Aims for Sidmouth FolkWeek

PUBLISHED: 12:01 01 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:46 17 June 2010

ATTRACTING more young people and securing additional financial support were among aims agreed when organisers of Sidmouth FolkWeek met to discuss the event s future. More than 60 representatives of local businesses, clubs and councils attended the priva

ATTRACTING more young people and securing additional financial support were among aims agreed when organisers of Sidmouth FolkWeek met to discuss the event's future.

More than 60 representatives of local businesses, clubs and councils attended the private meeting on Tuesday, hosted by Colin Pyne at the Bedford Hotel.

John Braithwaite, chair of Sidmouth FolkWeek Productions Ltd, said the night was a success and some local businesses had already offered further support including the cricket and rugby clubs.

He said: "The meeting was unique as it is the first time we had explained the festival.

"We are a new board of directors and we feel it was really important to bring everybody in the town together.

"We have had initial feedback and a lot of people are saying they will help us more than what they do now."

The 'not for profit' festival attracts 20-30,000 visitors each year and is worth an estimated £1.5 million to the area, according to official figures.

But Mr Braithwaite said that organising a festival like FolkWeek was extremely difficult as other festivals add to their revenue with income from food, drink and trading- Sidmouth does not.

"It is essential that the Festival works closely with the town's businesses to ensure a sustainable future for all of us," he added.

"Although we can operate stringent financial controls and have cut our costs, we are not relying on extra income from ticket sales in the current economic climate."

He said support from local councils was essential to the festival's future and the organisers are hoping to expand on their financial support.

Improving the festival was also a crucial point discussed at the meeting.

Joan Crump, FolkWeek's new Artistic Director, talked about the Festival's programming and marketing strategy, in particular families with young children.

Organisers hope to also encourage people in the 18-30 age bracket to attend in the future by adding popular groups from the folk world to the line-up, such as Oysterband, Steve Knightley of Show of Hands and the return of the Spooky Men's Chorale from Australia.

Mr Braithwaite added: "We are going to continue what we have done-to run a festival with a fantastic atmosphere and we will not lose the essence of Sidmouth."

Any businesses who are interested in helping in any way are asked to contact the FolkWeek organisers by e-mailing john.braithwaite@entity.co.uk or through Mark Seward at the Elizabeth Hotel.

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