Well, it was my first sidmouth, and despite spending a lot of it as a bulverton gate steward still managed to enjoy myself. Gripes.. I tried to attend the gegorian chant workshops held in the parish church..excellent acoustics, but marred by insufficient words and music sheets, no way can you sing by reading the script held by someone two rows in front, one row in front was possible, but without magnified binocular vision, you were still singing directely into someones ear. Other workshops I found to be more of a 'self-promotion' event than workshop, but after hearing tales of the anchor found that lacking on several fronts, the bar staff who served me up a couple of pints of suspect Thatchers and proceeded to make a real meal of changing it for me,( I stuck to my guns then, and got a full refund), the excellent irish and MBS sessions were marred by the lack of the old wall acting as a baffle to each other, and the garden party noise made MBS downright difficult to enyoy sometimes. The Dove sessions were small but beautifully formed (although I beleive it was an instument 'no-go' area), Ham marquee events were very good, as was LNE. The esplande was more akin to english football night in the spanish resorts, with the dross on sale, hawkers , pan-handlers , & buskers ...pushed 'folk-week' into obscurity. Well done to all the Morris sides who took part, how the 'rappers' didn't manage to have anyones arm or leg off in the tiny places they displayed beats me!
As for the noise at Bulverton, having seen it from my stance on the gate at 8PM-12AM, 12AM-4AM, 4AM-8AM over several nights, I can tell you I was not impressed.. up till 2AM, I can understand, even staying up to see the dawn, but there didn't seem to be any consideration for others. Frankly , many of the people on the site I thought had no interest in folk music but were simply using it as a cheap campsite. Several groups of youngsters, and twenty somethings around me had 'boom-box' sessions of amplified 'head-ache music'. I would like to thank people for their perseverence with producing camping passes, you wouldn't believe some of the excuses and ploys some people had to get in without paying... you paid, why shouldn't they? The number of bits of paper, door passes, season tickets, camping passes, youth passes,priorty passes did seem ridiculous, especially since the issue of these things didn't seem to be resolved until several days in.
If I had paid the full season ticket price, with extra to attend the ham events, and some 'independent' workshops (e.g.concertina), I wold not feel as though I had got my money's worth. The hours I worked , and with extra 'impromtu' stewarding, I feel I just broke even.
Walking with the MBS 'troupe' into the sea was a highlight!
Thanks to the person in the 'lean-to' tent for making it so enjoyable.
It is the people you meet and mutually repect that make up for the shortcomings, oh.... and the music!