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Sidmouth Ripoff!

GUEST,Tatterfoal 05 Mar 11 - 10:53 AM
s&r 05 Mar 11 - 05:40 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Mar 11 - 06:32 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Mar 11 - 06:34 PM
Noreen 05 Mar 11 - 08:02 PM
Tattie Bogle 05 Mar 11 - 08:18 PM
s&r 06 Mar 11 - 03:53 AM
VirginiaTam 06 Mar 11 - 04:50 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 06 Mar 11 - 05:24 AM
Jack Campin 06 Mar 11 - 05:29 AM
VirginiaTam 06 Mar 11 - 05:40 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 10:07 AM
Paul Davenport 06 Mar 11 - 10:08 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 10:11 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 10:31 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 10:48 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 11:08 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Tatterfoal 06 Mar 11 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 06 Mar 11 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 06 Mar 11 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 11:27 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 11:27 AM
stallion 06 Mar 11 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,John MacKenzie 06 Mar 11 - 11:46 AM
Old Vermin 06 Mar 11 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,erbert 06 Mar 11 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,PeterC 06 Mar 11 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Steve Thomas 06 Mar 11 - 01:38 PM
theleveller 06 Mar 11 - 01:58 PM
theleveller 06 Mar 11 - 02:52 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 06 Mar 11 - 02:52 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 06 Mar 11 - 02:58 PM
s&r 06 Mar 11 - 03:19 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 06 Mar 11 - 03:23 PM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 11 - 03:30 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 06 Mar 11 - 03:51 PM
Bonzo3legs 06 Mar 11 - 04:11 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 06 Mar 11 - 04:34 PM
Ann N 06 Mar 11 - 05:18 PM
Paul Davenport 06 Mar 11 - 05:20 PM
Ann N 06 Mar 11 - 05:28 PM
Herga Kitty 06 Mar 11 - 05:36 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 06 Mar 11 - 06:01 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 06 Mar 11 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,John MacKenzie 06 Mar 11 - 06:38 PM
Joe Offer 07 Mar 11 - 12:57 AM
Ruth Archer 07 Mar 11 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 07 Mar 11 - 03:27 AM
Folkiedave 07 Mar 11 - 04:53 AM
Folkiedave 07 Mar 11 - 05:00 AM
JHW 07 Mar 11 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 07 Mar 11 - 05:13 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 07 Mar 11 - 05:19 AM
Manitas_at_home 07 Mar 11 - 05:28 AM
Folkiedave 07 Mar 11 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,chris 07 Mar 11 - 05:45 AM
Steve in Sidmouth 07 Mar 11 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,PeterC 07 Mar 11 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,Tatterfoal 07 Mar 11 - 08:58 AM
Mr Red 07 Mar 11 - 12:12 PM
bubblyrat 07 Mar 11 - 12:59 PM
The Sandman 07 Mar 11 - 01:16 PM
Brian Peters 07 Mar 11 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 07 Mar 11 - 01:56 PM
The Sandman 07 Mar 11 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 07 Mar 11 - 02:29 PM
Folkiedave 07 Mar 11 - 02:44 PM
Folkiedave 07 Mar 11 - 02:56 PM
The Sandman 07 Mar 11 - 07:09 PM
stallion 08 Mar 11 - 03:46 AM
stallion 08 Mar 11 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 08 Mar 11 - 09:13 AM
Will Fly 08 Mar 11 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Tatterfoal 08 Mar 11 - 10:15 AM
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Subject: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 10:53 AM

I have just got round to booking tickets for Sidmouth Folk Festival and find I am being ripped off with either a £6 "booking charge" by post or a £12 booking charge by Website booking, ther is no nformation on why there is a booking charge at all, I rang the contact number and even if calling in person there is still a booking charge to find.   Tha week tickets are £158 already this is quite expensive without the additional charge, if I had not already booked accomodation I doubt I would pay this , whats the catters opinions on this I have not had to pay additional money at any of the other festivals I attend.    Am absolutely disgusted.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: s&r
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 05:40 PM

There's a booking fee at Cambridge FF. The booking is run by See Tickets. The booking for the last two years has been easy and professional. I suppose it pays to run See Tickets.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 06:32 PM

The organisers either have to have someone available nearly full time to handle the bookings, a 'willing volunteer', who are becoming less available these days due to many pressures, including financial, so that many of these would prefer to be trying to earn some income; a fully paid 'ex-volunteer', which would cost probably more than getting a professional business to do it, or someone who gets a 'commission' for all the faffing around needed; or you pay a fee to a 'professional organisation'.

If such an organisation is handling many events, they can amortise their overheads over all of them, irrespective of how many or few booking are coming in at any time. If it is a professional business, only a fool would not be trying to make a profit.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 06:34 PM

And if someone from WITHIN the organisation were getting paid to do the bookings, there would be threads here wailing about the inherent 'corruption' involved in that!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Noreen
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 08:02 PM

I think the point is, that if there is no way to avoid paying the 'booking charge', why is is stated as a separate charge rather than being included in the total ticket price?

Obviously the costs involved in booking tickets have to be covered, but all the other unavoidable costs are not listed separately- so why is this listed as a separate charge?

It's something that annoys me too, Tatterfoal. Warwick Festival do this too- an extra booking fee has to be paid, even if you pick the tickets up yourself. I notice Whitby don't, though.

Just tell us what we have to pay!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 08:18 PM

I hate "booking fees" too: would much rather have a bottom line price to avoid any resentment.
In other cases, where you pay a booking fee and the concert is postponed, you can ask for a refund but you DON'T get the booking fee component back, as they claim it's for administrative charges.
Is there any difference between using credit card, debit card or Electron card? There are surcharges when e.g. booking flights, highest for CC, middle for debit card, nil for Electron cards. Which are currently conducting a "super-campaign" against these extra charges, while the banks are also phasing out Electron cards, removing the no surcharge option for payment. I think there should be a similar protest against booking fees for concerts and festivals.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: s&r
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 03:53 AM

Just as a thought, it might reduce the various taxes and levies on festivals. For example the levy from PRS is I believe 3% of gross sales - showing a booking charge separately might avoid a proportion of that payment. I don't know that, just a thought


Stu


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 04:50 AM

I don't know... do we want transparency or not? Do we want an itemised bill or not?

It is as Foolestroupe said. Large events and even small ones are using private companies to manage ticket sales. In the "Big Society" you will see more of these "extra" charges on many purchases for goods and services, especially as public services and charities turn into commission based local area trading companies and social enterprises.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:24 AM

It is probably the case that DIY processing of credit card orders is no longer allowed by the banks - years ago I ran a small business doing this, but I suspect these days you have to be 'approved' under many strict criteria before being allowed to take VISA money, etc.

This being the case, maybe the festival has no option but to use a (paid for) third party service.

That being said the figure of £12 mentioned in the first post seems far too high - just a few pounds is normal.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:29 AM

Large events and even small ones are using private companies to manage ticket sales.

Mostly it's *one* private company, Ticketmaster, which operates all over the world under a variety of names. It's the McDonald's or Tesco of ticket sales. They're big enough and ruthless enough to stomp all over a local authority. If Sidmouth didn't give them their cut I imagine there would suddenly be intractable problems with event safety and licencing. Joan had better make sure her sheets are safe to wash in a cycle that would get horse blood off.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:40 AM

Well then maybe the Big Society will be able to break that TicketMaster monopoly in favour of community run services and promoting small business.

One can only hope.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 09:58 AM

Hi chaps,

We have to charge a booking fee because every way we have of selling you a ticket pre-festival costs us money.

The company we are using this year is a small independent one, not Ticketmaster. It's called Ticket Solve, and the service they provide is fast, reliable and seems to easily cope with all the vagaries of Sidmouth's complex ticketing structure.

We make no profit at all from the booking fee, which works on a sliding scale, and is capped. This is what the Festival Chief Exec, John Braithwaite, says:

"In an attempt to keep our customers' costs down, we have held our booking fee at a very low, fixed level per order for a number of years (which actually penalises customers buying limited numbers of concert tickets).

When changing to a new booking system, which works out booking fees on a more equitable basis related to order value, we checked levels charged by other comparable events, before setting the rate so that we were not out of line.

We appreciate that the new basis, although capped, will give higher fees for some customers which is unwelcome. Please be assured that we use our income to keep down ticket prices as far as possible, and improve the Festival line up and facilities, as we are not a commercially driven company."


Tam's point is exactly why we decided to make the costs transparent, rather than burying them in the cost of the tickets: we thought it was fairer for people to know what they're paying for. We thought that including it in the cost of the tickets would constitute something of a "stealth tax". If, however, there is enough feedback to the contrary and people would prefer to know the all-in price at the outset, we will respond accordingly next year.

Probably more effective to go through official channels to register that feedback, rather than putting it on this thread, though - it's guaranteed to be seen by the Board if you either send it through the contact e-mail on the festival website, or put it on a feedback form at the festival.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:07 AM

I must agree with the concern over the scale of the booking fee. Even Ryanair don't charge £12!! It's scandelous especially as it almost the cost of a Ham evening concert for which we also have to pay extra for (plus another booking fee presumably, should we book one seperately)?????


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:08 AM

I think its worth pointing out, since it was referred to above; Whitby Folk Week does not charge for booking, in fact we discount early booking. The other point is that there are no 'tiered' tickets at Whitby ? a full season ticket is exactly what it says and allows access to all areas, venue size permitting.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:11 AM

Ryannair do have economies of scale on their side.

If you have already paid the maximum booking fee and sign in with your customer details, you will not be charged an additional booking fee for subsequent transactions.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:16 AM

Sidmouth also provides discounts for early booking, Paul.

The different tickets we offer allow people to choose a festival package that best suits them, as there is such a variety of events and strands of programming available at Sidmouth. I realise that most festivals do not provide such a wide range and varying scale of programming, and consequently their customers wouldn't necessarily need or benefit from the range of ticket options that Sidmouth offers.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:31 AM

Mmm I am sorry , Ruth/Joanbut I cannot agree with your interpretation of the 'tiered' ticketing system at Sidmouth.

"festival package that best suits them, as there is such a variety of events and strands of programming available at Sidmouth"

The tickets which are available are only focused on time requirements ... week, weekend or day tickets. There is of course the option of 'Ham or no Ham' as part of the season ticket purchase and eventually there will be event tickets. However none of these ticketing options actually address your 'spin' about buying a package that suits the needs of an individual and allows them to follow their 'strand' of the programme.

There are now 29 ceilidhs staged at Sidmouth, 14 of which are 'free' to all punters no matter who they are. Strong dance supporters who attend Sidmouth solely because of the ceilidh programme, don't have the time to attend any concerts even if they wished to, but is there a ticket for just the ceilidh events ... No of course not, even though this is a very clearly defined 'strand' of interest amongst Sidmouth followers and could easily be managed with regards to ticketing.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:34 AM

Wow, Steve Thomas - you're not related to Chris Porter, by any chance...?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:38 AM

Sorry Ruth/Joan, I can't oblige I am afraid ... should I be? Would it stand me in for a sizeable inheritence> S.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:48 AM

I have very catholic tastes with regards to music in general and also within the Folk genre. I love the fantastic songwriting of Chris Wood, enjoy the exceptional musicallity of Lau and can go OTT dancing to Whapweasel. However, my partner is 'dance, dance, dance' and a mighty good dancer as well. She has been attending Sidmouth for years just for the dance/ceilidh programme and I was just highlighting that this is one area where a single strand/genre can be easily identified to support your statement on 'taylor made packages' for the individual, when in the main, they only meet the differing needs based on time requirements and not on individual interets areas.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:53 AM

Well, you're another brand new guest, just like "Chris Porter", who claims to have been attending Sidmouth for the past 37 years but strangely enough, there is no record of anyone of that name on the festival database.

He is also having a public go at Sidmouth, and focusing on the same issues around ceilidh, citing numbers thereof, etc. Pretty soon you'll be telling me about your work with various ballet companies, which somehow gives you the credentials to sit in judgement on folk festivals.

Sorry, whoever you are, but I don't have time to play in your sandpit any more. I have a festival to organise. You are a troll, and I claim my £5.

To the genuine contributors to this thread: please feel free to get in touch through the more formal channels (ie, festival email) if you feel you wish to comment further, and I will do my best to respond appropriately to your concerns.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:08 AM

I am sorry as I appear to have upset you, but I can't do anything about other people can I, and I certainly have no intention of discussing my personal life with anyone on here. I thought that my comment was a genuine contribution and that it might have been viewed as such, but apparently in your eyes it has no value. My input was to the general debate, thread, forum which many others contribute to, but alas you appear to have taken personal offence at my remarks and I can't see why. Is your response an 'official' one from the Artistic Director of Sidmouth Folk Week or just something from an over sensitive lady? Oh well, I've better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than to lock horns with people on here!!!

Oh by the way ... I can't help being a new 'guest' on here, one has to start sometime. I thought that Mudcat was a mature music forum
but judging from what I heard from you, guests are NOT made very welcome, so it will be the first and last time I shall use this particular outlet. Are all Mudcatters like you ....?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:10 AM

Must be getting crowded under that bridge. Say hi to "Chris" for me while you're there.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:15 AM

Blimey, you are very, very strange lady!!!!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:16 AM

The booking fee should be included in ticket price not added on, but I still fail to see why the electronic system costs twice the mail system.    We have decided not to purchase tickets this year and pay for what we go to instead, I do not like doing this as I believe in supporting the festival as a whole, we tend to go to the ceilidhs and not concerts so usually pay more than we attend but have felt it right to support the festival, but we do not want to support some agent making money out of folkies. The festival will get our custom this year but not the extra support.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:17 AM

He had a fair point though, didn't he?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:18 AM

Sorry, cross posting. my last post was a reaction to :

'Must be getting crowded under that bridge. Say hi to "Chris" for me while you're there.'


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:27 AM

Peter, many thanks for your support. I thought that I had gone crackers for a moment. I thought that I was making a fair comment and was in line with the general discussion here about Sidmouth ticketing and costs? I am quite dismayed by the response and quite can't my head around it. It's uncanny that someone who is involved with one of the major music festivals for folk usic in the UK behaves in such a way and which bordered upon attempted bullying in an earlier response to me. Not good for future support is it when the 'public face' of an organisation comes over as being a little irrational...


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:27 AM

Tatterfoal, I should explain a few things:

Ticket Solve isn't an agency, they provide an on-line box office for the festival. Selling tickets on line costs money. A big problem that the festival has had in recent years is that, from the time the box office opens in Sidmouth in the week before the festival, we have had to move to a paper-based system which is not related to the system we use pre-festival. This is not particularly efficient. The new system will allow us to migrate (seamlessly, we hope!) to live selling, using the same system throughout the week. This will allow us to keep track of capacities in venues much more efficiently, will allow us to capture information about purchasers during the week so that we can keep in touch with them over the year, and provides all sorts of other support services that any modern box office would. It's a big step forward both for us and for our customers. It's not an agency, and they are not "making money out of folkies" any more than the people we hire the marquees or the seating or the toilets from. It's all going towards making the festival experience better and making the festival more viable in the long term.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: stallion
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:43 AM

What really puzzles me is that Ms A should provide such robust defence to something not so unreasonable. A suggestion that there is not a package for the dance only fraternity. I don't buy the transparency argument cos the addons of budget airlines piss everyone off compared to BA who published prices include the lot. Don't envy anyone the task of organising a festival but one should always be open to listening to the punters and don't get so narked with the carping. Broad shoulders and a thick skin is probably one of the requirements for a festival organiser!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:46 AM

I suggest Sidmouth IFF invests in a PR person, and that he/she deals with all the points raised on here, and elsewhere.
An Artistic Director who appears to get personally involved, is not the correct way to deal with any problems.
The wearing of several hats, requires several heads!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Old Vermin
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 12:07 PM

"making the festival experience better "

I am getting older and really, really grumpy. Every time I see 'experience' so used, I tend to equate it with 'delivery' and 'stakeholder' and other prize pieces of neo-jargon.

At least there wasn't a 'going forward' there, was there?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 12:16 PM

..or one of the all time great classics 'proactive'...


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 12:47 PM

Is there any difference between using credit card, debit card or Electron card?
Depends on the card processor being used. Some charge a flat rate and some a differential rate.

Many outsourced booking services take their cut from the purchaser rather than deducting it from the ticket price. For organisers working on a tight margin that provides a good way to provide for on-line sales. However to insist that tickets may only be purchased in this way will look like a rip-off to the general public.

Sorry Ms Crump, Joe Public is concerned with perceptions not with your explanation.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Steve Thomas
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 01:38 PM

Thank you Peter. My original concern was about the spin that's put out by even the local folk festival. No one cares about the 'smart' talk about 'behind the scene arrangements', fine detail and small print. It is all about public perception especially when they are reliant upon their support base to provide income, an income which can be viewed as supporting their own hobby / addiction to folk music. Smart talkers have a way about them that enables them to ease their way into a particular niche market and manipulate, bully, con their way into positions which allow them to treat us 'public' as idiots ... as ever! They just want our money / support ... no questions asked!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 01:58 PM

I've just been looking at the price of Sidmouth tickets and, to be frank, it took my breath away. I'm not saying that it doesn't offer value for money considering the line-up, but it's way out of our price range - not far off the cost of a family holiday. We've been considering doing one of the major festivals again this year, not having been for three years, but, whislt Shrewesbury seems to offer the best value for us, even that is pretty pricey.

So, yet again, we'll be doing the excellent local festivals including Ryedale and the wonderful Moonbeams (Oysterband headlining this year!). Sidmouth sounds wonderful for those who can afford it but, until our lad's finished uni, at least, afraid it's out of our reach.

Have fun!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 02:52 PM

Shrewesbury? Where dat I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 02:52 PM

That's annoying - just posted a lengthy reply and it never made it through the ether.

Key points: never mind a booking fee, wait until petrol hits £1.70 a litre (£7.70 a gallon or £100+ a tankful).

The point about crab sandwiches is well made - if you are buying a season ticket you tend to make use of it, it's only the people who do the festival 'on the cheap' with camping passports, fringe events and the Anchor ceilidhs who can take time out for a few days to enjoy what else Sidmouth has to offer. If the sun is shining of course.... which it will be.....

It has been normal for individuals to spend £1000 on their Sidmouth week (accommodation, rail fares, season ticket etc) so £900 for a family looks good value. Think of all that free mud for the children to play in!

Booking fees may be annoying for an evening event but when looked at in the context of a week - they are nothing to get too excited about.

Interesting thread though - almost heated at times.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 02:58 PM

Shrewesbury sounds a bit like that place where they have floods in summer. We don't have those in Sidmouth.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: s&r
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 03:19 PM

Only sometimes

Stu


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 03:23 PM

In fairness to Ruth Archer somebody should point out that there might be good reason for her response, so here goes.

The new guest she referred to, signing as Guest Chris Porter, started a thread about Sidmouth complaining about exactly the same aspect of the festival as you highlighted Steve.

He complained voiferously about the Dance Programme, basing his complaint initially on misinformation about the number of bands booked, and stating that Dance was being effectively dropped from the festival.

When Ruth countered with the true lineup of bands, he changed tack and attacked the qhality of the lineup.

Every year we get a troll or two posting here, with the intention of trying to put people off going to Sidmouth, and you just happened to point up the exact same section he chose.

The response is not, I assure you, typical of Ruth or in fact of most Mudcat members, but round about this time of year, the stress of organising an event of this size must be considerable and I'm sure I wouldn't want to be doing it.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 03:30 PM

Much appreciated, Don. Thank you. :)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 03:51 PM

I can assure you any posts from me are under my name - I have however found both the recent threads quite interesting. Strip out the usual raft of dismal, silly and pointless comments and there are some good ideas for debate.

I attend so many dance events that I get to hear a wide range of comments about Sidmouth (mainly how LUCKY I am to live here!) and these often influence my own views.

For what it is worth, IVFDF was mentioned somewhere recently (this thread or the other one?) - it was indeed well worth attending. The ceilidh with The Molecatchers and Tony Slinger calling (both were new to me) was simply fabulous. Lots of young women to dance with (most of them superb dancers too), adequate space in which to dance, wonderful music (and not at all too loud, just perfect) and excellent calling. I made a point to go up to the band and caller and tell how fantastic I thought they had been - so I do give out praise when it is due!

I thought on the long drive home - if only Sidmouth FolkWeek could host ceilidhs like that!! The Survivors' ceilidh at IVFDF was almost as good - great music, not too loud, good dancers, enough space, mainly good calling.

I avoided the Tickled Pink event completely - they are always too loud. Mind you, they were in Exeter recently and the first half was really very good - and bearable without earplugs. But the second half was true TP - so bloody loud that you wanted to get away from the speakers even with ear plugs in. I asked some youngsters afterwards - do you like it so loud? Oh yes they said, it was GREAT but "my ears are ringing".

So there you are - possible permanent hearing damage and all because ego-inflated nonentities are in charge of the sound desk. IS ANYONE LISTENING ABOUT THE SOUND LEVELS AT SIDMOUTH OR ARE YOU ALL DEAF??

A bit off topic I know, but nobody is listening anyway.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 04:11 PM

I think sound levels are turned up simply because they can.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 04:34 PM

So do I - the sound engineers (people of 40+ with the mentality of small children usually?) maybe think they are not doing a good job or will not be 'noticed' unless they utilise the equipment to it's fullest extent.

It a sort of immaturity - like teenage drivers who just have to show off the full potential of their car, even if it kills them.

OH DEAR, I do sound old these days.

But at least I can still listen.

For what it is worth, I know quite a few good dancers who will not be buying season tickets this year - main reason is nothing to do with the bands or callers (never please all people all of the time!) - just the absurd sound levels in ceilidh venues and lack of space in which to dance.

Look out for lots of event ticket sales to the Blackmore Gardens lunchtime dances - the only place last year where you could really dance and with a proper festival atmosphere.

And I hope Box Office ticket sales for cash will not be attracting a booking fee!!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ann N
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:18 PM

Come to Whitby Folk Festival instead :D
Lots of FREE pub sessions and outdoor dance displays in the town and you can support the festival by putting your small change (or whatever you can afford) into the collecting tins :D

   ...mind you getting accommodation and camping space is like finding hen's teeth by now ....


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:20 PM

Hang on Ann, Whitby's a fortnight later; people could go to both?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ann N
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:28 PM

True ..... but in these dire economic times can people afford 2 festivals in a month? :)

P.S. I'm biased .... I live in Whitby    :D


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:36 PM

I avoided Whitby for many years, even when my dance team was booked, because I wanted to go to Sidmouth... then a (so-called) friend persuaded me to go to Whitby as well, for a long weekend, and since then I've been hooked on both Sidmouth and Whitby, which has meant that I've had to ration non-folk holidays quite severely...

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 06:01 PM

So many people keep telling me to try Whitby - problem is, it conficts with Towersey but given the way Towersey is going in extolling bands like Edward II (just a loud noise in my view!) then maybe Whitby is the way to go. What's the caravanning space like? But it is in lovely Yorkshire and I could call in and do some gliding at Sutton Bank. But then I'd have to come ALL THE WAY back home. But at least it would be downhill.......

Could all these festivals be arranged to take place one per weekend on a rotational basis with each being geographically close to the last one, so we could spend all summer just dancing and with the minimum travel costs between each festival?

Given the price of fuel, this is surely the way to go?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 06:10 PM

I'm awaiting all the offers of B&B in Whitby - in exchange for dance instruction? Don't all rush at once girls....

Should we have a festival accommodation exchange scheme?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 06:38 PM

Whitby rules UK
Been to a few festivals in my time, and Whitby is the best so far.
Gave up Sidmouth, as it's too expensive a town, and I can see all the main acts at other, cheaper, festivals. Should I wish to do so.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 12:57 AM

It has come to my attention that "Steve Thomas" and "Chris Porter" appear to be the same person, and my data verifies this - or at least it's two people posting from the same location. Please remember that name-switching is not allowed at Mudcat, because it betrays the trust of the community.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 02:54 AM

Thanks for confirming this, Joe. I am happy to answer any questions that are legitimately posed, but when someone posts under multiple identities, saying some rather provocative things, one can't help wondering what their agenda is. That was why I expressed my suspicions. "Steve Thomas"'s response was interesting though - the subsequent righteous indignation and personal attack on me, combined with some of the things "Chris Porter" said on the other thread, certainly looks like someone with a very specific agenda - which is sad. I'd like to be able to answer people's genuine questions or concerns about the festival on Mudcat. But this kind of shit-stirring behaviour, creating bad feeling for the sake of it, makes it very difficult.

So, Peter Laban, he may well have had a particular point worth responding to, and other equally valid points may have been raised since by others, but unfortunately I don't feel really able to carry on in the conversation while people playing silly beggars hide behind numerous false identities, firing arrows over the parapet with the express intention of damaging the festival. It's a particularly nasty and cowardly way to go on.

If anyone wishes to contact the festival through the usual channels (e-mail on the website), every attempt will be made to answer questions and concerns to your satisfaction.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 03:27 AM

Well Joan, all I can say as a reader of this thread, without knowledge of a backstory or anything, is that I saw someone make a valid point. Your reaction struck me as a highly unsympathetic and unpleasant one and that impression stands, even knowing now that there was a case of multiple identities (which is a crutch some other members of this forum use widely across this and other forums I may add and I don't have much sympathy for it either.

If you don't feel able to carry such a conversation, that's fair enough but maybe don't enter into it at then instead. As it stand you projected an unpleasant image and didn't serve your festival very well.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 04:53 AM

I think you are being a bit unfair Peter.

There are two threads attacking Sidmouth. Joan has made reasoned responses on both. These are not five minute jobs but take time to write. It began to like someone had another agenda - rather than simply h

When we find that the critics have lied in part by posting under multiple identities then you wonder what else they have lied about. It does look as if someone has taken someone's web pages which are critical of the festival and writ them large on here.

To me it looks like a clear attack on Sidmouth by someone who for whatever reason wants to have a go. When reasonable questions are asked reasonable answers have been given.

Joan has now provided an alternative way for people to discuss and problems they might have with the festival's programming.

But of course that does not get read by people.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:00 AM

Sorry wrong button pressed there.


"...... - rather than simply having a discussion".

The later response seemed to be asking if the two people doing the asking had other agendas and were posting under multiple identities.

Turns out she was correct.

You can hardly blame her for that.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: JHW
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:04 AM

At no event should you have to pay to pay for a ticket.
A booking fee is a buying fee; a scam that has become so prevalent that we have accepted it as reasonable. It is not.
When you buy hard goods the retailer's work is covered by the discounted price at which he buys in the goods.
The price you pay for the show should be the price that is advertised.
The promoter selling his tickets via ticketouts.com et al should discount them to the agent.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:13 AM

Sorry Folkiedave, I have no horse in this race but that is how it struck me when reading the thread. I don't have any opinions about Sidmouth. Ticket/booking charges have struck me as a rip-off in the past though for other events.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:19 AM

If some people on here would bother to calm down and be rational, I don't read either of the recent threads as ATTACKING SIDMOUTH and certainly my own website doesn't do this - there are different views on how events should be run, which audiences should be nurtured (at the expense of others), what ticket structures should be in place, and what are the possible consequences for the festival of alienating some groups of potential attendees. This is all entirely legitimate.

Whilst highly personal attacks and fake identities are never welcome I can tell you that the number of people who respond to comments on here (measured via click - throughs to my website) is a tiny fraction of total UK interest - so mudcat members (some of whom seem to think they are the prime voice of Sidmouth!!) would do well to recognise that they represent a very small fraction of total interest in the festival. Therefore, anything on here is likely to have a small impact if any impact at all!

So, if some people (or a person) has gone to considerable trouble to stir things up here, he or she has expended much effort to probably very little if any effect in the real world.

I actually thought Joan (Ruth) answered the ticket based criticisms on here very well - it is clear of lot of work has gone on to streamline ticket systems but wearing my hat of data analyst (previous existence!) I really do doubt that having 'on line real time data' of ticket sales is going to help much.

But I'll leave that one for now!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:28 AM

"an income which can be viewed as supporting their own hobby / addiction to folk music"

Not people giving up their time to enable your hobby/addiction to folk music then?


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:43 AM

Criticism was offered about various aspects of Sidmouth Festival.

The Programmer and Marketing Director came on and answered those criticisms. She tried to clear up misunderstandings.

The critics changed tack. The P and MD suggested the same people had multiple identities and refused to answer questions on here but offered to do so via another well-established route.

Turns out she was right and the critic was hiding behind multiple identities. The other route is still open.

I think she is being very patient and tolerant. Those who do have legitimate criticisms and queries have suffered because she has stopped entering into dialogue.

Which is a shame - but who can blame her?

I agree with Steve that it is a small ripple in the large pond of things - but some of this is clearly personal cloaked under a guise of multiple identities. Which is not legitimate at all.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:45 AM

Loughborough Joan???


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 05:48 AM

I'm actually quite concerned by one reply from Joan (Ruth):

"Selling tickets on line costs money. A big problem that the festival has had in recent years is that, from the time the box office opens in Sidmouth in the week before the festival, we have had to move to a paper-based system which is not related to the system we use pre-festival. This is not particularly efficient. The new system will allow us to migrate (seamlessly, we hope!) to live selling, using the same system throughout the week."

I sincerely hope that any ticket charges applied to on-line sales pre-festival are not going to be retained for all sales during the festival week?

Selling overheads are either the usual 2 or 3% VISA/MASTERCARD charges which retailers have to absorb (maybe 40pence on a £20 ticket) or the more controversial £3 or even £6 charges for the privilege of buying tickets on-line. Given the very small costs involved in all automated transactions there must be scope for competition to bring these down.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 06:07 AM

Booking charges are perfectly reasonable for card transactions but if implemented for all sales channels then they are a rip off.

I am involved with on-line sales, the card handling charge that I pay on a £100 transaction is £3.10 (I wish the business had a big enough turnover to negotiate that down).

I would like to stress that all my posts on this thread are under the same name. If anybody wants to call me a liar they can do so to my face and take the consequences.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 08:58 AM

Thankyou all for the comments and such, I will be going to Sidmouth as in previous years but will only pay for each event attended instead of as in the past supporting the whole festival even though we do not attend many of the concerts .   I am afraid that is the festivals loss but I do object to the booking charge, it may be easier, it may mean someone does not have to deal with the inconvience of admin, but as always we have the option of voting with our wallets wich I intend to do.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Mr Red
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 12:12 PM

If you buy your ticket at the cabin you would not have to pay the booking fee, but then the early bird ticket price would not be applicable.

Here in Stroud our Stroud Ceilidhs ticketing is handled by Stroud TIC and they charge a handling fee for internet sales. And they have full time staff during office hours.

I may very well buy tickets at the cabin or on the door. Given the probable dates I will be there.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: bubblyrat
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 12:59 PM

I first went (like others,including Pete Coe) to Sidmouth in 1965. Since then,there have been some big ( sometimes very big !) changes, not always,in my opinion,for the better.
               I would NEVER pay for a ticket today !! I would sooner go to a nearby campsite, and visit the town every day, calling in at the various "sessions" , especially in The Bedford , and take time out to enjoy Branscombe, Otterton , Budleigh Salterton, etc. ,and enjoy the general ambience on the Esplanade and in some other locations, paying for a "Headline" event IF I wanted to attend one. I suspect that a lot of people do this type of thing today. As for the "ceilidhs" ,forget it !! ; I value my hearing too much to have my eardrums shattered by the morons who operate the sound-systems today !!Where do get them from , Ruth (or Joan) ??
You should write a book entitled "How To Ruin A Once Popular ,Internationally -Acclaimed Folk Festival In A Few Short Years" ; it would set a benchmark, I'm sure !!
               
             Roger ( "Robin & Roger", Sidmouth, Yeovil, Dorchester, and Weymouth Folk Clubs, 1964-66)


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 01:16 PM

Saltburn is a great festival, and it is also near the sea.festival prices held the same as 2010, 52 sterling, 58 after june 1st, that is what I call good value


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 01:55 PM

"I don't read either of the recent threads as ATTACKING SIDMOUTH"

A title like "What's Happened to Sidmouth?" doesn't suggest to me that the poster thinks anything GOOD has happened to Sidmouth, while "Sidmouth Ripoff!" (still up there near the top of the page advertising one person's pernicious opinion as though factual) couldn't be mistaken for anything other than an attack.

I'm not sure why Sidmouth Folk Week seems to have this particular magnetism for the disgruntled - maybe because there will always be a few who think it should have forever have remained true to either its EFDSS or its Mrs Casey incarnation - but I'm pretty pleased that it's still happening, and still a good festival, and still presenting music with a traditional base, after nearly biting the dust altogether just a few years ago. And I also thought Ruth's responses were a model of detail and good manners up to the point at which it became clear she was dealing with an axe-grinder.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 01:56 PM

Burnham-on-Sea's Annual FREE Folkfest


is what I call excellent value !!!!!


http://www.folkfest.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 02:10 PM

Brian,I disagree.
Sidmouth could do with someone other than Ruth Archer to answer the complaint,someone with some diplomatic skills might be a good idea.
my reaction upon reading this thread was a similiar one to Peter Labans'


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 02:29 PM

What is this...lets kick a sound man week?
This is the second thread where my (other) profession, (my first being a musician) has been villified by people who haven't got a clue what they are talking about.
bubblyrat....You bloody do it. You put in the hours on a daily basis I dare you,
But no, you won't, will you?
You don't even buy a ticket, therefore you have no right to criticise something that you don't even attend.
Enjoy Budleigh Salterton.
Thanks for calling me and all the sound crews at the venues "Morons" Very Nice.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 02:44 PM

Bubblyrat has clearly not read the thread to which Joanie contributed, detailing the rise in ticket sales and the debts the previous festival got into. The debts that the current team are busy clearing.

That's twice the festival in the last thirty years the festival has been in financial trouble. The current management are doing their best to get the festival out of the fertiliser. Nice to see you doing your best to help.

What I suggest you do is bring your own beer from the supermarket, make up your own sandwiches, and sit on the beach with your mates. That's what makes a good festival.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 02:56 PM

Dick. Joan did answer diplomatically on a number of occasions on this and another thread. But it was clear that some people had another agenda and that they were trying to make it look like they had some support by posting under multiple identities.

I see the Burnham-on-Sea Festival mentioned here

Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker - PM
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 01:56 PM

is seeking volunteer sound staff!

So there you are - go and volunteer. You can all control the sound to your heart's delight.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 07:09 PM

Folkie Dave, I disagree with you, my impression is similiar to that of Peter Laban.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: stallion
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 03:46 AM

I suppose I have got used to treating other peoples posts the same way I hope other people treat mine, a genuine cast for knowledge and considered opinions. However such is the nature of this place that people with axes to grind diguise the axe as a feather duster. My personal view is that of someone who can't sing getting up to sing at a "come all ye", cringe, but will defend the right for them to perform because it is about being inclusive. The reply might have been a bit more informative, Joe did confirm that two of the names used were from the same PC, which is not on. Although I use a pseudonym I think a lot of people in this place know who i am, or, in the case of Damien O'Kane, "Your a nobody" (oops, sorry, that's my axe.... he probably wasn't far wrong except he forgot to add I was a "paying" nobody) I think everything is expensive now and can't see how festivals will survive without "the big society" stepping in, oops, David, festivals already survive on huge contribution from volunteers, maybe set a pattern for the NHS. Anyway back on thread, organising anything to do with folk is a thankless 'orrid task and i am sure doesn't need bitching.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: stallion
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 03:48 AM

Oh and i forgot to add, Joe ought to close this thread cos it really doesn't serve any useful purpose, and maybe red card th pc that started the mischief


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 09:13 AM

I'm not sure why Sidmouth Folk Week seems to have this particular magnetism for the disgruntled

the bigger the target, the more the hits.

ergo - it is doing something right!

simples!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 10:12 AM

The original post for this thread wasn't actually about the qualities of the Sidmouth Festival - it was simply registering some surprise and anger that, having paid top whack for the ticket, there was a surcharge for just booking the ticket. It's a legitimate question - worth discussing - and no fault of the OP that the thread got hijacked here and there.


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth Ripoff!
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 10:15 AM

Thanks for that Will Fly I was begining to feel persecuted for asking the origional question.


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