Mica Paris
Mica Paris

There’s something for everyone at Fringe By The Sea

This year everyone is going to love being by the seaside as Fringe By The Sea, Scotland’s freshest festival which is held in North Berwick (6-15 August 2021), returns.

It is back with live audiences, being entertained in Covid-secure environments.

The festival will be held throughout the town in several new venues such as the Belhaven Big Top, SSE Renewables Envirozone, Glenkinchie Lowland Stage and Marine North Berwick.

A map with all the festival venues has been designed by Artist in Residence Eilidh Muldoon.

After several months of planning FBTS now has a full programme of over 200 events including music, comedy, family shows, environmental issues, well-being and talks, tickets for which are available from 9am on Thursday 1 July 2021.

Amongst those already announced are Lulu, Basement Jaxx, Gail Porter, Irvine Welsh, Ed Byrne, Reginald D Hunter, Janey Godley, Lemn Sissay OBE (reading from his book ‘My Name Is Why’ which has just won The Indie Book Awards 2021 prize for non fiction), Eddi Reader and Vince Cable.

Added to the music events are Mica Paris with her first album, Gospel, for over a decade; teenage singing sensation Connor Fyfe, Edinburgh based swim school; Neu! Reekie! (with Liz Lochhead) and the folk duo Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham.

Mica Paris

As ever family events play a big part of Fringe By The Sea. This year sees the return of Brainiac Live!; special child friendly performances by comedians Phil Kay and Murray Lachlan Young; Alexander The Great showing off his circus skills and a return for festival favourite Mr Boom.

For those looking for new skills the hip-hop session with Room 2 Manoeuvre will be the place to learn street dancing or try hula hooping with Rowanbank. Environmental issues are addressed with fun (and free) sessions on the shore as well as What A Waste! presented by The Drama Mill, an interactive drama about ocean conservation for 5-9 year olds. The Search from Catherine Wheels Theatre Company based at Lochbridge Road should see local residents of all ages get involved over the next two months.

Ed Byrne

Laughter is always on the menu at Fringe By The Sea – one of the UK’s top comedy clubs, Just The Tonic, will present two mixed bill line-ups, one headlined by Ed Byrne and the other by Reginald D Hunter. The ever-popular Simon Evans will be bringing his latest show to North Berwick.

Proving that chat is not always idle are Jennifer Crichton (editor of The Flock) and Brian Taylor (former political editor of BBC Scotland) – the former will be talking to Sam Baker and Gail Porter in two separate session and Taylor’s Lunchtime Banter will see him meeting up with Denise Mina, Vince Cable, Richard Demarco and Jim Sillars. Other talks include Maggie O’Farrell, Richard Holloway and Great British Bake Off winner Peter Sawkins.

On 15 August North Berwick will welcome Storm, a ten metre tall mythical goddess of the sea created from recycled materials, will celebrate our coasts and waters and the need to protect them. People who wish to see STORM on 15th August should pre-register their interest on the event listing at www.fringebythesea.com

Fringe By The Sea also welcomes TooFar Media as an affiliate partner. TooFar Media publishes award-winning, provocative stories for the eyes, ears, and imagination by author Rich Shapero.

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham

Fringe By The Sea director, Rory Steel, says ‘Putting together this programme has been invigorating, so many performers are keen to get back out in front of audiences and people are excited to see live shows. From a strong music line-up to a host of family-friendly shows, we’ve got a programme which offers something for all ages and tastes.

‘We’re working closely with East Lothian Council and our partners to safely and carefully plan our events in-line with Covid regulations, and we’re looking forward to delivering a fantastic ten days in North Berwick this August.’

One of Scotland’s most loved arts festivals East Lothian’s Fringe by the Sea announced preliminary plans in February for its return this summer with support from master partners North Berwick Trust, Belhaven Brewery and DC Thomson Media.

Further support comes from community partners SSE Renewables, The Lighthouse North Berwick, Mactaggart & Mickel and Marine North Berwick.

Further funding and services from Event Scotland, East Lothian Council and other partners including Scottish Seabird Centre, Shaw Marketing, Signman, Scotland Loves Local, The List, East Lothian Courier, Gilsland Park, Citizen Tickets and McInroy & Wood have also been critical to the festival’s return.

Richard Holloway

A number of local groups are involved in making the festival happen including North Berwick in Bloom, North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership, East Lothian Library Services, North Berwick Harbour Trust, Stepping Out charity and East Lothian Arts Service.

As in previous years, ScotRail will be running a late night train from North Berwick to Edinburgh – exact times will be on their website and timetables.

One of the main changes visitors to Fringe by the Sea will notice is the use of new spaces across the town, with outdoor (mostly covered, sideless marquees and stretch tents) auditoriums enabling social distancing for audiences of up to 1000 people – the current guidelines being given by the Scottish Government for event planners. All events will be run in line with Covid-19 protocols and guidance, and ticket holders will receive detailed information about what to expect before they attend events.

For further information visit www.fringebythesea.com