Comments and opinions from folkies on the crisis facing the Sidmouth Festival.

Sponsorship, the Arts and Opera  - comparisons

The arts in general have always needed sponsorship, and still do. At the risk of starting another 'row' look how much Covent Garden and ENO take each year!

Sponsorship is one thing, but it is a different word from what is being suggested here. Opera, Ballet and Classical Music would not exist in their current form if it were not for the huge Government grants and subsidies. Rightly or wrongly, many people feel upset they do subsidise, through their taxes, many grand events and institutions that they do not attend and get no personal benefit from.

Organisations such as the Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Ballet seem to attract grants and seem to be run as businesses, albeit nothing like as successfully as Sidmouth International Festival. Perhaps it should become the Royal Sidmouth Festival? (Note: the organisations mentioned are all run as charities and can attract funding that is not available to the Sidmouth Festival as it is presently operated.)

What I find wrong in this, however, is the continuing lack of government funding, in comparison to other European countries, for cultural events and especially traditional arts.

From personal experience, I know this not to be the case in Germany and France and I've heard similar reports from Spain where festivals are massive and usually charge little or nothing to punters.

Is this not just another reflection of how we in Britain (and most particularly in England) have far too little regard for our cultural heritage?

How did EFDSS manage to run Sidmouth from a distance?. When I first went, they didn't, in those days they had an full time regional organiser based in Exeter who was responsible for running the festival. They also had the advantage that in those pre Glasnost days the east European dance teams, who brought in the paying punters in the arena, were heavily subsidised by their governments.

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