Sidmouth FolkWeek gearing up for 2016

Sidmouth Folkweek sign. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0636-32-14AW. To order your copy of this pho

Sidmouth Folkweek sign. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0636-32-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders - Credit: Archant

FolkWeek bosses have spoken of their aims and aspirations for the festival’s future – including improvements to the trading situation on the seafront and a potential move back to Knowle.

The week-long celebration of all things folk attracted thousands of visitors to the Sid Valley in August, and its organisers have big plans for the 62nd event in 2016.

The Herald reported in August how acoustic performers and revellers were concerned over the growing number of traders and musicians using amplifiers on the seafront during the festival.

And updating town councillors on the future of the event earlier this month, festival director John Braithwaite acknowledged that something needed to be done.

He said: “It is now a problem, but unfortunately it’s not something we can do anything about because we’re not responsible for it.

“It is costing us money - there are people in the town who are giving us less in sponsorship because their business is being affected.

“We would like to change the way the seafront looks and we think that could be done alongside having traders there.”

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In 2013, festival organisers proposed a change in location for the event’s main Bulverton campsite, off the B3176, to a 13-acre site on Salcombe Hill.

But Mr Braithwaite told councillors that the mooted move had been ‘put on hold’ for now.

“At the moment, we are living with what we have got at Bulverton,” he said. “And we are really working very hard on making our campsite the best place possible.”

Asked if he would consider moving some of the festival back to Knowle, if the town council takes ownership of the park when East Devon District Council leaves Sidmouth, Mr Braithwaite said he would. But he added, if that were to happen, organisers would need to strike a careful balance between how much of the event took place in the park.

“We have gained a lot of kudos for ‘bringing the festival back to the town’ from the Knowle,” he said.

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