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 from 6-15 August 2021, returns 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 now.

Gail Porter

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 schoolNeu! Reekie! (with Liz Lochhead) and the fabulous folk duo Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham.  

Gordon Buchanan PHOTO Graham McFarlane

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 YoungAlexander The Greatshowing 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.

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.

STORM Photo © Martin P McAdam

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

Ed Byrne

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