Unique rewards and treats to boost Sidmouth Folk Festival funds will help safeguard the Covid-cancelled event for 2021

Leading the 2021 torchlight procession and having an original song penned for you are some of the rewards on offer to boost Sidmouth Folk Festival funds thanks to a campaign beginning on June 30.

From tomorrow, Tuesday, Sidmouth Folk Festival fans disappointed by this year’s Covid-cancelled event can scoop ‘exclusive treats’ by donating to safeguard the 2021 celebrations.

When the coronavirus crisis prompted organisers to cancel the festival for the first time in its 65-year history, they came up with fresh fundraising ways to champion the event’s long-term future.

A Crowdfunder campaign launches tomorrow, June 30, where donations can be turned into unique rewards thanks to pledges made by festival acts.

Donors will be recognised with their names going up on a champions’ wall in the town.

Make your own bottle of gin, become the caller in a major dance event, lead the Sidmouth Folk Festival torchlight procession, have band Blowzabella write a tune especially for you, have a unique Morris Morph creation made by Sidmouth fan Peter Lord of Aardman Animations – who made Wallace and Gromit – and enjoy a two-night bed and breakfast stay in a sea view room at Hotel Elizabeth are some of the unique rewards available in return for donations.

In addition, a virtual festival will run on August 1 and 2, to coincide with the week when Sidmouth would usually host folk fun and 750 individual shows, ceilidhs and classes for all ages.

Festival patron Steve Knightley, of Show of Hands, urged folk fans to support the crowdfund campaign, and next year’s event, with a donation.

Steve, 66, said: “Sidmouth Folk Festival is part of the landscape. If it was not there it would leave a huge hole.

“I’ve been going since I was fourteen and it is absolutely unique – the Edinburgh Festival of the folk scene.

“It takes a year to plan and a lot of the costs are incurred before anyone turns up for the festival.

“It just about breaks even every year, but it transforms the economy and puts East Devon on the map.”

John Braithwaite, festival director, said: “All funds pledged will go into supporting and securing the future of the Sidmouth Folk Festival, assisting with the festival’s operational costs, covering some of the 2020 costs incurred and helping to secure a brighter future for the event.

“We want to guarantee that the return of the Sidmouth Folk Festival will be a genuine cause for celebration in 2021, and back to its full glory forever after.”

For more information on the Crowdfunder campaign, how to donate, and the rewards on offer, see here.

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