Groups back calls for Sidmouth to be ‘festival town’

PUBLISHED: 06:45 20 July 2017

Sidmouth Food Festival. Ref shs 33-16SH 5337 Picture: Simon Horn.

Sidmouth Food Festival. Ref shs 33-16SH 5337 Picture: Simon Horn.


Help is at hand for a bid to develop Sidmouth into a ‘festival town’ – but the same pressures are faced across East Devon and some argue the effort should be district-wide.

Crowds at the Sidmouth Food Festival. Ref shs 33-16SH 5422. Picture: Simon Horn.Crowds at the Sidmouth Food Festival. Ref shs 33-16SH 5422. Picture: Simon Horn.

Organisers of the town’s celebrations of science, literature, walking and the sea came together with a regatta representative last month to discuss how they can share resources.

The creator of the food festival is also keen to get on board, while an event organiser says she has offered her services for free to a range of groups and not heard back.

Emma Donovan, who runs Donovan Solutions, said: “My company ethos is to help local people, charities and events and I made a promise to myself to help all local events and charities with one thing each year.

“I would love for all of these guys to contact me and get me involved – whether it’s just on the day marshalling or being in the main committee.

“I am here and willing to volunteer – please use me!”

Emma has run a charity, where any offers of help were gratefully appreciated, and said the help she gives could just be responding to such messages, or it could be more hands-on. She also plans to run a series of workshops to help voluntary organisations to help with everything from finding, motivating and keeping volunteers to helping with event planning and fundraising.

Kerry Gibbons organised the town’s first food festival at Kennaway House last year and said: “I think it’s a good idea for groups to pool and pull together. For all sorts of reasons – but public liability insurance is one of them.

“Volunteers to help on the day would be a big bonus this year.”

This year, the food festival is expanding onto the Triangle and will have more than 40 pitches, plus live music and cooking demonstrations from local chefs, on Saturday, August 19.

Ottery businessman Ruud Janseon Venneboer said it would be ‘more powerful’ to develop East Devon into a festival region. He said beyond Sidmouth, there are celebrations of food, literature, cider and music from Exmouth to Axminster and beyond.

Contact Emma on donovan or 01395 892392 for more information.

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