In response to frequently asked questions and feedback after the 2017 festival, here are some answers.
What are we doing to keep you informed?
FolkWeek will be introducing a new Comprehensive Information Service that allows us to update audiences and campers on the status of campsite access and other facilities along with other festival news via email, texts, the festival website and social media. We are also planning structural developments at the Campsite and Bulverton to aid access.
We have studied and discussed feedback from the 2017 festival and will be doing everything we can to improve access to all our sites and to provide helpful information.
What does the festival do about recycling and protecting the environment?
Sidmouth FolkWeek has a dedicated team on site from the start of the event right through to the end of the dismantling phase working hard to provide additional waste bins, litter pick and generally ensure that the town keeps looking its best throughout the event. We provide over 120 additional bins across our venues to ensure everyone can dispose of their litter responsibly.
All our bins accept different formats of waste, this is then sorted off site to reclaim items that can be recovered and recycled. This has led to a huge reduction in what we send to landfill with approximately 95% (Coastal UK Data) being recovered and recycled.
You don’t! People do queue in order to get to their preferred seating position in the marquee but it is usually perfectly possible to just arrive 15 minutes before show time to get a good seat. We aim to open the doors 30 minutes before Ham concerts and achieved that for all 2017 shows.
What about the other venues?
Some of the smaller venues are very popular and it is sometimes necessary to queue to ensure admission. We always try to open the doors as soon as possible to minimise queuing.
For 2018 no event tickets will be sold for the Manor Pavilion shows on Saturday and Sunday in order to maximise space for Week, Weekend and Day ticket holders.
How does Ticket Priority Work?
By buying a Festival ticket, you have priority entry to events over people paying at the door up to ten minutes before the start of each event. Separate queues are usually formed at most venues to facilitate the priority for ticket holders.
How is the festival organised and who runs it?
FolkWeek is organised by Sidmouth FolkWeek Productions Ltd which is a non-distributing trading company. There are two Company Directors John Braithwaite and John Heydon, neither of whom are paid for their work for the festival. Three other members of the festival team, Alan Bearman, John Radford and Jason Knight are contracted for their roles in Artistic and Marketing, Production and General Management respectively. Colin Trussell and Mike Norris are also part of the festival team as advisors.
FolkWeek is held by Sidmouth FolkWeek Ltd a charity and company limited by guarantee under the chairmanship of Stephen Thompson.
Where does FolkWeek get its income and what happens to it?
Approximately 70% of the festival’s income comes from ticket income. The balance is made up of trading and catering income, craft and music fair, merchandising, grants, sponsorship, collections, programme adverts etc.
Any surplus achieved is invested in the festival. No dividends are paid to the company directors.
So what is the Children’s Festival all about and who is it for?
Well firstly, the Children’s Festival is not just for children, it gives whole families the opportunity to join in some activities (for example Drop In Family Crafts and The Children’s Festival Torchlight Processional Build) and also to enjoy a superb range of evening Family Shows together. The week’s programme of workshops and activities is carefully organised to allow youngsters of different ages the best experience possible with the workshop leaders focusing their activities to match the abilities of either 4 years and under, the 5-7 year old range or children over 8 years. Some workshops are progressive and run for the week developing children’s confidence and leading to a final performance. Other workshops are more of a drop in nature. Children can choose whether they attend every session or just opt for one or two so they can have time to do something different on other days (perhaps featuring the beach or ice creams!). All in all, Sidmouth FolkWeek’s Children’s Festival is a great place for families to meet with other families, have a great week of fun and friendship and start your child’s love of the festival.
What are Fringe Festival Events and who runs them?
Sidmouth’s “Festival Fringe” is a part of the FolkWeek experience, complementing the main festival but not organised by it so FolkWeek is not responsible for it. Some of the venues where Fringe events take place including Dukes, the Middle and Main Bars of the Anchor Inn, The Royal York and Faulkner Hotel Bar, The Swan Inn and The Volunteer Inn are active supporters of the festival. Collections at these venues are an important part of the festival’s income.
What about the Market Square?
For licensing reasons and in consideration of the Market Square shopkeepers, FolkWeek only programmes the dance events that take place after 5pm each day. The street theatre that takes place during the day is not programmed by the Festival so it does not benefit from any of their collections.
What about the Esplanade ?
East Devon District Council control trading on the Esplanade and benefit from the income generated. FolkWeek negotiated larger dedicated performance spaces in 2016 in order to preserve the atmosphere generated by informal performance and programmed dance displays.
How can I identify which of businesses around the town actually support the festival?
Many of the town shops and businesses support the festival through sponsorship and advertising. These businesses display a Sponsor or Business Supporter poster in their windows and so are easily identified as supporters. They really appreciate your trade. Please do support them as well as Official Festival Traders displaying the Festival Trader poster on our sites such as Peacock Lawn and Blackmore Gardens.
Please note however, that there are many stalls and trading areas that spring up during FolkWeek taking advantage of the opportunity FolkWeek creates. These have no connection to the Festival, are not our responsibility and contribute nothing to the festival. They also take trade away from businesses that support the Festival. Some areas including the Masonic Hall and the Seafront may look very much part of the Festival but aren’t!
We ask our audience to help the Festival by spending with our sponsors, advertisers and official traders. Thanks for your support.