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Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation

Kev The Clogs 09 Aug 09 - 09:30 AM
GUEST 09 Aug 09 - 09:35 AM
Mrs_Annie 09 Aug 09 - 10:05 AM
Stower 09 Aug 09 - 10:46 AM
Howard Jones 09 Aug 09 - 11:10 AM
Ruth Archer 09 Aug 09 - 11:15 AM
Acorn4 09 Aug 09 - 11:17 AM
Leadfingers 09 Aug 09 - 11:17 AM
Morticia 09 Aug 09 - 01:07 PM
The Barden of England 09 Aug 09 - 01:13 PM
mattkeen 09 Aug 09 - 04:46 PM
Emma B 09 Aug 09 - 05:15 PM
George Papavgeris 09 Aug 09 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,eliza c 09 Aug 09 - 07:27 PM
Surreysinger 09 Aug 09 - 08:27 PM
Emma B 09 Aug 09 - 08:33 PM
The Borchester Echo 09 Aug 09 - 08:50 PM
Guy Wolff 09 Aug 09 - 09:56 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Aug 09 - 03:37 AM
The Barden of England 10 Aug 09 - 03:47 AM
Marilyn 10 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM
Acorn4 10 Aug 09 - 05:39 AM
The Barden of England 10 Aug 09 - 05:50 AM
Leadfingers 10 Aug 09 - 06:00 AM
Ruth Archer 10 Aug 09 - 06:11 AM
George Papavgeris 10 Aug 09 - 06:28 AM
Moses 10 Aug 09 - 06:57 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 10 Aug 09 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 10 Aug 09 - 07:36 AM
The Sandman 10 Aug 09 - 07:43 AM
George Papavgeris 10 Aug 09 - 08:04 AM
Surreysinger 10 Aug 09 - 08:23 AM
Mrs_Annie 10 Aug 09 - 08:37 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Aug 09 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Essex Girl 10 Aug 09 - 08:55 AM
Ruth Archer 10 Aug 09 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,Vince 10 Aug 09 - 09:06 AM
Leadfingers 10 Aug 09 - 09:08 AM
nickp 10 Aug 09 - 10:14 AM
The Barden of England 10 Aug 09 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Dan 10 Aug 09 - 11:28 AM
Surreysinger 10 Aug 09 - 12:42 PM
melodeonboy 10 Aug 09 - 02:29 PM
Herga Kitty 10 Aug 09 - 03:14 PM
Houston_Diamond 10 Aug 09 - 07:10 PM
Rumncoke 11 Aug 09 - 06:06 AM
steve_harris 11 Aug 09 - 06:08 AM
melodeonboy 11 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM
Cllr 11 Aug 09 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Martin Hughes 11 Aug 09 - 07:50 AM
The Sandman 11 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Martin Hughes 11 Aug 09 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Pip 12 Aug 09 - 07:03 AM
The Barden of England 12 Aug 09 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Pip 12 Aug 09 - 07:50 AM
Ruth Archer 12 Aug 09 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,j 12 Aug 09 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 12 Aug 09 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 12 Aug 09 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 12 Aug 09 - 10:01 AM
Ruth Archer 12 Aug 09 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Sue 12 Aug 09 - 11:54 AM
lady penelope 12 Aug 09 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 12 Aug 09 - 04:03 PM
Folkiedave 12 Aug 09 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Pip 13 Aug 09 - 05:43 AM
Tug the Cox 13 Aug 09 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Surreysinger at work 13 Aug 09 - 09:08 AM
the lemonade lady 13 Aug 09 - 09:51 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Aug 09 - 01:27 PM
Mr Red 13 Aug 09 - 03:19 PM
bfdk 13 Aug 09 - 05:12 PM
GUEST 13 Aug 09 - 05:16 PM
Chris_S 13 Aug 09 - 05:29 PM
dilligafxx 14 Aug 09 - 03:30 AM
dilligafxx 14 Aug 09 - 04:46 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 14 Aug 09 - 04:59 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 14 Aug 09 - 05:00 AM
dilligafxx 14 Aug 09 - 05:15 AM
The Borchester Echo 14 Aug 09 - 05:22 AM
Mr Yellow 14 Aug 09 - 05:29 AM
Ruth Archer 14 Aug 09 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 14 Aug 09 - 07:34 AM
Valmai Goodyear 14 Aug 09 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at Work 14 Aug 09 - 07:54 AM
Ruth Archer 14 Aug 09 - 08:42 AM
dj bass 14 Aug 09 - 09:49 AM
Ruth Archer 14 Aug 09 - 10:04 AM
Valmai Goodyear 14 Aug 09 - 10:21 AM
dj bass 14 Aug 09 - 11:51 AM
PaulF 14 Aug 09 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 14 Aug 09 - 03:36 PM
Gervase 14 Aug 09 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 15 Aug 09 - 02:59 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 15 Aug 09 - 06:12 AM
steve_harris 15 Aug 09 - 07:15 AM
GRex 15 Aug 09 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 15 Aug 09 - 08:25 AM
bfdk 15 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,ifor 15 Aug 09 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 17 Aug 09 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 17 Aug 09 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,Jim Redfern 17 Aug 09 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 17 Aug 09 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Folkie 17 Aug 09 - 12:40 PM
mattkeen 18 Aug 09 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Dick Goddard 04 Sep 09 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 04 Sep 09 - 07:09 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 04 Sep 09 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Dick Goddard 05 Sep 09 - 08:46 AM
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Subject: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Kev The Clogs
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 09:30 AM

Well, what can I say??!!!

Just got back from Sidders. Great week - LOADS of GREAT memories etc etc.

I thought that I'd start this EVALUATION thread regarding Sidmouth 2009 as there are many threads relating to many matters that are now getting fairly jumbled!!!

I have a fair few thoughts about 2009 - too tired to compose them now, but hope that this thread can be used PRODUCTIVELY and HONESTLY to comment on all aspects of the festival in order that views can be considered and possibly acted upon for 2010.

I'll pop back tomorrow and post my views.

regards

Kev


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 09:35 AM

We didn't actually go to Sidmouth, but I was talking to Brian Dawson last night who said that there were a few problems with people who had bought full week tickets b not being able to get into venues.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Mrs_Annie
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 10:05 AM

Some of the venues are small and if you really want to get into something you have to start queuing early. It's all part of the experience.

The experience was brillant this year, enhanced by a few 'virgin' friends coming down, who all did different thngs but really enjoyed themselves.

Missing it already.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Stower
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 10:46 AM

GUEST, it is impossible for an organiser to know exactly how many ticket holders are going to attend any one particular event. A season ticket is therefore for the festival as a whole and does not therefore guarantee admission to any one particular event. If you really want to get in, be there early. I, for excample, wanted to go to the Quebecois workshop, which was first thing in the morning. That day I got up rather slowly and arrived just in time for it to start. I didn't get in, as it was already full. I didn't feel in the least agrieved or that there was anything 'wrong' with the organising side: all venues have a capacity and if I had wanted to get in *that* desperately I'd have been there earlier.

(BTW, GUEST, please use a name to distinguish you from other 'guest's.)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Howard Jones
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 11:10 AM

I was only there for the second part of the week - good timing as it turned out as the weather had improved by then.

My main observations are:

The melodeon masterclass with John Spiers was at the same time as the anglo concertina workshop with Keith Kendrick. There are quite a lot of musicians who play both instruments who would face a difficult choice.

The weather earlier in the week had reduced the campsite to a bog. Vehicle movements were impossible and even walking was difficult in places. The approach to the Bulverton marquee was also very muddy. I overheard a steward saying that the equipment to lay temporary roadways was available but the festival had decided not to spend the money. Understandable, but when the weather turned out to be poor a bit of temporary surfacing, even on only the critical areas, would have made all the difference.

It was my first visit to Sidmouth for many years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highlights for me were Babylon Lane's shape note and Roger Watson's harmony singing workshops. As usual, I spent too much time playing in sessions to get to many official events.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 11:15 AM

"I overheard a steward saying that the equipment to lay temporary roadways was available but the festival had decided not to spend the money."

The festival actually tried very hard to source the necessary additional trackway, but because the weather conditions were affecting events all over the south of the country, it was in very short supply and we were unable to do so. There are already plans in place to source extra trackway now in order to have it on standby for next year.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Acorn4
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 11:17 AM

Sorry, the "Guest" was me; I was on my laptop and didn't notice I hadn't logged in.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 11:17 AM

I had to come home early in 1997 , so I missed seeing The Sid in flood then , but it WAS interesting this year , seeing the Ford closed for two days !


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Morticia
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 01:07 PM

would have been better if i had managed to stay in one piece...having said that, local ambulance crew and exeter a&e were great.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Barden of England
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 01:13 PM

Can you imagine what it would have been like if the Arena was still going? At least the events are now under cover (apart from the Anchor dances). I'm sure the team did their best with what they had, and hope that the weather hasn't made next year too difficult. I thoroughly enjoyed Sidmouth this year and it was good to see the international part starting to come back. I did feel sorry for those on the campsite but a day and a half of solid rain in one go would challenge even a Haven Holiday site.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: mattkeen
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 04:46 PM

Loved it

Mike Wilson's singing was fantastic and the rest of the Peter Bellamy tribute concert was great as well

Spiers and Boden were stunning; Hugh Lupton's storytelling great and the Dhol Foundation were a pure joy.


Loved the Methodist Church as a venue - Spooky Men were great in there.

Found Mawkin: Causley underwhelming

Well done Joan - great speech at the Folk Against Fascists launch too


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Emma B
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 05:15 PM

It was my first, and alas, a VERY brief visit

Because of the contraints of time the problem with setting up (and taking down 24 hours later) on the camp site - not being allowed vehicular access - was problematic as was taking heavy equipment to the Bulverton marquee.

However the overall organization was impressive, the stewards were very helpful if not always 100% informed themselves and.....

I want to come back again!

Thanks to everyone for providing me with such a welcome break from being on the jury of a harrowing murder trial - just what I needed


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 06:35 PM

I was only there Friday-to-Sunday and had limited opportunities to listen to many other acts, but I was once more very impressed by Vicki Swan/Jonny Dyer (I know, I often praise them and collaborate with them, but they WERE good) and Lester Simpson's sets were a revelation - what an excellent performer and perfect pro to boot!

I also found Stream of Sound very enjoyable indeed, a cut above the usual choirs, and the Claque were brilliant again, but I have come to expect that from them.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 07:27 PM

Aside from the weather, which was difficult because we had forgotten our pram and had to borrow one without a hood or a rain hood (i know...), we had a nice time. All the concerts were lovely, loved the Methodist Hall despite having problems with acoustic venues normally because of the throat trouble. Gorgeous acoustics, no problem at all and it was lovely hearing Jim Causley sing rather than watch him whoop me during the Silent Disco with his funky "it's raining men" moves...
The only thing that got me this year was the same thing that got me last year: the uncurable unfriendliness and intransigence of the other old-timey session in the Bedford. that's not the main one in the bar area side room, but the one in the smaller restaurant room.
Last year we went with Jock and Vera from the New Ropes and joined in, only to be told that we were playing things wrong and to have fingers wagged at my boyfriend for trying to play a break during one of the tunes.
This year we took our new friends from Genticorum and both of our babies, and tried to listen with a bottle of wine. The room was mostly empty apart from three or four musicians, there were empty tables out and we initially had a nice time having a quiet chat and enjoying the ambience.
As the afternoon went on a few other people turned up with babies, clearly thinking that this was a baby friendly room, and soon after the session was stopped by one of the players complaining that the non-players were talking. Specifically he said that "the children were behaving, but..." Behaving?
Immediately over half the room was on the back foot and uncomfortable. Within half an hour the room was cleared of everyone but the players, who continued to tut at the slightest whisper from anyone.
So what is the problem?
Is this public room in a bar their own private concert?
Was this a ticketed event that should demand quiet respect?
Who has the right to enjoy the space more? There was nowhere else to go, we ended up in our room upstairs, embarrassed and chastised. Our French Canadian friends were confused as to why the atmosphere had turned in such a way. The room downstairs was again more than half-empty and a load of families were wandering the streets, unable to hear any music.
Grr. what does anyone think about this? i personally thought that it was a nice example of how intolerant and precious English folkies can be, regardless of where the music originates that they play. Exclusive. Keep out. Hmm.
x eliza


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Surreysinger
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 08:27 PM

Interesting that, Eliza. We had exactly the opposite of that in the Volunteer on Thursday evening. The sessions there were a mixture of song and music (and occasional story telling - very occasional, and mostly Ken Langsbury). Mostly English traditional music. A family came in and sat down to listen - on going around the room Roger Grimes enquired if there was anybody there who hadn't sung but wanted to ... and a young lady indicated that she wished to have a go. When she stood up, she announced that we would all know the song ... which turned out to be "I don't know how to love him" from jesus Christ Superstar. She was given a warm round of applause ... and she and the family continued to sit and listen to the rest of us for the remainder of the evening. They went away giving every indication of having enjoyed themselves. Discussing it in the garden the following lunchtime, general opinion was that (a) she had displayed guts in standing up to sing (she was clearly nervous) and (b) the fact that she had clearly no idea of the intended content of the session was neither here nor there. She had sat and enjoyed the evening, and had clearly felt included ... and sharing music and song was what the whole session was about. Sounds a vast way away from the snooty attitude you seem to have encountered in the Bedford, thank goodness.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Emma B
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 08:33 PM

I found the Anchor pub on Sunday lunchtime and the staff were friendly and accomodating - they even provided a desperate smoker with a light and allowed me a taste of the brews on offer!

Apart from a little hyping with prices - how could I resist the ice creams on offer - I found the town and folkies welcoming and would have no hestiation in returning - mud an' all :)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 08:50 PM

I've joined in (unobtrusively) in a few old-timey sessions (not that one) and have noticed a somewhat dismissive attitude to those players who try to wing it, though I'm quite sure this wasn't the case with the musician EC cites. In general, I'd support entirely the principle that if you're not yet good enough to play out, stay practising in your bedroom till you are. What I haven't encountered among old-timey players is any hostility towards non-players. What did they mean by "the children are behaving"? That the adults weren't? Surely you didn't break out in a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber? Now that would be going too far, even for the Bedford.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 09:56 PM

I am glad to hear EC can get in as much trouble as I have in walking into a session with the wrong foot forward . I have never heard of such a thing though around old time music over here ( connecticut ) . The kid in the rocker is usually next to the clawhammer banjo playing mom . Id follow ELiza around on her fiddle with my banjo any time <><><> baby happily in tow .. All the best , Guy


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 03:37 AM

Wow! That's a bit like the policeman who once offered Stirling Moss driving advice. Compared to Broadstairs it was just SO nice to have so many song/sessions to choose from - I gather there was even an open stage that I never found out about.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Barden of England
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 03:47 AM

I just don't understand why people do that. I must admit to having asked for a little less noise late on in the Bedford Main Bar when singing - although I made it through with voice intact this year, but now have a cold (drat), but it is a bar after all, there to sell drink and not to pander to some people's preciousness.
Eliza - when you mention the other old timey session, I believe you mean in the smaller room behind the bar opposite the main concert room. If so I still don't see what right anybody has to complain about talking as it's part of the hotel and you had every right to be in there too, and as for 'playing things wrong' how the hell do they know? I'm left speechless - and that is almost unheard of:-)
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Marilyn
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM

mmm... I do know what Eliza means about the usual crowd in the little back room at the Bedford. Last year we had a very uncomfortable time in there and left pretty sharpish when it became obvious we weren't welcome.

This year we hadn't really intended to play in that room at all but one afternoon just wanted to join a session for an hour or so and couldn't get in anywhere except for that little room where there was no music going on and only a few people sitting having a drink. We went in and started playing and, although the drinkers were very noisy, we accepted that as it is a public bar and we have no right to expect people to be quiet. We were the only people playing for quite some time then, just as we were thinking of packing up because we had friends coming to join us in our flat for a meal, the drinkers got out guitars and so on and started singing. They seemed a bit disappointed that we were getting ready to leave but the timing was pure coincidence. So, a different experience completely from last year.

On Thursday night we wandered in to the Bedford again and managed to get seats in the front room to the right of the entrance. We were made very welcome and the lady (you will all know who I mean) who dances on the board in particular was very friendly and welcoming to us. We had a great time and went back to the flat feeling very much that this is what Sidders is all about. Loads of people came up to ask about the weird looking instrument I play (bass recorder) and the atmosphere was really welcoming and inclusive.

We had a wonderful time and will definitely be back next year.

Marilyn


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM

It's not an uncommon story, I'm afraid. As far as I'm concerned, if you choose to play or run a session in a public bar, then you put up with what the public bar is like - or clear off to a private room and do it all in peace to your heart's content. There's a constant debate about this on TheSession.org forum, along the lines that the session is primarily for the players, rather than any audience. If this is the case, then go somewhere where you won't be bothered by an audience.

As for beginners sitting in, or playing it "wrong", give me patience! If you want a note perfect session, with all instruments constantly playing the tune, the whole tune and nothing but the tune, then get yourselves off to a private house or room somewhere, call yourself an exclusive club - and get on with it. A public session is what it says: public - so enjoy all the luck of the draw that you get with the public!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 05:39 AM

We didn't manage to get to Sidmouth this year but my memories of that little back room was that it was prone to getting taken over by wall to wall melodeons.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Barden of England
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 05:50 AM

Talking about wall to wall melodeons, there was one occasion in the Swan this year when playing in the back garden, I decided to go in the bar and get a pint of Youngs Kew. There were 7 large accordians playing in there. Blimey, I thought, that's made getting to the bar easier ;-)
Bloody good players mind you.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 06:00 AM

Fortunately , the Bedford small room crowd dont seem to bother with The Newt ! I havent been in there for YEARS but they didnt seem to want any one NOT in their clique then either.
The Newt is a Pub Entertainment and if WE complained about people who
wanted to chat , we wouldnt be there at all !!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 06:11 AM

I arrived in the back "singers" room at the Bedford - which was virtually empty at the time - on Friday night, feeling knackered and a bit ill and looking for somewhere quiet to have a few minutes post-fireworks. I sat down, only for a lady to snap at me, "do you usually sit there?" I said, "No...why, is this seat taken?" She replied, "Well, the lady who runs this session usually sits there, so maybe you should sit somewhere else."

This was in AN EMPTY ROOM. If I were a newcomer, I would have felt very unwelcome and probably would have turned around and left. It's a throwback to an insularity which I wish didn't exist at Sidmouth, and it's something I'd really like to see change. I have to confess, I experienced something similar in that same session last year, with people taking the chairs opposite me at the table and turning them around, so that their backs were to me and I was effectively excluded from the "top table" of singers. And it's not down to Sheila, who runs the session - I think she'd be mortified to know anyone whas defending her seat against all comers!

It's a similar attitude to the one Eliza has encountered, and I don't really know what can be done - but it definitely puts off new people, and makes sure that the "usual suspects" get to keep these events to themselves, which is, I guess, the point.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 06:28 AM

I did not join the Bedford sessions this year, but 3 years ago I witnessed similar attitudes in that back room, that caused a number of singers & players to leave (and myself too, in sympathy). Should someone have a quiet word with the lady that runs the session? Is this an appointed role? Alternatively, I wonder what would happen if one responded "bite me" to such childish behaviour.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Moses
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 06:57 AM

I arrived on Monday and stewarded from Tuesday onward.

Tuesday morning's rainy conditions, compounded by the closure of the Methodist church hall, (following a serious incident) meant that some venues were oversubscribed. This could not have been planned for or avoided. Where I was at St Theresa's, by clearing the hall after the first session, we did make sure that those who couldn't get into the first session could at least get into the second.

Despite the mud (and there was lots of it) I managed to pitch and later, strike my tent without too much trouble. I was impressed by the number of wheelbarrows that appeared just when I needed one.

All praise to the campsite crews who were cheerful and helpful. And to whoever was in charge of the loos/showers - cleaned regularly (what a task!)- and no shortage of towels and paper.

Christine


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 07:16 AM

Re: Bedford, if I were insulted or felt to made 'unwelcome' in any pub, I'd be inclined to have a word with the landlord. Does he/she know that this wee clique is offending and thereby turning away custom and giving the place a poor reputation, especially at a time when they might expect business to be brisker.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 07:36 AM

Bedford music session seemed to allow red drums with no comment. Sessions are a bit more anarchic though. The other session as I left was a music session. I think the best way to deal with these things is to really rub in the worthiness.

I always remember sitting in a session at Bridgnorth and it went round the room twice, then the "runners" ask Miss Red if I sang. She rather tersely said "why don't you ask him".

I proceeded to summarise how I had collected the song and researched it and but needed more information and if anyone had any more .. blah blah. Then sang the song, and it is a cracking song.

I am not sure they had the accument to realise they had been shown-up ever so gently but the inference was not lost on assemblage.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 07:43 AM

I sympathise with Eliza.
however, this is not a new phenomenon,it has been going on for years.
I have now been living in Ireland for 19 years,but I saw this sort of thing going on over 20 years ago,when I lived in Suffolk,I have witnessed it[in the past] in certain Folk clubs in London.
there is no right or wrong way of playing anything,there are different styles,isnt that what makes it interesting.
however one part of session etiquette ,that I do think is important,is:if a player starts a tune,listen,listen,and follow their style.
I suppose one of the reasons,I am not popular,is that when I encounter,the sort of nonsense,that Eliza encountered,I tell people to f### off.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 08:04 AM

It's the "hash marks" that offend them, Dick :-)
Keep "hashing"


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Surreysinger
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 08:23 AM

Interesting to see your comments about the singers' sessions at the Bedford, Ruth. Despite having been to them for the last few years, I had never realised that Sheila had an appointed seat (although come to think of it she does tend to sit in the same place each time) or, indeed, that she was actually running a session on those occasions, as it normally appears to run itself with singers 60% of the time launching themselves into the fray when the moment moves them . So how come that woman got the impression that the seats were sacrosanct (or am I just unobservant?). I'm assuming that she wasn't one of the usual singers who frequent the room, since on the whole it generally seems to consist of the same hard core of late night birds. I am, however, intrigued by the idea that there was a "top table" of singers ... I've never been aware of one, only of everybody crowding in and finding a place to sit amongst the dining tables on a first come first served basis. Must keep my eyes open next year [grin]


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Mrs_Annie
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 08:37 AM

I'm very saddened by this, I agree the pub management need to know that they are driving people away.

I also would bet that those responsible do not buy any tickets for anything to contribute towards the festival. Did they even realise exactly who they were insulting - i.e. the artistic director of the festival and one of the most well-loved performers. (PS Eliza we loved seeing Florence in the Bedford and she was having a great time)

As Lester said to us one afternoon, it's you people who buy tickets that keep the festival going. Some people seem to think it's their right to turn up, take over the pubs, and give nothing back.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 08:54 AM

There seems to be a risk of confusion here: As I read it, this behaviour was in the back room at the Bedford (near the concierge desk), not even the front bar (on the right as you look in from the seafront) where there was Americana going on (at least while I was down). I'm sure it could not have been in the bar of the Bedford where John was (and other players far better than me were) extremely welcoming to me on the first Friday night.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Essex Girl
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 08:55 AM

I looked in the back bar on the day in questionand saw the 'baby feeding workshop'. Looked great, I wish there had been somewhere like that for me when my daughter was a baby. You just have to ignore some of the musicians - they can become very precious!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 09:04 AM

The sessions are run completely independently of the Bedford Hotel - believe me, the management there have enough on their plates during folk week, and are not at all party to the vagaries of folk politics, nor, I suspect, would they wish to be. I would have hoped that the folk community could police itself on such matters by trying to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible.

Irene: last year, on the occasion I refer to, I was one of the first people in the room, along with Will Duke and his wife. We sat at a table against the wall, facing into the room. The people who arrived shortly after us - session stalwarts all - proceeded to create their own "top table" down the middle of the room by pulling some tables into the centre and taking the chairs away from our table without even asking if they were being used - Will's wife looked at me and said, "Well, I guess no one's going to be sitting with us, then."

It's this sort of "We own the room" attitude which makes me incredibly cross and which will drive newcomers away, and it's something I'd definitely like to see addressed at future festivals - by the participants themselves. To be honest, both Eliza and I have pretty thick skins, and at least are happy to make these situations public and take those responsible to task. What concerns me far more are the people who may have wandered into either of those rooms for the first time, and though they might not say anything to anyone about it will be put off ever returning, because they have been given the impression that it's "not for them".


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Vince
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 09:06 AM

Just beginning to try solid food again after a pretty much liquid diet last week (and trying to care about work too). But I have to say I enjoyed Sidmouth this year every bit as much as I expected to. The weather put more than a dampner on the beginning of the week, and I think it made for a few fractious people, including a brief fracas in the main bar of the Bedford, during which my guitar went sideways, as did my pint (I was out of the room at the time, it was just happening near where I was sat). All quickly dealt with and soon put behind us.

But apart from the fight, losing my wallet, sleeping in a puddle in my tent, wading through a bog to get on and off the campsite, I couldn't have had a better year. Grand meeting up with some good old friends (Hi John B! and anyone else here whose MC name I don't know) listening to beautiful songs & tunes and generally having a time of it.

Just to come back on Mrs Annie's point that some people "turn up, take over the pubs, and give nothing back." I feel that although I never get to any concerts, my bank statement can surely attest to the fact that I gave plenty to Sidmouth traders (most of which probably goes ultimately to the Guinness brewery I grant you!), and I did everyone a favour by only singing a couple of times all week.

I'm not sure that the bar staff at the Bedford & the Swan'll read this but they did a fantastic job all week, with good humour, so I'd like to thank them albeit indirectly.

Vince


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 09:08 AM

Bear in mind that we are disussing two totally different session here. The Small Room Music Session is to the front of the side entrance and the Late Night Quiet Sing is in the Dining Room that used to be the Residents lounge .
I dont know who attends the Music Session , but the other after hours sing is primarily Volunteer Regulars


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: nickp
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 10:14 AM

Speaking (writing) as someone who spent several evenings and a couple of afternoons in the Bedford old time session - the one in the front right hand room as you face in from the sea and once in the evening in the small dining room between the main bar and the hotel entrance (where we don't usually go) - I would be highly embarassed if there were such rudeness to Eliza and her friends. That's not to say it didn't happen on the times I wasn't there but I would be saddened that any of the old time crowd could be so rude.

I can only apologise for their actions - as I usually apologise for our banjos....

I hope it doesn't put her of trying to listen again.

Nick Pilley (information officer for Friends of American Old Time Music and Dance )


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Barden of England
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 10:20 AM

I was 'monetarily' challenged this year having lost my job in February, but I did attend a couple of concerts and put what little I had in the collecting tins when I could. Many of the 'fringe' people I know always put in the price of a pint or two each day as we are fully aware that no festival, no fringe.
Regarding the Bedford management, Joannie has it right (except for some unknown reason Colin has taken to intoducing me as his 'Musical Director' in the past - must have been the drink!!!) and they graciously give us space and time. We should all treat each other with the same respect and graciousness that the owners and staff of the Bedford give us.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 11:28 AM

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)
Dan


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Surreysinger
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 12:42 PM

Joanie - I must admit that I have usually arrived well after the session has started on most occasions, so have never seen what happens at the outset, and must admit that that sounds very rude. Leadfingers - although a number of Volunteer regulars turn up, they certainly don't form the majority of the attenders in the Bedford sings (in my experience, that is ... can't speak for the nights when I haven't turned up there!!)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: melodeonboy
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 02:29 PM

I was only there from Friday to Sunday (the screaming bombardes of Brittany - i.e. the Lorient festival - drew me away!). I had a great time. My usual haunts (Swan, Bedford, Anchor and York & Faulkner) were all up to par, and I attended a couple of great sessions on Sunday in the Newt and The Old Ship. And the shanty men who performed in the Old Ship on the Sunday were terrific fun.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 03:14 PM

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the morning singarounds that Tim and I ran in the Faulkner bar. They were very well supported again this year, and all over-ran the 2 hours - we sent the collecting tin round for a third time on Thursday.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Houston_Diamond
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 07:10 PM

Sorry I didn't make it there Kitty, I really wanted to but Task Force and getting time with the family left only evenings free for me hence me losing my voice trying to sing over drunken people at the campsite.

But I loved it all as per usual :)

Calculated it as my 31st or 32nd year bar the floody year (which I'm still upset for missing)

:)

Glutton for punishment eh ;)

Sorry to Middle Bar for missing their session to, hopefully see you all in February 2010?!?

Cheers
Houston


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Rumncoke
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 06:06 AM

In the evening York and Faulkener sessions there was real effort put into finding out who wanted to sing and making sure that everyone who came in and wanted to sing got at least one song. There was also prior warning most of the time - X will sing next then it is Y and then you sort of thing.

It made people feel that they were valued - some singers, particularly the nervous ones, are so easily crushed, or startled by being asked to sing rather suddenly that they can't give of their best.

The morning sessions were different but just as good.

The chorus picked up and sang the slightly different versions I know from way back - in many places I would have been steamrollered by the later version off a record, and I even felt at home enough to try some of the funny songs, which found favour too.

I managed a few midday visits to the Anchor, the themed sessions at Woodlands were good - all I reqired was a bit of time travel so I could attend everything I would have liked to be at, rather than having to chose just one or stay for only half the session.

I have been going to Sidmouth for a very long time - I bought a T shirt at the 25th and that wasn't the first one I was at - I hope to manage a few more, but I think that I will leave it well and strong.

There are always going to be those who act daft, think they are God's gift, or are just plain rude - just as usual then, but there is also real friendship despite the company getting together just one week a year, it is rather like coming home.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: steve_harris
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 06:08 AM

I dropped into a huge session at the Sailing Club late one night. There was a guy doing a splendid job of "policing" it. He seemed to be actively looking out for players who couldn't get "in". He then made sure thay got a turn.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: melodeonboy
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM

I second Rumncoke's comments on the Faulkner evening sessions. Very well run; everyone was made to feel very welcome.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Cllr
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 06:39 AM

highlights

1) spooky mens chorale in the methodist church great location and utterly faboulous perforance from the Australians.
2)pam ayres (i know it was the thursday but she was brill)still remmeber (Oh i wish I'd looked after me teeth)
special mention Dalla who were wonderful sort of Breton and Cornish - a pastiche perhaps

favourite personal moments.
1)runnning the tuesday shanty session and raising £750 for Sidmouth Lifeboat from the Middle Bars Singers(thanks to all concerned specially tug the cox and the rest of the exmouth shanty men)
2)leading the Middle BAr singers down to the sing in the sea on thurday afternoon

Low Moments - having sidmouth lurgy for the first few days and missing George Papagaris

other low moments icluded rain and mud in various combinations but its a times like this makes me glad i have a flat in sidmouth.
Final Evaluation.
I had a brilliant time and hope to bring over a boston mummers side to stay with me.

Cllr


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Martin Hughes
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 07:50 AM

I understand where Eliza C is coming from here. I have also experienced the "precious" approach of the hot time session (and so have many of my friends). Even when playing there with friends an accordian (even when sensitively played as a bass instrument) is definitely out of bounds. The strange thing is that the same instrument can be used to drive square dancing along quite nicely.

Have you tried the Sailing Club sessions. A lot of good musicians go there to "chill out" and your Quebequois friends would have been offered   their own spot and treated with the true respect that should be afforded to visitors to the UK.

Best Wishes
Martin Hughes
(Joint Leader of Sidmouth Sailing Club Sessions)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM

a spiritual pilgrimage?and why not,it causes less harm,than most religions,and sounds like people had fun.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Martin Hughes
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 09:34 AM

Glad to see that Steve Harris enjoyed our sessions. We try to give quiet instruments a fair hearing and on the Thursday night we had a bumper crop of people wishing to contribute so I became MC for the night.

Hopefuly others enjoyed the same experience.

Best Wishes
Martin Hughes
(Joint Leader of Sidmouth Sailing Club Sesssions)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Pip
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 07:03 AM

I was only in Sidmouth from the Friday night until Monday morning, working with Shirley Collins on her two shows, so got to see and hear very little - but high points were:

Watching the Belles of London City dance Lumps of Plum Pudding at the EFDSS reception - not a soul in the room but was ravished by the sight of them.

Hearing Sam Lee sing a version of The Deserter I'd not previously known, and doing it beautifully, the handsome fellow.

Dining at Baraza.

Low point - the frequency with which the Bedford sessions in that large front bar were comandeered by hollering macho drunks. The kind of 'oh nay nevering' that makes you blush to be within a hound's gowl of folk music.

That's my tweopenn'orth.

Pip


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Barden of England
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 07:33 AM

One of the reasons I try and avoid the Bedford in the evenings over the weekend Pip. The first Thursday was great, Friday - so,so.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Pip
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 07:50 AM

Wise man, Mister Barden.

But we were staying in The Bedford, and it would have seemed churlish to stride straight up to one's room and not venture into the throng at all - a throng that includes Dan, Rebe and Matt Quinn, Sheila Miller, Dogan Mehmet, other faces from the Royal Oak in Lewes is no bad throng, you'll agree - and it's interesting to hear what others make of the tunes familiar from sessions back home.........but when a couple of goons clamber on the table to bellow some tedious shanty, employing gross gestures by way of illustration (as though I wouldn't know what an arse was if it were not drawn in the air in front of me!)then it's time to quit, shaking one's head over the fact that some in the crowd - women, even - seemed to enjoy this boorishness.

I grow old I grow old
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled

To coin a phrase

Pip


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 07:56 AM

Ah, TS Eliot - the original Grumpy old Man... :)

I don't usually get to the Bedford till after 11-ish, and then repair straight to the dining room, which was quite Spooky on several occasions this year...


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,j
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 09:20 AM

My 2 main complaints for what they're worth - 1) The lack of indication in the working programme that some events (Lark Rise Band at The Manor Pavilion was one) have had pre-booked tickets sold (can be 1/3 of total seat allocation) which have priority over season tickets 2) The absence once again of bunting on The Esplanade, but I understand this is being addressed by the committee.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 09:30 AM

Please, please, remember that it is folk, if you want to join an open session in a seaside town on the sea front in the middle of summer, please remember it is an open session. If you want a quieter more respectful session there are other places. Like the Rugby Club.
It is not as if it is not predictable. When they are fed-up with the Dukes they will wander and find things. Charge on the door and they will carry on wandering. Fill the place before 8pm and they won't be able to get in.

It is a jungle out there. Look for the clearings.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 09:43 AM

Stories abounded about pre-selling 180 tickets for a Pavillion (seating c240)

Pre-selling tickets for a sell-out event shows they miscalculated. Better to have 2 shows the same if they (as stated) preferred to have a more intimate setting. The clues were out there for them to better calculate (according to many complainants).

Who knows - I enjoyed what I participated in and moved on when I was getting jaded.

The Boat Band session was everything I expected and more. Booked (TBC) for the next Gloucester Cajun Festival.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 10:01 AM

My thoughts.

The campsite was a mess and wished there was temporary road surface but didn't they have some down last year and all that did was move the quagmire to the end of the surface?

Is it just me or is the bulverton site getting smaller year on year? Having to stand outside whilst they sound check the lne bands (including for the silent disco???????)for at least half an hour in the cold and rain (including for the silent disco???????) lead me on at least one occasion to bugger off to bed rather than freeze my bollocks and feet off. No where near enough provision for seating.

Thought the Ham marquee was brilliant but feel that other venues (notably Bulverton and Blackmore Garden dance tents)are being squeezed to pay for it. It seems to me that the Festival organisers are trying, year on year, to squeeze the dancers into more and more cramped venues until they disappear completely from the festival.   

By far the biggest problem for me was the weather - seemed to be in a permenant depression until Wednesda - can't blame the organisers for that though!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 10:18 AM

The Bulverton was smaller this year - because last year it was largely half full. It's hard to justify paying for infrastructure that is largely wasted. The dance floor at the Bulverton, however, only actually lost two meters of space. The general feeling seems to be that a more compact venue, more suited to the actual audience size, created a much better buzz than a half-empty, aircraft hangar vibe.

The venue has to be cleared between events because not everyone has a ticket for the whole evening. And even silent disco needed set-up time.

I can categorically state that the other venues are not being sacrificed to pay for the development of the Ham. This year a new marquee company was used for the Ham, meaning that it was actually a more cost-effective alternative to last year's marquee, despite offering better facilities.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Sue
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 11:54 AM

The Peter Bellamy tribute concert was great, the Watersons were wonderful as were Damion and Mike, but we were just talking about the festival in general the other night, and we can't recall ever seeing the rest of the excellent Wilsons at Sidmouth. Is this correct? and if so isn't it about time they were. A suggestion for a concert next year, the Wilson and Waterson Families, how good would that be?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: lady penelope
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 04:02 PM

Well, by the kind gift of a ticket from a friend, I attended Sidmouth for the first time this year.

The choice of things to do was, frankly, overwhelming! At times it really was hard to have to choose between what to miss to see/do something else.

My only comment about missing things like the Bellamy tribute (queued for over an hour but missed getting in) is that possibly these events that are obviously going to be popular, would have been better off in a venue like the Ham. I've no idea how organisers match acts/events to venues, but there were at least a couple of gigs that definitely could have done with being at much bigger venues and was surprised that they had been put on at relatively small venues.

My only gripes are personal ones and no reflection on the organisation of the event. Not used to having a campsite so far from the action. The rain on top made getting down for morning workshops etc a grind or (on a couple of occasions) I just plain missed stuff. We really could have done with even just straw being put down round by the showers, just to combat the slurry effect. However as the campsite is on about a 30 degree slope (I must admit to getting a tad fed up waking up in a heap at the bottom of the tent each morning....) the water did drain pretty quickly once it stopped raining.... *G* Whoever was cleaning the toilets deserves a medal, as they managed to keep cleaning the floors as well as the toilets themselves!

Moments to treasure -

Seeing George perform (finally!) at the opening concert. His song about folk clubs had me in very happy tears!

Catching up with mates I haven't seen for yonks and finally meeting people I've only talked to online before.

Spookymen

Discovering several new (to me) acts to help further bankrupt me.

Mike Wilson & Damien Barbour in the Bedford

Joining in The Sing In the Sea with the Middle Bar Singers

Queuing for stuff (it was never dull, always had a laugh even when I didn't get into things)

Finding Ganesha (vegan food shop - I'm not vegetarian, but the food was really good!)

Being able to combine two of my favourite things - Folk and seaside!

Nearly having my feet run over by Eliza's dad (driving buggy one handed - he did apologise *G*) in Tesco's and watching him bustle off muttering curses against buggies....

The ceilidh in the Ford that didn't happen.

Sitting in my tent listening to - I don't know how many people singing 'Living on a prayer' at the tops of their voices in the Silent Disco at the Bulverton. That still makes me grin...

The bus back to the campsite at night

As I got a free season ticket this year, I could afford to come. I'm not sure I can next year, but as my mate pointed out there are various ways of attending, so I'll have a good think about it.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 04:03 PM

Ruth, I know why they have to clear the bulverton, that isn't my point, but having to wait for half an hour when it is cold wet and very muddy is no fun. No other venue is as exposed or as isolated - at least in previous year's you could stay in the bar.

The trouble with both the Bulverton and the Blackmore Garden ceilidh marquees is that there is very little space for people who aren't dancing, not everyone wants to or can dance every dance and needs to sit down or have a rest which is difficult when your squeezed in. The fenced of area of Blackmore was a good idea, but due to the weather was pretty much unusable.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 06:10 PM

I refer to all the Sidmouth threads.

I happen to think Ruth has done a great job on Mudcat, coming on here just after it has happened when she has had to do her washing and all the things others have had to do, and (mostly) patiently explaining the reason for decisions. This when she has also had vehicle problems that would strain most of us.

I doubt an organisation like Sidmouth gets it all correct all of the time but I do suggest that this and any other organisation in the folk world needs all the help it can get. Don't sit there on the sidelines. Get involved in your local festival, get some experience behind you, and give a hand. It helps you to understand a lot better.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Pip
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 05:43 AM

One more high point for me - and I think I failed to mention it first time around in case it read like a bit of own-trumpet-blowing - but the last ten minutes of our show, A Most Sunshiny Day (which I DO think was wonderful. There!), were further graced with a terrific contribution from Bristol Morris, dancing up the aisle and on to the stage to the(recorded)Staines Morris, then launching into one of their own (live)tunes and dances, hoisting a delighted young woman from the audience into the air at the finish. When we've done the show elsewhere we've been very priveleged to have our local Brighton Morris capering for us, and it's a pleasure to say that Bristol Morris maintained the very high standard we're used to. So thanks to Paul, to Jack, to all the other fine fellows - I can imagine no more splendid a way to round off a show about English music than with the Morris danced as vigorously and elegantly as you did.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 06:46 AM

Having just looked at all the above again, apart from the weather which is outside the control of the organisers, a great time was had by all. Some peoples lows were other peoples highs, vive la difference. There was also a grteat variety, something for everyone, and a very healthy fringe, which of course is a reflection of a healthy host conference.
So lets hear it for the organisers.

    Be upstanding Ruth Archer

La la la la lalala, la la la la laaa la.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Surreysinger at work
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 09:08 AM

Pip ... re your comments on Bristol Morris, I presume you are aware that there is a Youtube video of the dancing after Shirley's talk ? Can't access the Youtube site at work, but I have a feeling it may be one of the official festival videos on there.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 09:51 AM

Does anyone have any photos to share? If they are all on Facebook only friends can see them. At least if they are on an online album and linked from here we can all see what you got up to.

Just a thought

Sal


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 01:27 PM

Be wary what photos you put up for public consumption. Flickr was where the BNP got their photos of people they wished to clone.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 03:19 PM

I tried to rip up my Sidder ticket and only just realised it was plastic. I was worried that as cardboard it would disintigrate.
Had I known I could have punched a hole in it and hung it round my neck. In the wallet worked but Joy had to find another repository.

Anyway one Brownie point to the organisers for the plastic ticket.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: bfdk
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 05:12 PM

Rain apart I had a great time, lots of dancing, got to hear Eric Bogle, but missed the ceilidh in the ford instead. However, I did get to take part in the torchlit parade this year :-)

I must say, though, that I was terribly disappointed when, on the day I showed up dressed all in red, Mr. Red had deemed fit to show up in yellow...


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 05:16 PM

Nah, that was just his less evil twin brother!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Chris_S
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 05:29 PM

First time back at Sidders after Steve Heap pulled out and despite weather we had a great week. The Ham marquee provided most of the highlights with the Bedford a close second. The headliners all delivered but more importantly lots of new stuff shone through, especially SpinnDrift and Hannah Hames and Sam Sweeney. All in all well worth the price of the tickets.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: dilligafxx
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 03:30 AM

Sidmouth was GREAT dispite being sober all the time, due to being a sick bunny. Weather meant I spent more time in concerts and public houses, listening to some terrific music, Navvy's Wife, what a show, Eric Bogle, The Spooky Men who I saw twice and when unforunately we cannot let them in the Arts centre (Safety Elf says No) due to numbers inside being reached at the the Jim Moray sing around performed for about 10 of us on a street corner !! The understanding of Steve Knightley when I told him he couldn,t go in and him waiting paitently for someone to leave so he could go in to sing. I stewarded and found that its the people who think their someone who can be most rude and demanding, the people who are someone are polite and most accomadating when things aren,t going their way. A Big thank you to the organisers and to the performers and to all the people who played and sang in the pubs, who sorry but I don,t know your names but I enjoyed you all the same. And for singing You are my sunshine in the Newt on a very very wet day xx


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: dilligafxx
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 04:46 AM

Forgot to add a Big thank you to Howard and Graham for being the best x


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 04:59 AM

"I stewarded and found that its the people who think their someone who can be most rude and demanding, the people who are someone are polite and most accomadating when things aren,t going their way."

Hehe! I can believe that alright!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 05:00 AM

So, how do you deal with rudeness from people who think they're "somebody".


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: dilligafxx
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 05:15 AM

Just smile,be polite and remember that the same people who are rude to me, also seem to be rude to people like Eliza C who is somebody xx


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 05:22 AM

That reminds me of the beginnings of breakfast television when we worked with patchy resources and no chance of outsourcing till daylight office hours. A Well-Known Presenter decided at about 5 a.m. that the music for an item was unsuitable. I found some vinyl in a cupboard which she said, grudgingly, would "have to do". As she flounced off I called her back loudly, produced the book in which material was meant to be signed out and asked: "Name?" Collapse of production office.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Mr Yellow
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 05:29 AM

Bente

You be confusing me with someone else. I am the shy modest one.

The best way to deal with people who think they are someone is to ask them to explain who they are. Then get on the radio and ask for confirmation.

Performers who value their audience have to be nice all the time, or earn a different reputation. I think I could take a bit of frustration from a performer, it just depends on what I can deduce about the context.

I well remember an Ozzie who reckoned she would never book Eric Bogle after a rather unpleasant incedent, and yet Mick Holditch asked him questions about his guitar (like one Mick wants to buy) and Eric handed him the guitar and invited him to play it.

Context is all.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 05:53 AM

"Ruth, I know why they have to clear the bulverton, that isn't my point, but having to wait for half an hour when it is cold wet and very muddy is no fun. No other venue is as exposed or as isolated - at least in previous year's you could stay in the bar."

I know that our infrastructure team is already looking at ways of addressing this for next year.


"The trouble with both the Bulverton and the Blackmore Garden ceilidh marquees is that there is very little space for people who aren't dancing, not everyone wants to or can dance every dance and needs to sit down or have a rest which is difficult when your squeezed in."

See, the paradox at the Bulverton is that, last year, the space set aside for that purpose was hardly used. it's hard to justify the extra space when the majority of it is sat empty throughout the week. Even this year, when I wanted a place to sit down up at the Bulverton I could usually find one (though maybe not the same seat all night). I think the one thing we didn't accomodate so much this year is the rows and rows of empty chairs which act mainly as a repository for ceilidh dancers' bags, jumpers etc. While I can understand that it is nice to know you have a "saved" seat to go back to when you want to sit a dance out, it costs a lot to create that extra space.

To be perfectly honest, this year was a make-or-break year for the Bulverton. It has been a loss-leader for the festival for several years, and if we didn't make it work this year, we risked losing it altogether. The strategy for addressing this was to rejuvenate the programme while reducing the costs, and to re-evaluate our catering partners in order to maximise the return on the secondary spend (bar and food) to the festival.

In reducing the size of the venue, we looked at ways of doing this while compromising the dance experience as little as possible. That's why the dance floor itself only lost 2 metres, while the space that was lost was the "sidelines" space. As I say, when I wanted to sit down this year, I usually found there was a seat available. It might have someone else's jumper over the back, but I moved if they returned. I think that a slightly more adaptable approach by ceilidh dancers in this respect will mean that the space is used to its fullest potential (and value).

So, to sum up, it isn't a case of "We'd like the big marquee back, please." It's a case of making the size of marquee work as it is, or not having a Bulverton at all. Having said that, as I said earlier in my post, our infrastructure team is looking at ways of using the space up there differently next year in order to create more chatting-and-standing-about space which is under cover.

We have similar issues with Blackmore, but again, the team is looking at ways of creating more undercover space for next year.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 07:34 AM

There seemed to be some confusion about events which were pre-bookable at certain venues (the Lark Rie Band at The Manor Pavilion was one) with a 1/3 allocation of total seats which had priority over season ticket holders and this caused some discontent. As far as I could see, there was no mention of this in the working programme which is what I think was the cause of the discontent. (It was, however, clearly indicated in the colour programme which was published earlier in the year but I, like most people, go by the working prog).

I was also disappointed to see that there was still no bunting on The Esplanade but was assured by the committee that the problem was being adressed. Apparently the safety police had banned it when the lamp posts were still wood, now that they are metal it shouldn't be a problem (but it obviously is)!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 07:40 AM

Possibly bunting is now considered a cruel sport, or at least one that should be restricted to consenting adults in private.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Dazbo at Work
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 07:54 AM

Ruth,

Thanks for you comments. I'd been thinking about how to possibly better utilise the Bulverton without much succes; it's quite problem it being where it is. Apart from the odd workshop I only really find time to go there in the evening/lne but would sorely miss it if it wasn't there, even to the point of not attending the festival as often:-(

The silent folking disco was one of the nights the bed was more attractive than the wait. However, from my tent it sounded anything but silent - even wearing earplugs I could hear the crowd singing along and shouting. Has there been any comeback/feedback from the locals about sfd?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 08:42 AM

none at all that I'm aware of. We knew that the event wouldn't be entirely silent, what with people singing(!) along - what we also know is that it's amplified sound, and particularly bass, that carries through the valley from the Bulverton hill (or Betsy's Knapp, to give it its proper name!)and gets us into trouble. As there was no amplified sound, and in particular no bass, it didn't constitute a noise nuisance. I even got the Witchmen to dampen their bass drum so that it wouldn't carry unnecessarily.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: dj bass
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 09:49 AM

We had a great time too. Top moments: Lau, Spooky Men's Chorale in the Methodist church and the lunchtime workshop, Jim and Jackie's "soiree" in the Arts centre, Folk against Fascism, The Navvy's Wife, Eric Bogle singing "the Band played Waltzing Matilda", Kerfuffle, Mawkin Causley, Spiers and Boden, Demon Barbers (again), Oysterband at the LNE, Silent Disco. Low points: String Fury in the Ham (someone's parents know someone in charge, surely), some lack of clarity in the bus service between Bulverton and town (but the drivers were great).

I'd have preferred better weather but I enjoyed the seige mentality of camping in the rain and mud, and the campsite Stewards were great.

I hope Dyer:Cummings get some recognition - a group of youngsters that were really keen and talented - I saw them in the Ship and in the asbo tent.

Thanks Ruth for explaining some things on here. BTW, I thought the Bulverton floor was better this year and I didn't notice it being smaller.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 10:04 AM

Re Stringfury: The band had two absolutely storming gigs in the Anchor during the week (there are videos on Youtube if you didn't see them). I had people coming up to me at Bulverton congratulating me for "discovering" them (I didn't - it was Pete Rees who programmed them in the Anchor).

When I was asked only a few days before the Demon Barbers gig to provide a support act at late notice, I took a chance on Stringfury - this has happened before, most notably at Bulverton last year when Eddie Upton put Dyer Cummings in as a last-minute support act. And the Demons are well known for supporting youngsters and new talent, so it seemed to make sense. Unfortunately, on this occasion nerves got the better of the lads, which was gutting for them. But I know it's not the last we'll see of them - they just need a bit more experience and confidence, which will come with time - the talent is definitely there. They are doing something quite different to any other young folk-fusion band I can think of, and I like artists who take risks.

We'll definitely be seeing more of Dyer Cummings next year.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 10:21 AM

And Dyer Cummings will be at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club on 30th. January 2010.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: dj bass
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 11:51 AM

Glad to hear about Dyer Cummings. I'll check out Youtube, but I didn't think it was just nerves, although I can understand how nerves would not have helped - the main stage of a major folk festival is a big gig. I also like artistes who take risks.

My son got to know some of the Demon Barbers quite well during the week so I can certainly attest to their support of youngsters.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: PaulF
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 02:50 PM

I think it is worth pointing out, that the Sidmouth festival is bigger than those running it.
It has been going longer than some of us have lived, and certainly longer than some of us have lived in the UK
It will still be running after we have gone too, hopefully.
If big name performers can, join in activities without expecting special treatment, then the same should be true of others.
Standing beside a famous singer or player, does not improve your own abilities in either direction either.
There seem to be more non performing prima donnas, then performing ones sometimes.
PaulF


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 03:36 PM

Oh, and I love the morrissey T-shirt (although I have heard Morrissey can be very litigious so I hope he doesn't get the 'ump about it), would have loved the clash album cover and Ewan McColl folk police ones as T-shirts too.

Seconded about the campsite stewards too.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Gervase
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 06:01 PM

Bum. Another Sidmouth missed - and looking a the disco on YouTube I'm deeply jealous; it looks like huge fun. For me the LNEs typify the magic of the place. all that energy, enthusiasm and anarchy surging between performers and punters of all ages, and so much sheer bloody niceness and decency. That, for me, outweighs any amount of anal pettiness by some of the OCD types who hang around the pub sessions for far too long.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 02:59 AM

Hi All
Was only down for the second half of the week (On route to Dart-I-Moor)but was delighted to be asked to play with the Serendipty band at the Anchor on Thursday (Trebles all round to Roger Smith for getting so many egos on one stage!)
Managed to get my FaF T-Shirt from Jo Freya. Sad to have missed the FaF bash in the Ham. Was already in the Pit Orchestra in the Volly.
Never got to the Bedford, but would agree with Joan and Eliza that there is no earthly reason why a few unbooked individuals can just take over a bar. Reminds me of the unpleasant people who insist on blankets and deck chairs at Cambridge, and then don't even listen to the artists.
As no one has yet mentioned the Radway. As usual it was it's normal rambling shambolic self, but was always inclusive for anyone who wanted to fire off a tune.
I think Joan and her team of little helpers do a fantastic job. I certainly couldn't even begin to compete. And for all those who have gripes about the festival. Remember, Joan has probably already started organising next years bash. We might go for a week, She spends her whole year planning it. I doff my hat to you Joan! (Thats my sneaky way of asking for a booking BTW!)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 06:12 AM

"(Thats my sneaky way of asking for a booking BTW!)"

Ralphie - how about as a re-incarnated "Eric" - there must be loads of people now who would never have heard them and really don't know what they have missed!

As the infamous Mrs Doyle would say, "Go on, go on, go on" - although I'm not sure whether "Eric" drank much tea?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: steve_harris
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 07:15 AM

chairs which act mainly as a repository for ceilidh dancers' bags, jumpers etc.

I'm wondering if there's a better way of organising dance venues?

A chair is not the best place to stash your stuff but it's often the only choice. As you point out, it isn't particularly space-efficient. And, when the dancer wants to get at their stuff, it can be hard to find unless they've carefully noted 5th chair from the left or whatever.

Personally, I'd settle for:

* Fewer chairs
* A row of (numbered) coat hooks


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GRex
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 07:37 AM

I heartily endorse Rumcoke's message (11 Aug 2009) re the running of the evening sessions in the Faulkner. My thanks to Taffy, Liz and Mary for supervising seven very enjoyable evenings.
Hope I'll see you all there next year.

             GRex

          ps
               Enjoyed your songs Anne.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 08:25 AM

Thanks for the thought Mr Martin, But, sadly we are one third short of a Trio, and have been since 1986. Buggeration...
Have a new cunning plan though. Watch this space (And it's not a revival of the Hackney Martians!)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: bfdk
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM

* Fewer chairs
* A row of (numbered) coat hooks

I don't agree, especially not for a venue with a 'wet' (in places) floor. For my part, I'm one who left my belongings on a chair while dancing (Blackmore tent). But I also sat there during breaks and a couple of times during dances, too, taking a break. And the chair kept my belongings - not all of them 'hangable' dry and off the floor, the chair also protected my drink from being kicked over when left unattendet, as I placed it underneath the chair. This worked except for once, when someone who must have had exceedingly long toes had still managed to topple it.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,ifor
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 09:05 AM

I thought the launch of Folk Against Fascism was excellent...and most timely!Well done for having the event listed in the programme.

I also really enjoyed the political songs event, hosted by Sisters Unlimited, in the rugby club.I do hope that something similar will be repeated next year.

The singing sessions hosted by Kitty and Taff in the Faulkner were also excellent. Really enjoyed the range of singing especially the Scottish woman who sang those Robbie Burns songs.What a powerful and emotive voice!

Lasltly,I'd like to mention the White Horse cafe near the square.... a place of sanctuary when the rain was blowing in and the day was dreary.Thank you for the food and the warmth!
Ifor


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 06:22 AM

Great news Ralphie! Of course, I realised "Eric" could never be quite the same again but look forward to hearing of details of your cunning plan.

Perhaps a new thread would be in order as they could getted bogged down on here?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 06:43 AM

Hi Jim
Will do...But we haven't even all met yet!!!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Jim Redfern
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 07:44 AM

The opening concert at the Ham on Saturday lunchtime was short and incredibly sweet.
The Bulgarian dancers,Dyer Cummings,George Papavgeris,Matt Quinn and the wonderful Claque delivered a precise and entertaining hour which was top hole.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 10:55 AM

There seem to be more non performing prima donnas, than performing ones sometimes.

Oh more often than that IMNSHO.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Folkie
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 12:40 PM

I had a great week at Sidmouth in spite of the rain. I absolutely loved the Beggars Opera and the Peter Bellamy tribute concert. Unfortunately I could not get in to some of the early morning Arts Centre events - my own fault for getting up too late. Roger Watson's harmony workshop was a wonderful experience. Sidmouth ice creams continue to be the best.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: mattkeen
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 04:52 AM

Oh I forget Hotel Palindrone, who were great too


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Dick Goddard
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 05:04 AM

Just noticed Eliza's comment about the old timey bar sessions in the Bedford. I was stewarding most of the concerts in the Bedford "dining room" and we too had problems, because of the noise filtering through from those sessions (especially when step-dancing or bass playing was happening). Most of the time they were pretty good about stopping or quieting when we asked, so that the main concerts - ticketed, of course - weren't too disrupted. However, it's not a good or easy situation, and I've suggested a couple of possible solutions in my post festival steward's feedback. Hope this can be sorted next year, as otherwise the Bedford main room is a pleasant intimate space.

On a more general point, this was my first Sidmouth for about 30 years and I thought it had much of the old spirit about it - but with the added advantage of young people, like Eliza and many more, who have brought such exciting new, but traditionally based, ideas and techniques. Just a brilliant week.

We're planning a folk weekend in South Herefordshire in June next year, and if it has just a 50th of the Sidmouth atmosphere I'll be very happy!

Dick Goddard


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 07:09 AM

Dick Goddard

Don't forget the information junkies that cover your area - like cresby.com and all the relevant links therein and Sam Simmons' FolkWest.

We are pretty pro-active in finding information but we do need help.

Say hello at Bromyard - I will be the one wearing ............. er um ....


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 09:05 AM

To take up the original posting here:

"I thought that I'd start this EVALUATION thread regarding Sidmouth 2009 ......I have a fair few thoughts about 2009 - too tired to compose them now, but hope that this thread can be used PRODUCTIVELY and HONESTLY to comment on all aspects of the festival in order that views can be considered and possibly acted upon for 2010."

OK, I've completed my draft pages and they start about here, 122 or maybe 124: and go on to page 139, or thereabouts.

Sidmouth 2009 evaluated.

Any comments welcome, as always.

By the way, if anyone knows Izzy who runs the campsite at Sidmouth - I did dance with her at Towersey and forget to say - your photo is on the campsite page - the one of you in the footspa looking cheerful.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth 2009 - Evaluation
From: GUEST,Dick Goddard
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 08:46 AM

Hi Mr Red (or Yellow)

Yes, I know you'll be at Bromyard - we've been parked next to you a couple of times (the little Eriba Puck). By next weekend (i.e. Bromyard 2009( we'll know whether our new event is confirmed, so I'll give you details then...

Regards to all

Dick Goddard


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