I, too had a fantastic time at Sidmouth this year, much of it in the Bedford (main bar). I found that if there was anybody being rude or intolerant, then if it couldn't be easily sorted, the staff happily involved themselves. This only happened a couple of times to my knowledge.
I do, though, have to take issue with the idea that I don't contribute to the festival because I've only been to 1 event in the last 5 years. The atmosphere around the town would alter dramatically without people playing sessions. There is a space and an importance for both events attenders and non-events attenders, not some sort of hierarchy. (By the way, it was Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill last year)