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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
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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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