Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, producers of Sidmouth’s first festival of the year, with a strong focus on community and the environment – was blessed with sunshine and a fantastic turnout to our Friday Night Fundraiser on 19th May followed by our Free Family Sea Fest Event on Saturday 20th May on the Ham.

The festival’s 2023 theme provided inspiration for community groups, artists and musicians and featured a special Sea Thrift planted Star Fish inspiration planted up by Sidmouth In Bloom – the starfish created a focal point and has now been transported to the Triangle for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Sidmouth Sea Fest 2023 – Driftwood & Thrift – Community Festival

Organisers Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub have been inundated by thanks and messages of appreciation for a highly collaborative and successful event including this one from the Sidmouth Science Festival Mobile team: “Please pass on our thanks and congratulations for a fantastic Sea festival. A great success - well done!!! So good to see a community come together in such diverse surroundings. Very inspirational.”

The variety of live music included The Naughty Steps – a young trio from Sidmouth Zac Robinson, Pascal Bisson and Fin Swann as well as up and coming Ottery band who have recently secured a UK tour The Kabins.  Other local bands the McSmiths, the Adders, the Jurrasix and Kula played to big crowds in the main marquee and the Sea Side stage.

The Sea Fest Crew built a new installation for the festival.  The Clamship is an innovative interpretation of the bi-valve mollusc. This multi-use kinetic sculpture has been made entirely from found materials and up-cycled into a multi-sensory event and arts space. By harnessing all disciplines of the arts the Clamship creatively engaged the public on some of the issues facing our marine ecosystems today. The installation doubles as a DJ booth, lighting up at night, it hosted a variety of DJs including Matilda Griefenberg.

Performances by Bicycle Ballet, Street Heat samba band entertained the crowds along the Esplanade with the ever-popular Sea Fest community choir led by Tess Bisson, singing with Sidmouth Primary School.

Sidmouth Sea Fest 2023 – Driftwood & Thrift – Community Festival

Organisers Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub Director Louise Cole said “We are delighted that so many local groups were represented and so many enjoyed the day.  Sea Fest is a free non-commercial event for and by the community.  It was fantastically well supported, with the money raised paying for the event along with the help of all our sponsors and grant funders and providing a seed fund for next years’ event.  We run on volunteer power paying only for production suppliers, so we are reliant on people coming along to support whether as contributors, buying a drink or a t-shirt or a raffle ticket – it is effectively crowd funded in this way and supports our ethos to provide a free community celebration accessible and inclusive of all.”

Artistic Director Coco Hodgkinson added “This year we produced a boutique range of tees all carefully curated and sourced from charity shops with this years vibrant abstract artwork by Tara Greifenberg. They are still available to buy for anyone who missed out and would like to continue to support Sea Fest.” Contact

Sidmouth Sea Fest 2023 – Driftwood & Thrift – Community Festival

The zeitgeist theme for Sea Fest  Driftwood & Thrift, creatively brought focus on re- using and recycling, making and creating - to act responsibly to sustain our seas and use resources carefully.  Driftwood is often a useful home for marine biodiversity and thrift is about reducing waste, managing well in difficult economic times as well as being a coastal plant!  

Local food was enjoyed from Sidmouth Trawlers, Pura Vida, Café Dish, Pizza Butlers, the Off Road Café and West Country Dim Sum and The Prawn Cocktail Bar on the Ham. 

The line-up was amazing featuring comedian Fitz of Giggles, guest DJs and live music from Samantics, The Hawkmen and beat-box trio Bloxed Beats, Revelation Roots and Razzomo.

Sidmouth Sea Fest 2023 – Driftwood & Thrift – Community Festival

SCCH are very grateful to have the support of Sidmouth Town Council/Visit Sidmouth, and a host of other local sponsors. 

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All photos from Charlie Fawell.