Desert Dancer - NuCeilidh is more complex dances but with ceilidh attitude, I understand. I'm waiting to find out about Transatlantic Ceilidh.
Ivy, re shoes - wear what ever you find most comfortable to dance in, as believe that most venues are pretty relxed about footware. The dance venues vary from church halls to wooden dance floors in marquees. When dancing at The Anchor Gardens you're outside and in fact you're in a car park, so trainers works best for me there and anything more delicate might not withstand tarmac.
Tankards are a matter of personal choice. A significant minority of people at Sidmouth do use them, but personally I prefer the taste of beer to the taste of peuter.
Fred, there are one of two venues that do have a reputation for getting very full. For example The Manor Pavillion, The Bedford (for concerts) and sometimes The Ham. The first two are relatively small venues, and especially if there's a terrifically popular act on getting in can be an issue. The Ham, on the other hand, is massive - round about 1,000, I think. In general, if you're prepared to queue (at least 30 mins in advance) you're often okay, but it always depends on what else is on at the same time, what the weather's like etc. Getting into the dances is rarely a problem. The good thing about Sidmouth, though, is that if something is full, you often don't have to go far to find something else instead.
If there's something you really, really, really don't want to miss, go and check out the venue first and ask advice from the stewards. They generally get a reasonable feel for what queuing might be like, but it is sometimes hard to predict.
The campsite is very civilised and it's about 25 mins brisk walk from the seafront. There's pavement most of the way now, but nearer to the campsite you have to walk on the road. Torches and reflective stuff (even if only one of those snap-on wrist bands) a v important at night. Some people bring bikes - it's perfectly cyclable. There's a bus running 3-4 times an hour (mostly) as well. The journey back up to the campsite is up the hill (gentle incline) but if you've had a good enough day you won't notice by night time :-)
Tips on cheap, reasonable healthy eating: rolls/oat cakes and cheese, humous etc in town from the grocers / supermarket. White Horse Cafe and Prospect are the chippies (not healthy, exactly), and I'd recommend White Horse as better chips and cheaper, but Prospect is better presented. Gnesha's Wholefoods (my favourite Sidmouth food place) makes the best salad, houmous and falafels around, plus they do a good line in herbs, spices, cakes and yoghurt coated dried fruit.
There you go, that's my two penn'th. I hope anyone coming to Sidmouth for the first time enjoys it as much as I did and still do! I've met so many people and made very good friends as a result of Sidmouth. I'm glad I've got the habbit!
See you in a few weeks time!