Sidmouth Festival Working Party (of EDDC) 15 September 2004.

The EDDC councillors on this working party are

Chamberlain, Clark, Diviani, Green, Hull, Luxton, Moulding, and Mrs Stott.

The recommendations of the working party were considered by the Executive Board of EDDC on 29th September. Councillor Moulding did not attend.

The minutes of that meeting are available on the EDDC web-site - scroll down to item 71 if you want the pdf version. The relevant paragraphs are reproduced below.

Executive Board,  29 September 2004

71    Folk Festival Working Party

The report of the meeting of the Folk Festival Working Party held on 15 September 2004 was noted. The Head of Leisure and Lifestyles advised that a meeting of the Folk Festival Steering Group had been held that day when the recommendations of the Working Party had been discussed. The Steering Group had been disappointed that no funding was available from the Council towards a festival in 2005 but advised that they would fund-raise from the private sector with Sidmouth Town Council acting as lead in identifying a suitable fund-raiser. The Steering Group had no plans to use the Knowle arena in 2005 and agreed that the Council could offer the facilities, normally used by the International Folk Festival, to the Sidmouth Carnival Committee.


(1) that the folk festival steering group be offered use of the Council facilities normally used by the International Folk Festival, during the traditional folk festival time period in 2005 at nil cost but advised that this would be reviewed in future years,

(2) that no funding be given to the steering group;

(3) that the Council facilitate the steering group to become properly constituted;

(4) that the Knowle arena, normally used by the International Folk Festival, be offered for use by Sidmouth Carnival Committee during the traditional folk festival time period in 2005,

(5) that electronic provision for the festival be narrowed down onto one specific website held by the steering group.

(Councillor S Hughes declared a prejudicial interest in this item as President of Sidmouth Carnival Committee, and left the Chamber during discussion and voting.)

The key point is that the steering group were offered facilities in the the arena but turned them down. That in my view was an appalling misjudgement. A few 'high profile' folk acts in the arena (which could probably have been obtained free of charge) could probably have paid for many more fringe activities in 2005, and been under the control of the steering group.

A brief analysis of the potential of the arena to generate cash was published on this website some time ago.

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