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Author Topic: Festival Feedback  (Read 1653 times)

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Howard Jones

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2017, 01:30:41 PM »

I think there is actually a very wide variety of festivals.  The talk here is about the big high-profile ones but there many other most weekends. Some seem to be aimed at a largely passive audience, others are more participatory. Personally I prefer the latter, and my choice of festival is based more on ambience and quality of sessions rather than who happens to be on the guest list that year. I know from long experience I am unlikely to get to see many of the events I would like as other things usually get in the way, so the guest list doesn't influence my choice.

I see plenty of young people at festivals, both artists and audience, so I don't think that is a concern. However the older generation are also well-represented and I agree that not enough is always done to accommodate their changing needs. At 63 I am still happy to camp but a lot of my contemporaries now prefer campervans or caravans or even hotels.  The price of tickets food and beer is of course an issue. However there are enough festivals that there should be something for everyone and at an affordable price.
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Myndmusic

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2017, 01:34:06 PM »

I love the atmosphere at Sidmouth and enjoy all the smaller and independent shops in the town. Maybe the prices have been hiked, I don't know, but it's always pleasant picking up things you've forgotten or didn't know you needed! The main reason it's a costly event is that you may be there for over a week. I do agree about the Devon beers however, no idea why there is a link with Caledonian given the many great ales from the south west.

The challenge for Sidmouth presumably is that the festival is spread all over the town. Lots of people are there without a ticket or may buy a few individual event tickets so it must be much more difficult making the festival pay its way. Maybe Whitby is the same, I haven't managed to get there yet, but the only other ones I know have a 'captive' audience in a contained area where you have to pay or be stewarding or performing to get entry.

I should say I don't see anything wrong with people attending Sidmouth without tickets, indeed the festival acknowledges and encourages in pricing the individual events in the way it does, but the fact that this happens surely makes the business model a lot more difficult.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2017, 01:47:49 PM »

Glad you appreciate our beers!
We have no idea either about the Caledonian connection, possibly a sponsorship is involved? It baffles my friends who are more involved in organising the bar.
You are right about people being involved without the need to buy tickets. Perhaps that's me being grumpy! It means that the first Sunday continues as it always has done - many Morris sides dancing for fun on the seafront. I know I'll see friends who come from a long way just to meet, chat and dance..... And why not indeed.
The pub sessions too are great and just need you to sit and play or listen. These too provide a window into the folk world and does encourage people to investigate further and anything bringing people into the fold must be good.
Q
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Tufty

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2017, 01:58:19 PM »

I think organisers  recognise that the choice is between getting some cash out of people like me, or nothing at all. I have no interest in concerts. If I want to listen to an artist I prefer to buy the CD rather than sit on an uncomfortable seat in a sweaty hall surrounded by chronic sniffers and talkers and have to put up with all the other artists that I am not interested in! I go to festivals for sessions and workshops and am happy to pay for these e.g at Whitby I spent around £60 on workshops and session donations. If the festival was structured on an all or nothing basis this money would never reach the festival. Years ago, before becoming a poor old pensioner, I bought a full ticket. At the end of the week I worked out what I would have spend paying on the door, it worked out at about a third the cost of the full ticket. For a completely different idea of what a festival can be try the Sheffield Sessions Festival, only one token concert all weekend and a program of sessions of varied styles in excellent pubs, no cost just donations and a great time had by all!
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Julian S

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2017, 07:23:37 AM »

Interesting different perspectives and comments. I know quite a few folk enthusiasts who love the participation elements, but are not particularly interested in concerts - personally I enjoy all. Seeing and hearing great musicians years ago inspired me to learn to play, and to continue to try to improve my playing - though I often get depressed how little progress I've made ! (If only I'd applied myself more when young, as so many emerging young musicians are clearly doing).
I've never been involved in folk festival organisation, but it's obvious that large scale festivals bring large scale problems, and having the big name headline acts seem to be the only way to finance everything else - infrastructure, dances, workshops you name it...but there's a limited number of such headline acts around without taking a very broad approach in the definition of folk. But will that mean that the whole atmosphere of the festival changes ?
I've now filled in my feedback forms for Sidmouth (very short questionnaire - with no question asking what acts I'd like to see next year), and Shrewsbury (much more comprehensive - and asking which five acts I'd suggest). I think it's really important to pass on views to organisers - sceptics often say views are ignored - but my impression is that at least here in Shrewsbury that is not at all the case. Here I'd like to see the festival involving the town more, where there a number of smaller venues available for concerts, session, workshops etc, rather than having everything based on a field with big marquees. Involving the wider community is incredibly important.
As for Sidmouth, don't know. I've bought week tickets in the past, so I can more or less decide what to go for (venue space permitting !), costly- yes, but not compared to the cost of the hotel ! But whether I'll go next year is another matter - what with Melodeons at Wensleydale. Blowzabella festival, and two workshop weekends at Halsway...might have to sell a box or two to finance it all...or get out busking...

J

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mory

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2017, 10:19:37 AM »

Get out busking!  :||: Whatever the reason. 
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pikey

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2017, 10:22:09 AM »

Sell all your non Hohner boxes Julian  ;)

Shall we reform 0904?
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gurdypad3

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2017, 06:21:30 PM »

Best Fest?   FolkEast. No question.....A growing exercise in imaginative presentation. Gets better year on year.
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Julian S

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2017, 08:02:36 PM »

Sell all your non Hohner boxes Julian  ;)

Shall we reform 0904?

Interesting suggestions - and you've just ordered a Castagnari ?  >:E

(Have you got the old repertoire noted down - after all it's only been 35 or more years...!)

J

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pikey

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2017, 07:34:29 AM »

Somewhere I have a scrap of paper with all our sets on it  (:)
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squeezy

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2017, 10:35:43 AM »

Best Fest?   FolkEast. No question.....A growing exercise in imaginative presentation. Gets better year on year.

I agree wholeheartedly ... The creativity and genuineness seems to ooze from every bit of this lovely festival ... and I enjoyed a lot of the programming too.
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David A

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2017, 03:19:00 PM »

I've just returned home from a 4-week jaunt in my caravan that started with Sidmouth Folk Week and finished at Shrewsbury Folk Festival. This was my third time at Sidmouth and fifth time at Shrewsbury.

I love Sidmouth as I get the chance to sing in choirs led by Sandra Kerr and Paul Sartin, attend melodeon (and other instrument) workshops and ceilidhs, see upcoming performers at the Bedford and top names at the Ham and Manor Pavillion. My "Week" ticket cost just over £200 but if I'd paid individually for all the workshops and concerts I attended I'd have spent over £300 so it was great value for money. I also enjoy seeing all the dance teams and buskers around the town so for me there is the right blend of official and unofficial (fringe) events. The town seems full of folkys enjoying themselves - what could be better? Sidmouth also benefits from its use of permanent venues so there is no wading through mud between them. The festival campsite was quite muddy this year but the stewards did a great job getting people pitched and then off the site at the end of the week.

Shrewsbury is also great but there are few singing workshops(no choirs) and fewer venues. The two largest stages are too large for me - the sound engineers seem to want the sound volume right at the back of the marquee so anywhere close to the stage is deafening. Fortunately the performers I wanted to see were mainly on in the smaller Sabrina Marquee where the sound level was fine. Many of the headline acts in the big stages were not what I would call "folk" but they were packed out so obviously were what many punters wanted. If the trend towards big pop names continues then I may stop going to Shrewsbury.

Earlier in the year I went to Stepping Stones and Chester Folk Festivals. These are on a much smaller scale but are both excellent. I'm thinking of trying Folk East next year as it appears to be similar.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2017, 05:16:30 PM »

Sounds good to me, but, are you allowed to say that the sound was too loud?   >:E


SJ
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BJG

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2017, 05:44:15 PM »

Best Fest?   FolkEast. No question.....A growing exercise in imaginative presentation. Gets better year on year.

I agree wholeheartedly ... The creativity and genuineness seems to ooze from every bit of this lovely festival ... and I enjoyed a lot of the programming too.

It was good fun. Will be back next year fo sho.
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aegelstane

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2017, 09:39:42 PM »

re the Shrewsbury "Big Marquee" No need to pay-I could here the racket in my garden around one mile away.Where do think that the organisers spend most of their c£90k Arts Council grant?                                                                                                                 
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2017, 09:58:38 PM »

Oooooooooooooooooh!
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Edward
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2017, 10:29:21 PM »

re the Shrewsbury "Big Marquee" No need to pay-I could here the racket in my garden around one mile away.Where do think that the organisers spend most of their c£90k Arts Council grant?                                                                                                               

HOW MUCH ????

That's obscene


SJ
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oggiesnr

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2017, 10:34:03 PM »

re the Shrewsbury "Big Marquee" No need to pay-I could here the racket in my garden around one mile away.Where do think that the organisers spend most of their c£90k Arts Council grant?                                                                                                               
HOW MUCH ????
That's obscene

Have you checked out festival headliner fees recently?  Also compare it to the grant that a local opera company will get, peanuts.
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Lester

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2017, 10:43:26 PM »

re the Shrewsbury "Big Marquee" No need to pay-I could here the racket in my garden around one mile away.Where do think that the organisers spend most of their c£90k Arts Council grant?                                                                                                               

Yep the makes the English National Opera's £12.4M pale into insignificance  ;)
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Julian S

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Re: Festival Feedback
« Reply #39 on: September 02, 2017, 06:56:22 AM »

re the Shrewsbury "Big Marquee" No need to pay-I could here the racket in my garden around one mile away.Where do think that the organisers spend most of their c£90k Arts Council grant?                                                                                                               

I'm pretty certain that the Arts Council grant was awarded for specific new projects - including the Shropshire Youth Folk Ensemble for example - and the pulling together of a Shropshire traditional tune collection. The funds being used for core site facilities would probably not be acceptable anyway Ok, sound pollution from any large open air venue can be an issue - and sound quality across the board has actually improved at the festival. Personally I too avoid the largest tent - simply because not many of the acts on there are my cup of tea. Each to his/her own of course -as has been said, the big acts are needed to bring in punters to make the whole event happen. Big Acts need big venues with the obvious downsides - Shrewsbury certainly does not have aany large inside concert venues with as much capacity.

Yep the makes the English National Opera's £12.4M pale into insignificance  ;)

Given the drastic reduction in Arts Funding across the board, personally I applaud any grant aid given to Folk and Traditional Arts. I know some think grant funding is a waste of tax payers money - not me, (even though I generally don't like opera - so far apart from The Transports I suppose !)

J
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