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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Steve in Sidmouth Sidmouth Folk Week - New Director (67* d) RE: Sidmouth Folk Week - New Director 24 Aug 11

The comment from Steve Mansfield seems curious - Joan Crump was at Sidmouth for 3 years - see the Press Release.

The history of how Sidmouth was 'saved' is well documented and if any one person should be singled out it is probably Gordon Newton.

I quote from my own website:

The history of Sidmouth's International Festival in the years up to the 50th and final year are documented on this website. In 2005 things looked bleak, yet together with many local 'folkies' two men stepped forward to help ensure that some sort of festival took place. It was widely thought then (and probably correctly) that if there was no festival worthy of the name at all in 2005, it would be far more difficult to restart one in 2006 or subsequently. Therefore, 2005 was seen as a crucial year. Two names stand out - both men were prepared to risk tens of thousands of pounds of their own money in order to try and ensure that the festival didn't die completely. These were Gordon Newton, a folk musician and businessman from Kent and Malcolm Burrough, one of a family of Devon farmers and landowners - he runs the Thorn Park golf centre, where many folkies have camped for years.

At the time, Tony Reed was a local and long serving councillor and also Chairman of the Town Council. He was therefore able to 'pull strings' as needed. Whilst Gordon Newton organised events on the Ham and in the town, Mr Burrough prepared to take on the task of running an LNE event. Yet every possible obstacle seemed to be put in his way by EDDC - something that Councillor Reed could surely have tried to prevent?

Mr Burrough was even asked ' what if there were complaints about the noise from Seaton?' - Seaton is about six miles away from the Thorn Park site! Faced however with what he regarded as ridiculous demands for numbers of toilets (in addition to a large number of security guards and other demands) Mr Burrough pulled out at the last minute, rather than face losses of maybe £20,000 to £30,000. Very late in the day, Gordon Newton stepped in again to run the LNE also - and he apparently lost a lot of money in the process.

There was no doubt therefore that Gordon Newton did as much as anyone else (if not far more) to save Sidmouth festival in 2005.

End of quote - full page here: Gordon Newton - airbrushed from history?

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