Edited comments from 'another
Sidmouth resident' - January 2005 - from the mudcat website. They present a contrast to
the views summarised on the last page. I do not know the author's identity.
8 Jan 2005
I know many of the people who are trying to keep events in Sidmouth going. They are good
friends. I respect their views but I'm also entitled to mine. I currently enjoy the
occasional drink or chat with Tony, Stuart and the others. They are so passionate about
what they are doing that if they knew my identity our friendly beer or chat would be
replaced with a very unfriendly argument. That is why I choose not to reveal my identity.
I don't want the Sidmouth festival to die but I fear the very restricted programme of
events in 2005 will hasten its demise. I believe 2005 should be a gap year so a real
festival can be properly planned in 2006 without a semi-festival fiasco in the meantime.
It is very difficult to be positive and support events which you know are doomed to
I live here in Sidmouth. I know what's really going on. There are sadly an awful lot of
people in Sidmouth who are delighted to see the back of the festival and don't actually
want their quiet little seaside retirement town taken over by hordes of loud folkies every
The events programme, such as it is, keeps changing but is slowly but surely being
scaled-down as realism sets in.
All plans to continue using the Arena have been dropped since the true costs became known
and I fear similar costs and licensing restrictions will eventually put paid to plans for
concerts in a marquee at the Ham.
Officers at East Devon District Council are demanding £15 million public liability
insurance and a whole raft of health and safety measures for EVERY outdoor / tented event.
The Town Council, or at least part of it, is trying to keep a few events going but I
understand the District Council has still not approved licences for ANY events at the Ham,
Blackmore Gardens or anywhere else... and will be imposing the same restrictions that
helped to drive last year's organisers out-of-town.
My belief is that we will just end up with a handful of concerts in the Manor Pavilion and
The Bedford, a couple of dances in church halls and some sessions in The Anchor and a few
other supportive public houses who don't need extra licences, insurance, infrastructure
I keep posting because I think it's important that well-intentioned outsiders know what
they are up against - a District Council that has withdrawn all funding and support for
the festival and a local community that, in large part, doesn't want the festival anyway.
It's also important that people still planning to travel to Sidmouth in late July do so in
the full knowledge of what is and is not happening. It would be wrong to attract them with
the promise of a festival when the truth is there will just be a few small-scale concerts
plus a number of sessions in local public houses.
Sorry if that is negative but it's the truth. I want to see a proper festival back in my
home town. I greatly admire those trying to keep some events going but they are wrong to
dress these events up as "The Sidmouth Festival" when the truth of the matter is
that the events taking place this summer will be nothing like the Sidmouth Festival we
have known and loved.
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