North Berwick's Fringe By The Sea festival is back with a splash this August
- Emma Simmonds
- 10 July 2021
Musical performances from Basement Jaxx, Peat & Diesel, Huey Morgan and Lulu are amongst the highlights
Boasting a fresh and fun-filled approach to its programming, North Berwick's Fringe By The Sea showcase is back with a splash following last year's enforced hiatus. Founded in 2008, this popular not-for-profit festival is all about community, inclusion and cohesion, things that now feel more important than ever.
Promising its most diverse, stimulating and crowd-pleasing event to date, alongside plenty of big names, Fringe By The Sea will take place from Friday 6 to Sunday 15 August. Eager to aid its community's recovery from the pandemic, this friendly festival will operate under the theme 'Open Arms, Open Minds, Open Spaces' as it safely welcomes new faces and old pals to its venues across North Berwick.
With live music desperately missed over the past year, the organisers are understandably putting it at the forefront of their line-up. The Belhaven Big Top will play host to Scottish pop legend Lulu, world famous dance duo Basement Jaxx and Stornoway trad sensations Peat & Diesel. Former Fun Lovin' Criminal turned DJ Huey Morgan will be joined by punk jazz collective Dat Brass, while soul star Mica Paris, Fairground Attraction's Eddi Reader and The Blues Band are amongst the many other highlights.
Conversations with presenter Gail Porter, wildlife filmmaker Gordon Buchanan, authors Denise Mina, Maggie O'Farrell and Irvine Welsh, and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable are sure to illuminate and provoke discussion. While comedy greats including Janey Godley, Ed Byrne and Reginald D Hunter will be on hand to provide some much-needed laughter.
For those looking to tap into the local music scene at a more intimate venue, The Lighthouse Live Stage at the North Berwick Trust Harbour Home will play host to both up-and-comers and local legends, with mouth-watering food and drink available from East Lothian's finest streetfood stalls, brewers and distillers. And if that's got you salivating then the newly relaunched Marine North Berwick will be the setting for masterclasses and interviews with mixologists, chefs and other masters of their crafts.
Other new additions for this year include The Mactaggart & Mickel Makers Market, where you can peruse products from wonderful local artisans and artists to your heart's content. With the excitement unfolding in an area of outstanding natural beauty, love and respect for the planet is integral to Fringe By The Sea, and environmental sustainability has been considered at every stage of planning. The new Envirozone will act as a dedicated space for conservation and science-themed programming, supported by SSE Renewables. Unmissable shows there include: a fun introduction to coding in Make Marty The Robot Move, What's The Weather with Judith Ralston from the BBC, and The Ugly Animal Roadshow. Events will culminate in a ten-metre-high puppet dubbed 'Storm' descending on the streets of North Berwick to tell the story of oceans in crisis.
The Glenkinchie Lowland Stage will be the setting for some of the aforementioned literary talks, as well as an interactive session for kids from the Beano's Mike Stirling and Craig Graham, who will teach them, and likeminded parents, how to develop their own Manual of Mischief. Testament to the huge variety of events being showcased at the festival, the stage will also host meditation and healing sessions and yoga classes. There really is something for everyone.
Other festival picks include the return of science's greatest and most volatile show Brainiac Live! which promises fun for all the family. The Little Nippers Kids Tent will feature daily activities and antics from Make Mess Matter, including slime and potion making sessions, while nature walks aim to encourage an appreciation of the stunning surroundings. And the festival's inaugural Art Club will be led by its first-ever Artist in Residence, Eilidh Muldoon.
With over 200 events to choose from and the organisers taking every precaution to ensure your safety and minimise the risk from Covid-19, Fringe By The Sea offers an exciting opportunity to come back together after a difficult year to share some experiences to remember.
Visit fringebythesea.com to browse the complete programme and buy tickets.