Sidmouth FolkWeek triumph

PUBLISHED: 12:43 23 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:03 18 June 2010

BIGGER audiences, tangible town support and a truly vibrant atmosphere are how John Braithwaite, chairman of Sidmouth FolkWeek Productions Ltd, summed up this year s festival.

BIGGER audiences, tangible town support and a truly vibrant atmosphere are how John Braithwaite, chairman of Sidmouth FolkWeek Productions Ltd, summed up this year's festival.

He said: "This was a watershed year for Sidmouth FolkWeek, but in so many ways proved a resounding success.

"For perhaps the first time, the town was in true partnership with the festival, giving its backing in a very tangible way.

"The festival attracted many more visitors, bringing bigger audiences and sell-outs at the main venues.

"The atmosphere was truly vibrant and responses to some of the evening and late night bands overwhelming.

"All this, despite the recession and a few spots of rain!"

It takes more than a year to plan each festival and three weeks to build. This year's new management team implemented innovative changes.

There were positive responses to the new HUB area at the Ham and Port Royal end of the Esplanade.

"It can now be taken to its next stage of development," said John.

Blackmore Gardens has become the new in-town festival centre, boasting new features and an excellent atmosphere as crowds flocked there to take part in Young Sidmouth, go to the dances and displays, browse the music fair or simply relax.

The Bulverton venue was at its best this year, with great bands and the Festival Clubhouse dances, including a highly popular Silent Disco, which is likely to become a must for future festivals.

"We also welcomed the return of international acts to Sidmouth, with musicians and dancers from Bulgaria, Italy, French Canada and Australia," said John.

"The closing torchlight procession was truly spectacular, led by a 15-feet high model of The Fiddler, the festival's traditional emblem, with figures and designs produced in festival workshops, funded by a grant from the Sid Vale Association's Keith Owen fund.

"With the county, town and festival beginning to work in a solid partnership, the foundations have been laid for this unique event to grow from strength to strength," said John, who thanked the hundreds of volunteers and local supporters of FolkWeek, which brings much-needed financial support to the local economy.


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