Frequently Asked Questions

What does the festival do about recycling?

The Sidmouth Folk Festival 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. Our waste contractor, Grist, have a zero to landfill policy.

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.

Why do we have to queue at the Ham?

You don’t! People do queue in order to get to their preferred seating position in the venue 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.

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 2020 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. A very limited number of event tickets will be available for other Manor shows dependent on the anticipated demand from Season Ticket Holders.

What if I have mobility issues?

If you are disabled or have mobility issues please direct all your access related enquiries to ‘access@sidmouthfolkfestival.co.uk’. Please note that free Personal Assistant tickets (previously called ‘Carers’ tickets or ‘Disabled Helpers’ Ticket’) are bookable via the website for 2020. These are collection only and the appropriate evidence of entitlement (see the ticket page for details) will need to be produced when collecting from the Box Office.

How is the festival organised and who runs it?

The Sidmouth Folk Festival 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 Music, JR Event Services and Knight Time Music are contracted for their roles in Artistic and Marketing, Event Management  and General Management respectively. Colin Trussell and Mike Norris are also part of the festival team as advisors.

Where does the Festival 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, the 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?

Fringe festival events are part of The Sidmouth Folk Festival experience, complementing the main festival but not organised by it so Sidmouth Folk Festival 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 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.

“Sidmouth Fringe Sessions” is not part of The Sidmouth Folk Festival.

What about the Market Square?

For licensing reasons and in consideration of the Market Square shopkeepers, The Sidmouth Folk Festival 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. The Festival 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 festival week taking advantage of the opportunity the festival 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.