Warning from Derek Schofield about the sidmouthfestival.org website.

The following message was posted on an internet folk music discussion forum on 14 August 2004.

sidmouthfestival.org.uk has been put up by Stuart Hughes who is a local councillor and currently organises the Caribbean Carnival on the Saturday the festival finishes using the infrastructure at the Arena. In turn this helps fund the Autumn and Christmas carnivals. It is rumoured that he earns part of his income from the Caribbean event. He has put in a bid to run Arena style events in 2005 - these would not necessarily be folk music based. This website has NOTHING to do with the current initiative to relaunch the festival in 2006 and NOTHING to do with the various fringe events planned for 2005.

Derek Schofield

Another warning about the aspirations of Stuart Hughes was given by Bill Lankester, quoted in the Sidmouth Herald of 13 August. Speaking about the proposal to have a week of 'pop' concerts in the Arena, he said

"If he (Hughes) wants to run concerts up there which aren't folk it will not help the festival at all. If there are any pop concerts, festival people will not come to anything like that." 

On 27 August Stuart Hughes replied on the mudcat website as follows:

Lets set the record straight regarding Sidmouth 2005 and beyond. As Chairman of Caribbean Night I earn nothing from the event, it is purely run as a way of raising funding to stage the town's two carnival processions. Derek should get all his facts right. The Caribbean Night has run for 22 years and is a well established event. We as a small committee have worked in partnership with Steve Heap paying for ALL the equipment that we require to run the event. This also has helped the Festival organisers as we pay a considerable amount towards transporting the equipment brought in for the festival away from the Arena. This year we also made a four figured contribution towards the provision of the portable roadway through the arena and sponsored the Yetties. WE ARE COMMITTED TO SEEING A FESTIVAL CONTINUE IN SIDMOUTH and are indeed working towards this goal. We have put our money where our mouths are and have put in a submission to East Devon District Council for the use of the Arena in 2005 to stage a series of Folk concerts including hopefully Show Of Hands, Kieran Halpin (who last appeared in Sidmouth in the late 80's) The Strawbs who have local connections. The Battlefield Band to name just a few of the artistes. The Caribbean Night would take place on the Saturday following the Festival. Any profit made will go towards the carnivals, local organisations that help at the Arena during the week and towards staging the 2006 event. This hopefully has put the record straight.

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