Sidmouth Folk Festival 2005: Press Release following from the 23 October meeting.

Press Release: 9 November 2004

Plans are coming together for a week of events under the title 'Sidmouth Folk Week 2005' to replace the former Sidmouth International Festival which has been held in the Devon town during the first week in August for the last fifty years.

Ever since the former organisers of the Sidmouth International Festival (Steve Heap and Mrs Casey Music) announced that they would not be running the festival in 2005, there has been uncertainty about what would happen to the event next year.

Over the last three months, several individuals and organisations have been planning their own events in the town during the first week in August.

But now these organisers have come together to co-ordinate their approach. Eddie Upton, Director of Folk South West said, 'I am greatly encouraged by the positive and co-operative spirit of the people who are dedicated to putting on folk music and dance events in Sidmouth in 2005. This could be a really exciting week of events, capturing the underlying spirit of the annual festival'

Amongst the events being planned are:

Concerts of folk music and song in The Manor Pavilion and hopefully The Bedford Hotel, organised by three separate groups – Eddie Upton of Folk South West, Wren Music and local folk musicians Barry Lister and Tom Addison. Eddie is a former Arena and Dance Producer at the festival, whilst Barry is a former Song and Arena Producer.

A social dance programme, organised by the festival's most recent social dance advisor Ray Goodswen, probably using Sidmouth College and St Francis Hall. Workshops during the day and evening dances are planned, with bands such as Pendragon, Orion's Ring and Kelly's Eye and dance callers and workshop leaders including Colin Hume, Chris Turner, Charles Bolton and Mike Courthold.

Arena concerts at the outdoor Knowle Arena. Confirmed guests include Show of Hands, The Strawbs, The Worzels and Battlefield Band. The events are being organised by Stuart Hughes and Chris Wale, Sidmouth-based festival supporters who also organise the town's Caribbean Night and Carnivals.

Morris dance displays in the town are being co-ordinated by local dance group Sidmouth Steppers who have spread the fame of the festival at Morris dance gatherings in many parts of the country.

Informal song and music events in several of the pubs and hotels in the town, including The Anchor (the Middle Bar Singers), The Radway (music session), The Bedford Hotel bar, The New Tavern and the Sailing Club.

Workshops and other events are likely to include the West Gallery Music Association, Cornwall Songwriters, storytelling, French dance workshops and a song collectors' forum. Links have also been made with Budleigh Salterton Arts Festival.

There are also plans for Ceilidhs and a camp-site and an application to hold a 'Late-Night Extra' event has been submitted to the authorities.

Sidmouth Folk Week 2005 is supported by Sidmouth Town Council, whilst East Devon District Council is providing some services including several venues.

Although the organisers of each event, or series of events, will be responsible for their own activities, an umbrella website has been set up on www.sidmouthfolkweek.org.uk and this will contain details of events and venues and, in due course, performers and ticket prices. There will also be links to the websites of individual event organisers, where these exist. There are currently no plans for a season ticket, but visitors to the town will be able to purchase tickets for individual events in advance, just like other arts festivals.

It is hoped to produce a collective programme of events in the Spring, with the Sidmouth Tourist Information Centre handling ticket sales. Currently, however, there is no funding for producing such a programme.

Individuals who are interested in joining the Sidmouth Folk Week mailing list are asked to send stamped and addressed envelopes to: Tony Day, Harvest Home, 8 Underhill Crescent, Lympstone, Devon, EX8 5JF. Or to email SidmouthFolkWeek@exmouth.demon.co.uk Details will be kept on a database.

Anyone else who is interested in putting on events, or in helping with the arrangements, or in sponsoring events or publicity, can also use these contact details.

The dates of Sidmouth Folk Week 2005 will be Friday 29 July to Friday 5 August 2005.


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