Comeback likely for Caribbean fun

Sidmouth Caribbean Night, 2010 Sidmouth Caribbean Night, 2010

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
6:30 AM

THOUSANDS of revellers could go from having lost Sidmouth’s popular Caribbean Night entirely to the spectacular event being staged twice on the same night - by two different organisers.

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Separate event masterminds have found themselves in a reggae wrangle after planning to revive the colourful music fest – not knowing what the other was up to.

The August tradition’s last appearance in 2010 was the only time it has taken place in the past decade.

It had historically been a regular fixture on the Sidmouth calendar on the Saturday after FolkWeek.

The last man to organise the fun, Ben Waring, has teamed up with his predecessor, Councillor Stuart Hughes, with plans to stage a Caribbean Night in the Ham marquee after the folk festival.

Both say the night could happen this year – but would be more likely in 2015 – and want profits to go to youth projects in the town.

Exeter-based Paul Keating has also revealed a different ambition to revive the night in the grounds of Knowle on August 9 from 4pm to 11.30pm.

He is currently preparing a licensing application and hopes to raise the cash to organise the event through his CrowdCanDo website.

Mr Waring sees himself as the custodian of the night having last organised it in 2010.

He wants to utilise the Ham marquee at the end of FolkWeek as a more ‘cost-effective’ way of reviving the tradition.

His plans for a 2011 Caribbean Night were scrapped due to losses made the previous year when the event cost more than £50,000 to put on.

Mr Waring added that a more ‘boutique’ revival would be for between 1,500 and 2,000 people. Seats would be removed from the marquee, an all-weather venue.

“It could happen this year or definitely next,” said Ben of the ‘community oriented’ idea.

“Profits will go to youth projects in the area. We’ll be going ahead regardless – whatever happens.”

He added it was ‘frustrating’ that a separate event was in the pipeline.

Cllr Hughes added: “I’m quite excited about it – anything you can do to help raise money for youth has got to be welcome.”

Mr Keating said his event at the night’s traditional Knowle home - for up to 3,000 people - will only go ahead if enough money is raised beforehand. He will need to secure a minimum of £12,000 through crowd funding.

Mr Keating added that any profit it makes will go towards ensuring the festivities return the following year.

“We’re trying to bring this event back for the community and make it yearly,” he said.

“We don’t want to come along and make a load of money and disappear. If we are successful, all profits will go back into the event.

“I’m confident we can persuade people to get behind it and be quite successful.”

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