That's annoying - just posted a lengthy reply and it never made it through the ether.
Key points: never mind a booking fee, wait until petrol hits £1.70 a litre (£7.70 a gallon or £100+ a tankful).
The point about crab sandwiches is well made - if you are buying a season ticket you tend to make use of it, it's only the people who do the festival 'on the cheap' with camping passports, fringe events and the Anchor ceilidhs who can take time out for a few days to enjoy what else Sidmouth has to offer. If the sun is shining of course.... which it will be.....
It has been normal for individuals to spend £1000 on their Sidmouth week (accommodation, rail fares, season ticket etc) so £900 for a family looks good value. Think of all that free mud for the children to play in!
Booking fees may be annoying for an evening event but when looked at in the context of a week - they are nothing to get too excited about.
Interesting thread though - almost heated at times.