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Kate 50th and last Sidmouth festival? (233* d) RE: 50th and last Sidmouth festival? 15 Jul 04

I've followed this thread for a while and have been interested in what people have to say about the festival. I feel moved to add my own thoughts as the festival's been so influential to my life. Although I've been going since I was five (I'm now in my mid 20s) I have usually stuck to the fringe events. More recently I've stewarded, but this is the first year that I've treated myself to a full season ticket. I love seeing the performers along the seafront and going to the Anchor, the Volunteer and the other free fringe events. I've grown up with the Middle Bar Singers and have many good friends at the festival. But over the last few years of buying the odd day ticket and stewarding I've been able to go to the bigger events including the Late Night Extra and staying on the main camp site. What I really appreciate about the festival is that even now there are things there that I enjoy. As a child the festival was magical, even when we didn't have that much money to go to the paying events. I expect if I'm lucky and the festival is still going when I'm elderly I'll find things there for me then as well. I'd be gutted if the festival stopped. I know there are problems that go hand in hand with its size but that also provides the amazingly wide selection of things to do. Where else is there such a thriving fringe festival along side such a diverse festival. Maybe its not to everyones tastes but there are plenty of other small quality festivals and this in its own right is a great event. I also know that it is extremely expensive and I feel very fortunate that I can afford a ticket this year. It deffinately hurt handing over my credit card number but if you consider it's for a whole week and compare it to other events of it size its pretty comparable. Again there is also plenty to enjoy free on the fringes. I expect the management will have to find a very different way of working- Steve in Sidmouth described how the Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Ballet School all play an added educational role (maybe that's an idea for Sidmouth?) I really hope that they'll be able to save it.

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