Sidmouth FolkWeek has many ‘challenges’ in its future

PUBLISHED: 08:30 08 October 2018

John Braithwaite, Sidmouth FolkWeek festival director

John Braithwaite, Sidmouth FolkWeek festival director

Archant

Sidmouth Folkweek is facing more challenges than ever before with accommodation, rising costs and difficulties in attracting new audiences, says its organisers.

Director John Braithwaite, of Sidmouth FolkWeek, gave a presentation to Sidmouth Town Council on Monday.

FolkWeek is now at the end of its five-year agreement and plans are being made for the next five years.

Mr Braithwaite discussed the festival’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how to overcome those.

He estimated that FolkWeek generated £2.5million across the district, between £2.2million to £2.5million during the week to the town.

He said: “It brings people in who love the town so much they stay before the festival, they stay after, they come back during the year - that is something we can’t measure.

“It has been going for 64 years and brings consistent benefits every year.”

He added they advertised on a national level, enhancing the town’s reputation but the festival’s strength was also a weakness, saying it was in an ‘increasingly difficult environment’.

Mr Braithwaite said it was a hard sell to guarantee a reliable income because unpredictable factors like the weather. He added there was also a big problem with a lack of accommodation during FolkWeek.

Mr Braithwaite said: “If we get more people to come we have to put them somewhere.

“We have an issue with continuing to expand revenue as fast as costs increase.”

Mr Braithwaite said 2018 was the first year they’d participated in the plastic-free campaign, which cost an extra £2,000 and regulatory costs were very expensive for holding such a big event.

He added they no longer had as much support from East Devon District Council – before they had a zero bill, now they had a bill approaching £10,000 that could continue to rise.

He added: “We are not complaining because EDDC has to make charges, it is just they are getting nearly £10,000 from the festival and around £15,000 from the stalls on the seafront. Most of the people who have windfall profits from the festival contribute back. That isn’t the case with EDDC.

“We’re enthusiastic about overcoming our weaknesses and threats which are considerable, we think we are up to the challenge.”

Among the festival’s plans are ones to improve the marketing of the festival and looking at it becoming a ‘national’ event, moves to attract new folk fans, potentially looking at national sponsors and getting more financial support from local authorities and from grants – helping the festival become bigger and better.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

07:00

The generosity and kind will of residents who have donated to the foodbank has been praised.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:05

The body of a man has been found in the river at Newton Poppleford.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30

Permission is being sought to build houses on land, previously set aside for a new doctors’ surgery in Newton Poppleford.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:18

The body of a man has been reportedly seen in the river in Newton Poppleford.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

An elderly couple injured in a serious collision near Sidmouth are inviting those that came to their aid for a cup of tea to say thank you.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:28

A visitor to Sidmouth has admitted to sexually assaulting a woman in the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

A Sidmouth care home has launched a brand-new support and social group called ‘Wives’ Time’.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:01

A Sidmouth veteran has backed the work of a national charity as part of a campaign to help injured, sick and wounded servicemen get back into work.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

Tributes have been paid to a ‘warm’ and ‘caring’ councillor who lost his battle with cancer last month.

Read more
Mon, 16:30

A poignant production about the effect of World War One on two Sidmouth families has raised £1,500 for Sid Valley causes.

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 6°C

Most read

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sidmouth Herald twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications