Several artists booked to appear at this year’s Sidmouth Festival won prestigious BBC Folk Awards this week, including Scottish traditional musicians Lau, who were voted Best Group, and Jackie Oates from Exeter who not only won Best Traditional Song for The Lark in the Morning from her album The Violet Hour, but was also presented with the Horizon Award for best newcomer. Best Original Song went to Jim Moray for his recording of Andy Partridge of XTC’s All You Pretty Girls, while high-energy music and dance group The Demon Barbers won Best Live Act.
Jim Moray and Lau will be headlining concerts at the Ham Marquee and Jackie Oates will also be appearing in a folk musical called The Navvy’s Wife, written by Dorset singer Mick Ryan. The Demon Barbers will be teaching morris, rapper and clog dancing at workshops for children during the Festival, ready for a spectacular mass performance on the Ham stage at the end of the week.
Other acts booked for the Festival include The Spooky Men’s Chorale from Australia, Italian accordion ace Riccardo Tesi, charismatic Indian drummers The Dhol Foundation, Scottish folk rockers the Peatbog Faeries, The London Bulgarian Choir, French Canadians Genticorum and many more.
Season tickets for the Festival have now been on sale for a month and the organisers are delighted to report that online sales are well up on the same period last year. The first ticket was bought only three minutes after they went on sale on January 1st, by a regular Festival visitor from Boston, Massachusetts, and last week a couple from Australia bought tickets. The Festival’s website, www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk received over 4,000 individual hits last week, with most visitors checking out the latest exciting additions to the guest list and early details of the programme.
Meanwhile, the Hospitality Association reports that hotel and self-catering accommodation bookings for the first week in August are already very strong with many either full or approaching capacity. So, although it's still early days, the indications are that Sidmouth FolkWeek will be as successful as ever in attracting visitors to Sidmouth from around the world.
“I’m delighted that ticket sales are going so well,” said Joan Crump, the Festival’s Artistic Director. “It was great to see so many of our 2009 artists picking up trophies at the BBC Folk Awards on Monday night – I think it really reinforces the quality of the programme we’ve put together, and there are lots more surprises still to be confirmed.”
This year’s Sidmouth FolkWeek runs from 31 July - 7 August.