From the moment the programme was announced and tickets went on sale, it immediately proved to be a record-breaking 4th Fringe by the Sea. More days (7), more events (over 70), more venues and even more community participation!
All the events take place in North Berwick and many trains stop there. The last train back to Edinburgh is at 11.55p.m. each evening.
Ticket sales got off to a fantastic start- with over 3,000 tickets sold in the first week alone. Predictably, the ‘big name’ concerts in the Belhaven Spiegeltent have been the hottest tickets – especially Phil Cunningham & Aly Bain, Eddi Reader, Capercaillie and Fat Sam’s, but others are also selling really well, especially the pairing of Lau with the sensation that is going to be Rachel Sermanni, the fabulous Blues Band – the best in the UK! – and the ‘Saturday Night Sensation’ of Seaside Skiffle, The Toy Hearts, and 60’s rock’n’rollers The New Piccadillys.
There are four very different types of musical treat in the Morton Fraser Cabaret Cafe that are all well worth investigating, – Swing 2011 on Wednesday is a must for all devotees of Django Reinhardt; Jake Cogan on Thursday numbers Dick Gaughan as one of her fans ‘with her direct connection between soul and voice’, on Friday Christine Bovell sings a musical homage to Edith Piaf, while on Saturday the Jani Lang Band bring some frenetic and fiery music and dance from Hungary, Transylvania and Romania!
It is a similarly eclectic offering at St Andrew Blackadder – only FBTS would mix The Alleycats a cappella with FC Ukulele, throw in Walton’s Facade performed by The Auricle Ensemble, ex-Marillion frontman Fish breaking his tour schedule to be there, have Camerata Ritmata mixing world, classical and jazz sounds, along with their very own Opera East Lothian – and The Poozies doing what they do best – being simply wonderful entertainment!
All the authors visiting this year should be known to most – Gervase Phinn’s reputation as a brilliantly funny raconteur precedes him, Christopher Brookmyre makes one of his all too rare appearances, and Maggie O’Farrell – one of Britain’s brightest writing stars – will be a huge draw. Look in the programme for all the other authors – for grown-ups, teens and younger – featured during the week. And the films – from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ to Mark Cousins in person with his enthralling ‘The First Movie’ are guaranteed to delight.
In the theatre offerings, these range from The Garden, ‘a tense new drama’ in the open air of The Lodge Gardens, to The Life and Times of Mae West “Come up and see it sometime!”, plus Dave Berry doing what he does best – talking! On both the Battle of May Island and Walking the Toun!
There are three evenings of Stand Up comedy at The Masonic Hall, Open Mic sessions at lunchtime in the Belhaven Spiegeltent, Jazz Dinners at The Glen Golf Club and ‘Cool Down’ sessions most evenings for reflecting on the day’s events over a pint of Best – punctuated with another reunion concert by the one and only Cafe Jacques.
Children’s activities start late morning and go on through the afternoon, with dance, story-telling and music all featuring strongly, and to involve every possible individual, family and community group, we are having a Songs of Praise event on the final Sunday – at 4 o’clock, when the Glasgow Gospel Choir will lead us in a celebration of the week’s camaraderie.
Finally, make a diary note of the Lyon & Turnbull Valuation Day on Wednesday 10th – look out those antiques from the loft and find out if you really have cash in the attic! From 11.00am until 3.00pm, experts will be on hand in St Andrew Blackadder Church Hall to value your heirlooms!
With a bit of luck you could own something that would just about cover the price of tickets for all the other events during the week!
For full details of all the shows and how to get tickets check out the website