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96


Robin Foale The new Chairman of the Dart Music Festival


What is your background? I was a club DJ for many years and was one of the founders of Bude Surf and Rock. Music has been a passion of mine for so many years. I worked for Barclays Bank and most recently Santander. I was the managing director for business banking nationally and I had a close affinity with lots of businesses up and down the country. A big part of the music festival is its link to the businesses in Dartmouth so my role as chairman has combined a lot of what I had done professionally with my personal passions.


What brought you to Dartmouth? My grandfather, Douglas, farmed here and my father, Graham, was a chartered accountant for Bishop Fleming in Dartmouth. I’ve been back for five or six years now and it’s wonderful to be here. I now live just a few miles from where my grandfather’s farm was. Dartmouth has been in our blood all of our lives and I feel so privileged to live here.


How did you become involved with the organisation of the music festival? I semi-retired about 18 months ago and I was thinking about what I wanted to do to link into music when I saw an advert in the Chronicle that Pam Braakenburg, who is my predecessor, put in to say she was


moving on after ten years and was looking for a new festival chair. I joined as the vice chair to see how I felt about it and took it on from there.


How much does it cost to stage the festival? It costs £70,000, every year.


How do you raise the money? We have lots of private and business sponsors and some charitable trusts who all donate because they like the educational element of the festival, the fact that it’s free and that is all about “Music for All”. We also run a couple of fundraisers every year and sell


“I think we have a winning formula”


merchandise, but the biggest fundraiser is the collection tins. We are so reliant on volunteers helping us to shake the tins around the town but more importantly the locals and visitors generously putting some money into the pot.


Are there any changes planned for this year’s festival? We are doing a new feature at the Anchorstone Cafe on Coronation Park, an acoustic café for some of the local artists we have supported through the festival’s foundation.


We are also doing something to complement the food festival’s mis- sion to remove plastics from their event. Devon Contract Waste will recycle the waste they collect from Royal Avenue Gardens and the Market Square so none of it goes into landfill. We are also working with the local pubs and venues to trial the use of 100 percent recy- clable plastic glasses on a deposit scheme.


Are there any other changes? We will have an online programme as well and we will also be testing a festival app. A local businessman is designing it for us and 100 people will use it to find out what they like, what they don’t like, what’s missing and whether it works.


What does your job as Chairman involve? All sorts! Firstly, assembling a com- mittee, a group of willing volunteers who bring a real variety of skills to the festival and motivation. I ensure everybody on the committee knows what each other is doing. There is a big team of 20 on the committee and a big part of it is leading and helping that team along the way. In my first year, I’ve also rolled my sleeves up because I don’t know what I don’t know, so I’ve mucked in on all of it. I’ve sat in on listening events of bands which was fantastic and reminds me why we do it!


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