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Sidmouth- How was it for you?

09 Aug 03 - 07:59 AM (#999331)
Subject: Sidmouth- How was it for you
From: Larkin

How was it and what were your highs and lows?

Just got back from Sidders and a rare old time I had - The only catters I met were Morticia and Pixie ( nice to see you ladies), but then again I didn't go near the Middle Bar ( well I was upstairs playing diddly one night)
High spots for me were Flook, seeing Gog Magog Molly in the arena -Fantastic, The session in the Dove on Monday night and most nights in the Bedford around 1Am . Lowest spot was getting to my digs arranged by the Fest at 1-30am to find that the key that was supposed to under the plantpot outside the door was not there and then having to sleep in a bloody lay-by , but I was woken up by a nice bloke in a camper who offered me coffee which made me feel much less pissed off.


09 Aug 03 - 10:24 AM (#999369)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Larkin

Also had a few songs with catter John Borden .How could I forget to mention you!

09 Aug 03 - 11:29 AM (#999390)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: treewind

How was it?
I think it was good, but it was such hard work for us (Mary H. and me) that it's almost a relief to get home and not have to study timetables and plans to work out how we get through the next day. We had three song events, three ceilidhs with English Rebellion and playing for Gog Magog Molly when we weren't doing anything else. The rest of them had a day off - we didn't! Most days there was a panic because I'd lost or left behind something I needed! (space case!)

Still, it's the first Sidmouth I've even been to when it didn't rain even one day. Hot or what!?

Only new mudcatter I met was Countess Richard, at the concert with the Ryburn five.

The only performance where we got a chance to sit back and listen to someone else doing the hard work was Chris Coe and John Kirkpatrick at the Bedford on Wednesday.

Highlight of the week - perhaps the Flame show on Monday, with Black Swan Rapper's burning swords taking the biscuit for sheer bravado and showmanship. I wish I'd also seen the performance they reputedly did later in the week, with only ultraviolet lighting and fluorescent paint on their swords.

Lots of other good things though - selling enough CD's to keep us in beer money, taking part in the final procession with Gog Magog Molly, right down to dowsing the torches in the sea, and meeting many old and new friends as usual...


09 Aug 03 - 11:41 AM (#999393)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Larkin

You met me anahata- I had few tunes with you one afternoon in the beer tent at the showground . I was the guitarist with the old brown guitar who was doing stilt characters at the showground.


09 Aug 03 - 12:31 PM (#999416)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: treewind

Ah, but you didn't introduce yourself - so I didn't know!


09 Aug 03 - 04:04 PM (#999473)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Larkin

Likewise but we know now!

10 Aug 03 - 03:29 AM (#999577)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: The Borchester Echo

Anahata, Mary & the Ryburns at the arts centre was undoubtedly one of the highlights for me - one of the nicest venues for meeting up with friends old and new . Sidmouth without Pete Coe would be unthinkable! His farewell 'Hour or So' is what it's all about.

I was sorry to have missed the Flame Show but caught the Black Swan Rapper later with their truly amazing fluorescent swords.

Best acts new to me were the Witches of Elswick and Kirsty Cotter's impromptu String Stir.

My most magical moments came from the English Acoustic Collective who get together far too rarely and the oh-so-long-awaited launch of the Dr Faustus CD.

Most predictably dreary experiences were rehashing yet again with the same blinkered, self-appointed guardians of folk all those irrelevant arguments about Jim Moray's music (don't they have ears and brains?), queueing for ever to get into Spiers & Boden gigs (ah, the price of fame) and spending far too long in the M5 carpark known as Somerset on the way back.

Now I have to practice all that stuff I learned in the fiddle workshops...

10 Aug 03 - 06:49 AM (#999609)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: GUEST,cookieless Nickp

And I was the hot harassed bearded one looking after the south stage and arena walkabout ...

10 Aug 03 - 06:54 AM (#999610)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Larkin

Ah Nick , you did a great job and say hello to the lovely Clare( hope that's the right spelling) who as usual looked after us so well.
Martin ( the Diver!)

10 Aug 03 - 01:44 PM (#999752)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Steve Benbows protege

had a great time there. Have finished unpacking/washing etc. I am already am having withdrawl symptoms!
    Remember tickets for next year go on sale at the end of september due to 50yr celebrations.

10 Aug 03 - 02:56 PM (#999794)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Herga Kitty

Thanks to the Catters who sang in the Theatre Bar and the Monday folk clubs reunited sessions. Which were great. Anahata, please tell Mary that Ann Mettam, who started Poynton Jemmers, used to go to MSG, but had forgotten until Mary mentioned that this was her Monday club.


11 Aug 03 - 04:52 AM (#1000118)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: fogie

Great weather wasnt it!
Bottine Souriante on Sat night. I was sorry to miss Archie Fisher on Friday . I played in the West Gallery Sessions for the Thursday night Performance, but decided against the commitment for the Fanfare, but sat in the audience and thought it was very good- saw John Kirkpatrick getting his gold award from the EFDSS . Danced to Token Women on Fri eve, then ran down to the esplanade to see the teams from the world parade by Sat on the rocks watching the fireworks and wandered back to my caravan. Popping in and out of the Radway at lunchtime . I thought the town looked very pretty this year. Had lots of ice cream! (and lager)
The best moment was playing for the dance at the ford, standing next to the Scots drummer in the kilt liberally dishing out scotch. My face caught the sun but it was worth it!

11 Aug 03 - 05:58 AM (#1000130)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?

As my first folk festival I found Sidmouth to be bloody brilliant and look forward to going again next year.

11 Aug 03 - 06:26 AM (#1000138)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: nickp

Ah, cookied again!

Thanks Martin, Claire and I appreciated having you about - and in that heat....

11 Aug 03 - 06:46 AM (#1000149)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: alanww

There are also several reactions on the other thread SIDMOUTH (UK), including mine!

"Oh the summer is a comin' ...!"

11 Aug 03 - 08:45 AM (#1000176)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Gaffer

Hot to even hotter- dry after the build-up week and I'm not grumbling Weather apart, I enjoyed everything I went to, but the bow-tie was a bit wintry for the conditions but trouser-ventilation systems were working well. Much easier to walk when I replaced my Russian dictionary with a working programme! Made it once to the theatre bar and loved it

11 Aug 03 - 10:46 AM (#1000241)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: MikeofNorthumbria

My own Sidmouth highlights? Far too many to list them all – but here are a few.

Meeting McGrath of Harlow at Herga Kitty's excellent Monday night reunion singaround – our first face-to-face encounter since we were students decades ago.

Seeing and hearing so many highly talented young musicians, singers and dancers, performing with such grace and zest. We've been hearing for some time that the future is in safe hands – now I really do believe it.

Participating in the late Sunday night rave-up at the Bedford – and in particular, hearing the young man with the portable electric keyboard, who responded brilliantly to an inebriated punter's repeated requests for an all-too-familiar ditty, by deconstructing "The Wild Rover" to several wildly incongruous tunes, including "A Whiter Shade of Pale" with all the JS Bach twiddly bits. Magic!

Attending LNEs from Monday through Friday, and enjoying them all hugely. Every band and floor spot was superb - ditto the company and the general ambience.   

And finally, performing on the Arena Stage with Hexham Morris – an experience involving hours of anxiety beforehand, almost as many hours of euphoria afterwards, and ten minutes in between about which I remember almost nothing.

A wonderful festival, which thoroughly deserves its high reputation.


11 Aug 03 - 02:44 PM (#1000367)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Herga Kitty

Gaffer's contribution to the final Friday Theatre Bar singaround, about bringing culture to the masses in Uruguay with catastrophic consequences, was a bit of a highlight as well. The chorus IIRC goes

God preserve us from trombonists
Who ram explosives up their bells
To bring Tchaikovsky to the masses
And liven up the 1812.

Kevin Sheils made up a song specially as a tribute to the Theatre Bar sessions generally, and McGrath's Marmite song in particular.

I managed to include 20 performers on Monday night, representing at least 11 Monday folk clubs, including Rupert Ray, whom I'd not seen since we were students.


11 Aug 03 - 05:01 PM (#1000448)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: McGrath of Harlow

Yeah Kevin Sheills' version of Mrs McGrath in the Theatre Bar featuring me was something I'll remember. And it's time there was a song tribute to the Theatre Bar singarounds.

And meeting up with Mike again after all these years was great too - I walked up to Kitty's folk club reunion thinking I'd recognise him easy enough - my kind of age with a white beard and so forth. But then I looked around and half the blokes in the audience matched that.(If there's ever a folkie bank robbery to raise funds the identity parade will be a farce...)

But no mistake, once we'd picked each other out. And looking at Mike leaping around on the main stage with the Hexham Morrismen it was pretty clear he's a lot fitter than I am. But then I was never as fit as that lot are, leaping away and levitating. Cotswold Morris in Northumbria, I dunno...

Apart from that my highspot was another Mudcatter, who wound up the whole thing on the last night, leading choruses of "Down by the Riverside" as all the dancers from all over the world trooped off stage to join the procession. And that was storyteller Dan Keding from Chicago, who was a one man festival on his own, cropping up everywhere, and never repeating himself.

Oh yes, and Les Barker and the Shipping Forecast. And Black Swan Rapper and... But there's no end to it. A great time was had by all anyway.

11 Aug 03 - 06:44 PM (#1000485)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: GUEST,SeaKing

How was it for me..?

It was very very hot. The caravan and tent were like a sauna by eight o'clock most mornings - which didn't help the LNE/Mex tent recovery period much.

We (myself and the two kids) had a wonderfull week as always. Managed to spread ourselves around between The Anchor, Ham, Arena, Festival Dance House, Beach, Bedford, ate hundreds of ice creams and went home tired. Met a few Catters I recognised and probably a few I didn't.

Highlights were numerous but especially enjoyed Lindisfarne, singing in the Sea, Malinky, LNE - and all the Anchor sessions, inside and out. Enjoyed a wonderful picnic in the park on Thursday, then missed Kathryn Tickell as I assumed she'd be on last thing at the|Ham and arrived too late (Did anyone else do the same ?)
Low point was needing the Paramedics to attend to Rosanna who succumbed to the heat on Wednesday and gave me a worried moment or two. Thanks guys, you were there amazing quickly, I heard you had a busy week.

Can't wait for next year,see you there....


-And I still can't Polka..sorry about the toes Anna...!

11 Aug 03 - 07:31 PM (#1000515)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: McGrath of Harlow

"How to dance the polka" (mind, that's a Polish-American polka...)

12 Aug 03 - 03:03 AM (#1000667)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: GUEST,MBSLynne

Hello SeaKing. I hope the picnic at the Byes was worth missing Kathryn Tickell for! It was one of my three highlights of the week, the others being a six hour talk-session in the Dove and the Ashby-de-la-Zouch folk club in the Volunteer garden on the first Friday night. (14th year of it!!) The Middle Bar session were good, especially sea-songs on Tuesday evening, silly songs and singing in the sea (best swim I've had there in 21 Sidmouths!)and the Friday night session. A bit thinner on the ground than usual but I think that was due to the heat. And of course the thing I still keep going back to Sidmouth year after year for really...seeing all my lovely friends!

12 Aug 03 - 10:10 AM (#1000814)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: The Barden of England

Got back late yesterday as I went via Cardiff - to see my team at the Millenium Stadium.

Had to be the hottest Sidmouth ever - but was I daunted? No - of course not. I found a lovely spot in the Bedford so I could get the breeze from the windows and from the overhead fans. Nice to see Herga Kitty, Steve Benbows protege and all, and of course the great music. Voice went on monday, but what the hey, still managed to play anyway, and conserved the voice as best possible.

The young man playing the electric piano's name is Clive Lever, and he has so many versions of the 'Wild Rover' he could probably make CD's for the next 5 years and still have some versions left over. I ordered my mudcat t-shirt late, so didn't have it with me to wear, but that has now been rectified. Whichever way I had a fabulous time and look forward to repeating it next year. My next festival is a little local one at the 'Red Lion' Baddlesmere, near Faversham. It's held over the August Bank Holiday weekend if you are interested - great little festival with lots of real ale.

12 Aug 03 - 10:21 AM (#1000824)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Beardy

Bloody marvellous.

Weather reminded me of first Sidmouth 16 years ago; constant sunshine. Highlights were La Bottine, Doghouse Skiffle, Berroguetto, Flame and Last Nights Fun as regards acts. Main highlight was hospitality from Richard the landlord of the Swan Inn from the Wednesday before festival started to last evening; more beers available than a beer festival. Also met quite a few catters in beer garden especially Jude.
As for LNE I havent missed one in 16 years. Always at right hand end of bar never seen any dancing!
See you next year.


12 Aug 03 - 10:33 AM (#1000829)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Kevin Sheils

Here's the song I sang in the Theatre Bar. As it mentions two Mudcatters I guess it's appropriate.

Not being a songwriter myself I'll add a bit of background to explain how it happened. Each year we travel down to Sidmouth by train on the Friday and invariably Kevin McGrath and Ann(e?) are on the same train so when I saw him the first few lines just popped into my head as a sort of parody (this thing happens to me fairly regularly and is as quickly forgotten). My schedule usually means I only make it to the Theatre Bar once or twice in the week and so whilst strolling up there on Tuesday I still had the first bit in my head so thought why waste it, KM will be there so I'll try to expand it and made up the next three veses as I strolled in. I hadn't written it down so from memory I sang (tune should be obvious).

Now Kevin McGrath the MC said
Would you like to sing a song that's going through your head
You can sing it standing up or from where you're sat
Now Kevin McGrath wouldn't we like that
With me too-ri-a fol the diddle da
Especially the one about the Marmite jar

Well every year at the Theatre Bar
They call upon singers from both near and far
The songs may be happy or they may be sad
They may be contemp'ry or they may be trad
With me too-ri-a fol the diddle da
Anything goes down at the Theatre Bar

So if you've got a party piece you'd like to try
But your worried that your throat may get dry
There's no need to worry there's no need to fear
You can get a cup of tea or a pint of beer
With me too-ri-a fol the diddle da
I'm not sure about the tea but I like a jar

This event is organised by Kitty and Tim
And another fellow but I don't know him
They work very hard to make the venue thrive
It's a very good way to keep the songs alive
With me too-ri-a fol the diddle da
So make sure you get down to the Theatre Bar

If I ever do write anything they are usually just on the spur of, or appropriate to, a particular moment and mean nothing after the event or outside the circle. As with the one I did for the Herga 40th Birthday this sort of thing was a bit of a tradition at the Herga when I was there from 1975-1978.

To get back on topic I had a great time at Sidmouth, the only mudcatter I know I met that was new to me was John Bardens, who seemed to be working hard at the Bedford, I caught him for a few moments at Port Royal thanks to his photo. There may have been others that I didn't know were mudcatters.

I'm just glad that the 4 Ham concerts I MC'd were evenings not midday or afternoon ones ;-)

12 Aug 03 - 10:44 AM (#1000834)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Larkin

Hope Cardiff wasn't too much of a dissappointment for you John!

12 Aug 03 - 11:24 AM (#1000859)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: The Barden of England

Er - well - - - Not really, except for the muppet called Jeffers, I thought the better team lost on the day, but then again it's only a game after all. The atmosphere was electric though, and what a great stadium they have in Cardiff.

Sad to see that the Rugby Club were doing nothing this year. I don't know what happened there - does anybody? Still, now that the Marborough has been taken over by the people who own the Elizabeth and the Devoran, it was nice to see the welcome to Folkies and musicians. It seems they want to encourage it's use by folkies during Folk week - well done them. As Kevin Shiels said I did manage to get out of the Bedford for the odd foray, but not too long - and I found out that one of our regular number every year in there is Jim Moray's father. He is, and should be, a proud man as I think Jim is great.

12 Aug 03 - 11:31 AM (#1000868)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: Herga Kitty

I heard during the week that apparently the Rugby Club would have had to pay £1700 pounds for a licence.....

12 Aug 03 - 11:44 AM (#1000874)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: alanww

For PEL or camping, Kitty?
They said that next year they intend to restrict the number of campers they have on the site. But, as I counted over 50 campers at one point and it was £50 for the week, that's £2,500+ for the campers alone, not counting the car parking and the catering ... I don't think they did badly!
"Don't mind the rain ...!"

12 Aug 03 - 02:04 PM (#1000958)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: McGrath of Harlow

I heard one problem with the Rugby Club was some other publicans in the town kicking up a fuss - that would have been because the beer festival the Rugby Club put on provided better and more varied beer at much lower prices. Though since the pubs were crowded to capacity last year anyway, so far as I could see, I can't see why they'd have had any reason to complain. Perhaps it was the few pubs that aren't that folkie friendly who caused the problem.

That would suggest that it was the drinks licence that was at issue rather than the music licence. But anyway at the discussion meeting, when a friend raised the question, he was told that there was no realistic possibility of getting the Rugby Club back for next year anyway. Which is a great shame, because it was very handy as a place to drop into for a last drink and a last song or two on the way home from other venues.

12 Aug 03 - 02:14 PM (#1000968)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: McGrath of Harlow

And I think I'd have loved that song of Kevin Sheils pretty well as much even if it hadn't had me in the first verse. Thanks!

18 Aug 03 - 03:46 PM (#1004188)
Subject: RE: Sidmouth- How was it for you?
From: MBSGeorge

I thoroghly enjoyed Sidmouth although I only made it to the last couple of days. The weather was fantastic and think it was the first time in years that the middle bar singers have been happy to wade into the sea on thursday!! I know I was!!. I'm looking forward to the re-union in Feb see you all then.