Tent slashed and jam stolen but ‘disappointed’ traders don’t turn their back on folk festival

Laura Mead and Uli Braunbeck

Laura Mead and Uli Braunbeck - Credit: Archant

Traders in town for FolkWeek were hit by a string of ‘mindless vandalism’.

Janice Voce

Janice Voce - Credit: Archant

One had an elaborate decoration smashed and another was on the brink of quitting after her tent was slashed with a knife.

The attacks happened overnight in the early hours of Monday morning to gazebos at the Bedford car park near the seafront.

Despite exhibiting at previous festivals in Sidmouth, the traders said this was the first time anything like this had happened.

Janice Voce, 55, from Newton Poppleford, was there with her Fancy That stall selling takeaway Caribbean food.

Janice Voce

Janice Voce - Credit: Archant

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The former psychiatric nurse, who has been at the festival for 10 years, turned up in the morning to find a gash at the back of the tent where someone had used a knife to gain entry. There was no food or money inside and nothing was stolen.

“I was that upset I was seriously thinking of going home,” she said.

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“You work hard and you feel you provide a good service and then this happens. It’s out of order.”

The caterer was recently photographed serving Prince Charles at Honiton’s Gate to Plate food festival. She has been going to events for 14 years.

On the same row of tents, vandals broke into the one shared by Angelchops Cakes and The Cherry Tree, selling preserves.

Laura Mead, 36, had an advertising board stolen and a display cake was smashed onto the ground and some cake was thrown around. A jar of chutney and two jars of jam were stolen from the neighbouring stall.

“It’s not something you expect to happen in Sidmouth. It’s one of the things that we love about being down here,” she said.

Laura grew up in the area and moved back with her architect husband two years ago and decided to pursue her passion for cake making and icing.

“You put your heart and soul into creating your business, offering a high quality product and working long hours,” she said.

“This kind of mindless vandalism and petty theft has far more impact than the perpetrators realise.”

Uli Braunbeck, of The Cherry Tree, said: “I was really disappointed because I would never have expected anything like it down here; it’s so beautiful and never any trouble.

“It’s a folk festival not a rock festival.”

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