No Sidmouth Folk Festival, but possible ‘fringe events’ prompt parking plea

A potential influx of visitors for unofficial ‘fringe events’ – despite this year’s Sidmouth Folk Festival being cancelled – has seen highways chiefs issue a parking plea for the town.

The seaside resort’s streets and venues will be lacking the annual event’s colourful scenes and music the for the first time in 65 years come July 31 – August 7.

Organisers had to pull the plug because of the coronavirus pandemic and an online version of the tradition will take place instead.

The lack of a physical festival means the usual temporary traffic restrictions on the town’s roads will not be in place.

Councillor Stuart Hughes says ‘a limited number of fringe events’ may still take place – with any visitors urged to park responsibly.

Sidmouth representative Cllr Hughes, who is Devon County Council (DCC) cabinet member for highway management, added: “Because this year’s Sidmouth Folk Festival isn’t going ahead, the usual facilities aren’t being laid on by the organisers, such as transport from campsites to the town.

“Some of the local campsites and overflow car parking areas also won’t be opening up.

“Without the official event taking place, the normal temporary traffic management arrangements won’t be in place, but there’s no telling how many people could turn up for any unofficial fringe performances that may occur on The Esplanade or in local pubs.

“Of course we want visitors to the town, but we also need them to ensure they park responsibly and don’t cause unnecessary obstructions which could prevent access of emergency services and other vehicles.

“Civil enforcement officers will be patrolling in the town and surrounding areas to ensure existing parking restrictions are observed.

“Some areas in the town and local venues may attract visitors who are strongly advised to act responsibly and follow government guidelines on social distancing and the use of face coverings.”

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