Sidmouth Festival in Wales? From the BBC Wales website 23 Jan 2005 - and based on inaccurate information from the local council!

Folk festival looks at Welsh move

A major international folk festival usually held in Devon could be staged in Llanelli, south west Wales, after outgrowing its current location. The Sidmouth International Festival, one of Britain's longest-running music festivals, attracts thousands of people and brings 5m to the local economy. (this has been questioned!)

But organisers say they are looking for a bigger venue to stage the show.

They are in talks with Carmarthenshire Council who have offered Llanelli's Festival Fields.

Organisers of the festival are planning to visit the site to assess its suitability.

The event, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2004 and attracted around 60,000 people to Devon over six days, is said to have brought in an estimated 5m into the local economy. (
read that again: is said to have brought in..?!..)

If the Festival Fields site is deemed suitable, the event will be staged there in August 2006.

More than 65,000 is being spent at the site on new infrastructure including a permanent fence and power.

It has already staged a number of events including a three day 'Party on the Coast' extravaganza last summer.

Carmarthenshire Councillor Clive Scourfield said: "The Festival Fields is a fantastic site and is rightly attracting interest from far and wide.

"It is in a stunning location and the recent investment will provide the infrastructure needed to attract big name organisations.

"The council is committed to providing better events and entertainment across Carmarthenshire and we are confident that Festival Fields will become widely known as a major venue in Wales."

Comment: If this is a big-field extravaganza like Glastonbury
would it really be a replacement for Sidmouth? So much of the atmosphere is generated by the town centre: it is possible to dip in and out of folkie activities because there is so much else on offer.

A day after this story was posted, Steve Heap wrote to the BBC as follows (copied from the mudcat website). The BBC immediately amended their webpage.

Sir,

Your item re: the speculation of Sidmouth Festival moving to Wales. As the ex-Director of Sidmouth Festival and Director of Mrs Casey Music I can quite categorically state that the 50-year-old Sidmouth Festival belongs and should remain in Sidmouth. My organisation may well be entering into discussions with Carmarthenshire Council to investigate the possibility of running an event on a site yet to be viewed. Under no circumstances will Mrs Casey Music attempt to move Sidmouth International Festival to Wales.

I would appreciate you withdrawing the BBC website speculation whilst understanding that the information may well be contained in a press release from the Council.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Heap, Director


read the BBC story here (revised version!)

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