There will be a blast from the past at the Sidmouth Folk Festival, when a novelist reads extracts from his book largely set during the festival of 1989.

Chris Foster Tolley will be giving a talk about his ‘loosely autobiographical coming-of-age' novel Trip 89, which draws upon his own experiences at the Folk Festival 33 years ago.

Sidmouth Herald: Chris Foster Tolley with his campervan in the 1980sChris Foster Tolley with his campervan in the 1980s (Image: Chris Foster Tolley)

He said: “It’s a first-person narrative that follows the journey of Cea, 22, who - bored of life, or rather lack of it and spurred on by a feeling of missing out on the previous summer’s goings on - sets off on a trip in a campervan to find adventures in Britain in the last year of the 1980s.

“Initially his trip is somewhat of a disappointment as he finds himself harking back to, not only previous successes, but also failures. This is compounded when he attends a festival where the worst aspects of late 80s alternative lifestyle (which he strongly believes in and form part of his identity) are displayed.

“Just on the point of contemplating abandoning the trip, he chances on a small and apparently sedate English seaside resort where, bit by bit, parts of his life, hitherto missing or incomplete, start to fall into place, making him realise that at this point in time that this is where he is meant to be.”

“The novel is deeply embedded in the culture, particularly the music and politics, of the time. In many ways Sidmouth is the saving grace of the protagonist who finds friendship and purpose there and perhaps surprisingly, given the reputation of the town as a place for the retired, a thriving youth culture.

“Scenes occur during Folk Week and various places throughout the town, most notably at The Merm and Carinas which of course have both gone, but all over really, including a rave held at the beach at Jacob's Ladder. The town made a really good setting for the novel I think, and having a good memory helped.”

Sidmouth Herald: Chris Foster TolleyChris Foster Tolley (Image: Chris Foster Tolley)

Chris’s talk will take place on Thursday, August 4 at the Lower Methodist Church Hall from 10.15 until 11.30am.