takes a shocking statement to wake up the rather selfish businesses of Sidmouth, and the council, then that's a good idea - I'm sure they are serious though, and Steve Heap + Co have put so much work into that event, so really perhaps it's only fair for them to quit when the going's good.
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