My collected thoughts......
I attended several concerts at the Ham and was disappointed at how little effort was made by the stewards to get people to move to the centre of rows to make the remaining empty seats obvious and accessible. Halfhearted announcements were made by the artistes but then seating management is not part of their job. It is not fair that people could not get in when there were many empty seats available (around 5% on each occasion).
With regard to the smell, I think that the straw outside and the carpets inside had nothing to do with it. I think it had more to do with the intense showers on the Monday forcing gas out from the sewage plant under the ham. This would normally percolate through the soil and disperse but with a marquee on top it became trapped because there appeared to be no roof vents in the canvas. The concert part of the tent was not affected but the music stalls were, which indicates a specific problem at that location. The smell was distinctly sewage based rather than rotting straw or carpet. Whatever the cause, it needs sorting out.
The traders on the prom and the street artistes were a problem. There are notices on every lamp-post forbidding trading on pain of a £1000 fine. But where was the enforcement? The street artistes are not booked by the festival but they muscle in on the audiences generated by the festival. The money they collect goes straight into their pockets. We also had problems on several occasions on the market square in getting them out of the way so that scheduled displays could go ahead.
The campsite was noisy but that is part of festival life. However, there has to be some thought for others - a noisy session (that can be heard all over the site) still going on at 4.00am is not reasonable.
The bottom camp site exit at Ice House Lane needs to be open. The last bit of main road up to the main entrance is extremely dangerous and the bottom exit allows you ot avoid at least part of it by going down dark lane, or else going into town via the Sidford road past the Volunteer.
Sad to see the Arena as just a dogs toilet and play area for the rabbits.
Bought a new melodeon - You can never have enough....
Blackmore Gardens - Lovely relaxed family space.
Blackmore Dance Tent - Good dance floor, good bands, good bar (best and cheapest beer in town).
Festival Bus - Really useful, frequent and available from early until the wee small hours.
Chez Nous - Usual good grub, good value and loads of it.
Camp site entrance road and bus park improvements - Big thumbs up.
Radway - No pool table and nice carpet.
Jig Contest - Usual high standard of dance and huge number of entrants
Hammersmith - They kick ass (but not as much as Great Western)
Lots of happy people - What more could you ask for?