Why Sidmouth FolkWeek volunteers love being a part of the festival

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 July 2018

Ref shs 30 18TI 8661. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref shs 30 18TI 8661. Picture: Terry Ife


Volunteer staff at FolkWeek explain why they work for nothing, and what they love about the festival

Ref shs 30 18TI 8647. Picture: Terry IfeRef shs 30 18TI 8647. Picture: Terry Ife

FolkWeek could not happen without an army of volunteers – 467 this year - who give up their time for nothing. But many of them feel they simply want to give something back to Sidmouth, since it was FolkWeek that led them to make the town their home.

Kath Parry, who helps with pre-festival admin, was at the first FolkWeek, in 1955, as a child, and has come 45 times.

“As I came down the hill into the town every year, I just felt myself relax, I could just be me for the whole week and enjoy the music, but it also made me fall in love with the town, I vowed that I would retire here, and that’s what I did, in 2004. And when they were asking for volunteers I thought, yes, because without the festival I wouldn’t be living here.”

Colin Trussell, who looks after advertising and sponsorship, has been involved for around 30 years. He got married during the festival in 1991 and recalls: “At 2am, my following-day’s wife and I were still at Late Night Extra at the Bulverton, even though we were getting married at 10am the next day in Paignton.” The couple lived abroad for some years, but ended up buying a house in Sidmouth.

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Rebecca Selby helps with admin and artist reception work. She has been coming to FolkWeek since the age of seven and now takes her own family to the Children’s Festival.“I’ve always loved FolkWeek and it’s fantastic to be part of it. I’m very proud to be helping to make it happen.”

Collections manager Steve Thompson has been involved for 11 years. “When I came to Sidmouth in 1972 I knew about the festival but had decided it wasn’t my sort of thing. But I went to the Arena and then a singaround and a ceilidh or two and discovered I definitely did like FolkWeek. Now there will be three generations of our family enjoying the festival.”

All the volunteers are passionate about the ambience of FolkWeek, which they describe as unique.

“There’s such a lovely atmosphere. All around town and everywhere you go, everyone is happy,” said Rebecca.

Ref shs 30 18TI 8649. Picture: Terry IfeRef shs 30 18TI 8649. Picture: Terry Ife

Kath agreed: “You meet so many people, from so many different countries. And a lot of romances begin at Folk Week…..”

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