About Sidmouth Fringe Sessions
How did it start?
Sidmouth Fringe started out with just a few informal performances and open mic sessions during Sidmouth Folk week at the Thorn Park 'alternative' festival campsite. The evening-only performances were set up by local farmer 'McBuzz' as evening entertainment for the festival campers after it was suggested that his traditional oak-framed barn would make a great venue for live music!
Although the event is still small it has gained popularity in recent years with both artist's and audiences who enjoy the friendly laid-back atmosphere, rural setting and growing reputation for high calibre live music. The impressive line ups, including plenty of new local talent, caught the eye of BBC Introducing and since 2014 we had close ties with the team including live artist interviews and broadcasts with the event co-hosted by the BBC Introducing (Devon & Cornwall) presenters.
Where is it?
It is held at the Thorn Park Golf Centre, Salcombe Regis, near Sidmouth on the East Devon coast - some 30 acres of parkland surrounded by beautiful countryside within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Beauty - and centres around McBuzz's oak-framed barn with performance stage at one end of the large bar which leads out to a veranda and adjacent chill-out marquee. Click here for directions to Thorn Park.
What else is on offer?
To Drink: There is a fully licensed bar including excellent locally-brewed beers and cider- all served with a smile.
To Eat: Delicious hot food stalls with vege and vegan options are available during the evening.
To Chill: There is a covered veranda with some tables and chairs and large marquee adjacent to the barn with casual seating - great for chilling and enjoying a drink.
The Big Screen: As the Sessions have become more popular it can get quite cosy inside the barn so we now have a live multi-camera feed of the stage action to our big screen on the outside of the barn. So if you fancy a sit down - you can grab a beer and a curry or pizza and watch all the stage action from the adajcent marquee!
Can I camp?
Yes! Right next door are 22 acres of parkland on what is a golf course for 50 weeks a year! Click here for more details on camping...
What is the admission fee/ tickets?
Despite hosting some of the best artists in the country, admission is just £3.00 (Under 5s free) This modest entry fee is only possible because:
1.) The small group of enthusiastic locals who organise the event put in their time for free because they really enjoy 'a music celebration' on their doorstep and have been privileged to host some very talented musicians over the years.
2.) The artists also make it possible by generously agreeing to play for minimised rate/donations or expenses only.
It is hoped that the staging costs are covered by the admission fee and bar sales with any profits being put back into helping with artist’s expenses and improving the following year’s event.
If you're enjoying yourself and want to show your appreciation there are donation buckets available which are shared amongst the artists.
There is a regular independent shuttle bus that runs up and down the hill to Sidmouth all day until late night with a bus stop right outside Thorn Park. So you can leave your car at Thorn Park, spend the day in the town at the Sidmouth Folk Festival and get the bus back for the Fringe Sessions!
The main Sidmouth Folk Festival
The Sidmouth Fringe coincides with the famous Sidmouth Folk Festival week established over 60 years ago. However the Fringe Sessions are completely independent and aim to complement the traditional folk music and dance performances held down in the town all week. Check out what's happening at the main festival website here...
Supported by BBC Introducing (Devon & Cornwall)
“It’s THE festival I go to to find my new favourite band or artist”
James Santer - Presenter/Producer
BBC Introducing in Devon, October 2015