‘Special Sidmouth’ - a welcome from the festival director

John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite - Credit: Archant

This year, special Sidmouth really is special— and that’s not just our opinion!

Sidmouth seafront during FolkWeek. Picture: Paul Clayden

Sidmouth seafront during FolkWeek. Picture: Paul Clayden - Credit: Archant

Your festival has been awarded the BBC Music Day Blue Plaque for Devon. These plaques commemorate significant events, people and places which are a big part of our musical heritage. We are naturally absolutely delighted that your Festival has been recognised for its contribution, and the town equally for its setting. Go and see the plaque on the Ham wall by Bagwell’s fish store.

After Music Day excitement, comes the splendid 63rd FolkWeek Festival with the best we can find in folk music, song and dance all day, every day. From day one, the unique party atmosphere pervades every part of the town, giving this coastal gem that special festival feel.

The Ham Marquee concert venue programme is packed with top-class artists, which makes it impossible to single out any for mention. Check them out and get the highlighter to work (and get some tickets if you need them). The Bulverton again hosts some great evenings, headlined by Seth, Oysterband – on a special birthday – and Peatbog Faeries, among many others

Make sure you get to fRoots ‘Cellar Full of…’ back in Carinas. It’s where the up-and-coming stars are born! Don’t miss some more budding talent in the EFDSS shows; mornings at the Bedford.

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There are national Folk Award winners and nominees everywhere, so even more than usual to see. That’s before you have rushed off to the pre-festival crackers, workshops, the delightful Children’s Festival, Youth sessions, In the Tradition, ceilidhs, a huge folk dance programme, storytelling and a superb dance sides line-up. With 700+ events to see and take part in, you are going to need both stamina and running shoes.

We would like to extend a special welcome to families from the town and surrounding areas to a wonderful week of fun at the Children’s Festival in Blackmore Gardens.

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It only happens because of our many supporters, town businesses, the three councils and partner organisations including fRoots, our media sponsor, Hobgoblin Music, EFDSS, Creative Scotland and Halsway Manor-National Centre for the Folk Arts. A particularly warm welcome to our local and new sponsors – thanks for joining us! Making it happen though relies on our 500 volunteers and the core team.

As always, Sidmouth welcomes the festival-goers, to another great FolkWeek, worthy of its Blue Plaque. We invite everyone to enjoy every moment and keep coming year after year!

John Braithwaite,

Festival Director

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