Folk stars offer rewards to crowdfunding donors for Sidmouth’s 2021 festival

John Braithwaite, Director, Sidmouth Folk Festival

John Braithwaite, Director, Sidmouth Folk Festival - Credit: Contributed

A crowdfunding campaign to secure the future of Sidmouth Folk Festival begins on Tuesday, June 30 - with the support of many top performers.

Sidmouth Folk Festival is being staged in a virtual way this year. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Folk Festival is being staged in a virtual way this year. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

This year’s cancelled festival is being replaced by a virtual event with online concerts, workshops, storytelling and more, over the weekend of July 31 and August 1. To ensure the festival can return in 2021, organisers are appealing to individuals and businesses to donate.

Many artists who were due to perform this year are offering donors exclusive rewards at the 2021 event.

They include one-to-one musical masterclasses with artists including Martin Simpson and John Kirkpatrick, a personalised ‘experience’ with the hugely popular Spooky Men’s Chorale, and brunch at a Sidmouth hotel with Eliza Carthy.

There are also online lessons with Nancy Kerr, Saul Rose or John Dipper, personalised tunes written by Blowzabella and merchandise from Steeleye Span, The Fisherman’s Friends, Home Service, Jez Lowe, Will Pound, Askew Sisters and many more.

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Peter Lord of Aardman Animations – the home of Wallace and Gromit – is a long-term supporter of the folk festival and is offering unique Morris Morph creation.

There will be special events for supporters, long-term festival season ticket deals and prime motorhome site offers.

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Donors will be recognised with their names going up on a champions’ wall in the town.

Devon folk heroes Show of Hands were due to take up their customary top billing at this year’s festival, and the band’s singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steve Knightley is urging people across the Westcountry to give the crowdfunder appeal as much support as they can.

He said: “Sidmouth Folk Festival is part of the landscape. If it was not there it would leave a huge hole.

“I’ve been going since I was 14 and it is absolutely unique – the Edinburgh Festival of the folk scene. lt’s where people begin and end their careers.

“It takes a year to plan and a lot of the costs are incurred before anyone turns up for the festival. It just about breaks even every year, but it transforms the economy and puts East Devon on the map.”

Festival director John Braithwaite said: “This is possibly the most important activity we have ever undertaken, apart from running festivals.

“The crowdfunding itself is to help with the costs we’ve had in a year of little or no income.

“It’s intended to set us up for a secure future and to help with the costs we’ll incur in starting 2021 and running a virtual festival this year.”

For more information on how to support the crowdfunding campaign, visit from Tuesday, June 30.

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