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Fringe By The Sea attracts big name authors for live arts festival

© SuppliedAuthor and presenter Gail Porter will be talking on the first day of the Fringe By The Sea arts festival.
Author and presenter Gail Porter will be talking on the first day of the Fringe By The Sea arts festival.

More big names have been announced for Scotland’s exciting Fringe By The Sea arts festival – including Irvine Welsh, Gail Porter and Paul Murton.

They will be part of an array of talent already heading to the live event – including Candi Staton, Basement Jaxx, Janey Godley, Peat & Diesel, The Blues Band and The Poozies – at North Berwick from August 6 to 15 this year.

Author and presenter Gail will be talking about her career and reflecting on how Covid-19 has affected her on the opening day of the coronavirus-secure festival, which is partnered by DC Thomson Media.

She said: “I am beyond excited to come to this year’s Fringe by the Sea Festival.  Having spent lockdown in my hometown of London throughout the pandemic, I am desperate to return to Scotland to see some friendly faces and green spaces.

“I look forward to sharing my personal story with people coming to this year’s event.  So many of us have struggled with our mental health during the pandemic, so it’s important to talk about it and support each other.  Then shake it off on the dance floor with the mighty Basement Jaxx later that night!”

Prospect of live event is joyful

Growing in popularity over the years, the festival has seen its literary events attract more and more attention and this year has secured high-profile author Irvine Welsh to talk about his life and work on August 14.

Irvine said: “The prospect of a live event with an audience is a joyful one, and North Berwick is a top draw as a location for it. There’s plenty to chat about and I’m looking forward to having some fun with the good people at Fringe by the Sea.”

Iconic Scottish writer Irvine Welsh will be talking about his life and career.

Meanwhile, fans of the popular BBC Grand Tours of Scotland series will have the chance to hear from presenter Paul Murton about his new book, The Highlands. It’s packed with history and anecdotes and is beautifully illustrated.

Also joining the literary strand will be writer and doctor Gavin Francis, a GP based in Edinburgh and working in Orkney. He’ll be talking about two of his books. Intensive Care: A GP, A Community & Covid-19, is a touching account of caring for a society in crisis as the effects of the pandemic bite deep in urban and rural communities.

In Island Dreams – Mapping An Obsession, Gavin examines our collective fascination with islands.

Tickets already selling fast

Acclaimed Scots author Helen McClory, one of the most innovative and talented new fiction voices of the decade, will be talking about her much-anticipated novel, Bitterhall. A Saltire Frist Book Of The Year award winner, she is a favourite of Ali Smith and Margaret Atwood.

Popular presenter Paul Murton will be a big draw for Fringe By The Sea.

Fringe By The Sea was cancelled last year, due to the pandemic, but organisers announced last month they were able to return with artists due to have taken part in 2020.

Tickets are already selling fast for award-winning Scots comic Janey Godley, American disco legend Candi Staton, electronica outfit Basement Jaxx, Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman Huey Morgan, Hebridean rockers Peat & Diesel and Scottish folk favourites The Poozies.

Festival director Rory Steel, said: “Having announced that we have laid plans to return this summer with some acts who were programmed last year we are really pleased to bring this group of writers and presenters to North Berwick.

Literary star Helen McClory will be discussing her latest work.

“We have been hugely encouraged by the support shown to us by our sponsors and grant funding bodies, with special thanks to Belhaven Brewery, DC Thomson, Event Scotland and North Berwick Trust for their significant commitments.”

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 500 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.

The Harbour Home of the festival will become a focal point for artists and showcase their products from delicious street food and quality ales to handcrafted goods and artistic creations, complementing the artist huts already found at the harbour. The area will also feature a stage for visitors to enjoy music from bands, choirs and DJs and an interactive area for youngsters.

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