Just returned from a very enjoyable weekend at Towersey as part of Great Western Morris. As this was my first time at the festival I thought I would chuck a few comments out to see what the response was....
1) I didn't find the line-up very inspiring. The ceilidhs were good but nothing else made me think "Wow, I must see them". Was this year on a par with previous line-ups, or was this a poor year?
2) There were a lot of people there. Rumour has it that 1000 extra tickets were sold and I heard gripes that it was losing the intimate feel of previous years. Personally, I could get to see all I wanted to see because I was happy to sit outside but if the weather had been bad then it might have been a different story.
3) Camp site 2 was appalling. It was shockingly crowded and the washing/toilet facilites were pathetic. They were not cleaned often enough and there was rarely any water for hand washing. There were practically no washing facilities on site, which for a five day festival is very poor. The only showers were communal, off site and only available in timed slots. When you pay a lot of money for a ticket to a "professional" festival then you expect something better, healthier and less like a refugee camp.
4) While most of the stewards were friendly and helpful, there were a number of "jobsworths" who caused problems by sticking rigidly to the "rules" and not applying common sense to situations. Is this just another consequence of the "professionalisation" of festival organising?
5) Tickets for artists. I know it is common policy these days for artists to only get a ticket for the day they are performing (or no ticket just a fee) but I feel that this only diminishes the intimate friendly atmosphere of a folk festival. I don't like the "they are artists, you are paying punters" attitude. I like to be able to mix and talk with them - that way both sides can find out what the other thinks and wants. They can also informally join in at sessions/singarounds/chats in the bar. I think it is great that Andy Cutting attended the whole festival, but appalled that he had to buy his own ticket!
Hmmmm. Bit of a rant there. Best go and lie down. Still, when all's said and done, I did enjoy myself and would go again!