The maker of a film telling the story of Sidmouth Folk Festival is asking for old photos of the event, depicting it during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. 

Paul Tully is close to completing his film, A Small Quiet English Town, after working on it for more than 20 years. 

It contains plenty of archive film footage, but he has had difficulty sourcing photos of particular scenes and people. 

He and his wife Ali, who is working with him on the film, would like to obtain pictures of the following:  

Volunteers working at the festival in the 60s, 70s and 80s.  
Bill Rutter working at the festival in the 60s and 70s 
District and town councillors in the 60s and 70s.  
The former Knowle Hotel 
Folk clubs and performers in the 60s and 70s 
Folk Festival workshops in the towns and villages around Sidmouth in the 60s, 70s and 80s 
The floods of 1997 
The festival in 2005. 

Paul said he will be very careful with any old prints that he borrows for the film. They will be taken to Sidmouth Print for scanning, and then returned to their owners. 

He told the Herald the idea for the film came to him back in 1999 when Ali – then his girlfriend – brought him to Sidmouth for a weekend to meet her parents during August, when the Folk Festival was taking place. Watching the festival procession pass by, he remarked: “Surely someone’s made a film of all this?” Realising that nobody had, he and Ali embarked on a campaign of ‘crowdfunding, begging, borrowing and pleading’ to get the film started. 

It began as the story of just one year’s festival, 2014, but as time went on they realised there were hundreds of hours of unseen footage, telling the story of the festival over the decades. They found footage in sheds and rubbish skips from house renovations in Sidmouth and beyond, and also received calls from people who had captured precious family memories on Super 8mm and other old formats. 

They held a successful pre-screening earlier this year at the Norman Lockyear Observatory, and are now hoping to put the finishing touches to the film for a premiere at next year’s Folk Festival. 

Paul said: 'We believe that the film itself is just the beginning of what could be even more exciting projects. Not only will completing the film help preserve the archive film and video collections that we have amassed, but there is an opportunity to help younger generations to experience instruments, styles of singing and dancing that might otherwise be lost. We hope to create a programme of smaller stories for younger folk fans to enjoy as part of art installations within existing festivals, using new digital restoration techniques and enhanced audio processes.” 

Anyone who has photos they are willing to lend Paul for the film should email him at