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Future of folk festival looks secure

PUBLISHED: 10:44 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 13 July 2010

The future of Cromer's annual folk festival looks secure for the future - but would be even safer if one major sponsor was to come on board.

That was the message from Folk on the Pier director Scott Butler as the 10th anniversary event, this year spread across three and a half days, was wound up with final day gigs from the likes of Whapweasel and Little Johnny England.

The future of Cromer's annual folk festival looks secure for the future - but would be even safer if one major sponsor was to come on board.

That was the message from Folk on the Pier director Scott Butler as the 10th anniversary event, this year spread across three and a half days, was wound up with final day gigs from the likes of Whapweasel and Little Johnny England.

A combination of paid for gigs in the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer pier and 40 free fringe events around town had helped demonstrate the ever growing realisation among town businesses that the event provided an excellent early season tourist trade offering, said Mr Butler.

“The weather has been absolutely wonderful, we have been blessed - it is often quite the opposite at this time of year,” said Mr Butler.

“The way the main gigs sold out this year, quicker than ever, shows the trust in the programme which has built up among people who have come in the past.

“It has got to the stage now that people really don't want to miss Folk on the Pier, which is one of the earlier festivals in the folk calendar.”

The growth of the fringe events was particular pleasing, said Mr Butler: “At the first festival we started with two little workshops and no gigs. Since then it has grown and grown.

“I have to say how much I appreciate the pubs and clubs getting into it so much this year, they are all up for it. It is an important factor because the only way the festival can now be developed is by coming into town, as we are at full capacity in the Pavilion Theatre.

“Having said that, if it does get any bigger it will not be by much, as a lot of the crowd who come here want Folk on the Pier to stay small, they don't want it big and impersonal like some other festivals.”

The only development Mr Butler envisaged was a marquee to host dance events such as ceilidhs.

But such changes were always subject to finances, which had always been tight, said Mr Butler.

“Every year the money is hard, if someone in or around Cromer has £20,000 and doesn't know what to do with it, it would make such a huge difference.

“It would be money well spent, the people who come to Folk on the Pier have significant disposable income and are happy to go into town and spend good sums of money, on top of their accommodation and other necessities.”

* The festival has a history of supporting Cromer lifeboat and continued this year by launching a charity CD called Never Chance Your Luck Against the Sea. Mr Butler said it was “particularly poignant” that there was a lifeboat rescue launched on Saturday afternoon, which gave visitors an up front demonstration of how the crew were prepared to volunteer their time while the festival celebrations went ahead.

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