Dock Life - The Leith Festival
Summer Festivals Special
This article is from 2009.
Leith has blossomed beyond all recognition in recent years and the Leith Festival is just another example how. Miles Fielder has the lowdown
So what’s The Leith Festival, then?
It’s an annual community celebration that takes in comedy, dance, film, literature, music, storytelling theatre, visual art and children’s events – in other words everything.
A small affair, is it?
Hardly. Its roots go back over 100 years to the 1907 Leith Pageant – a parade held to raise funds for a new hospital in the area – which became a festival in the 1970s. Since the millennium it’s expanded rapidly and can now boast 150 events at 50 venues within a one-mile radius that has been regularly drawing audiences of over 30,000 for the past three years.
What’s going on this year?
Bruce Morton, described by this magazine as ‘the godfather of Scottish comedy’, stands up for one night only. The Caledonian Swing Cats teach you how to dance like they did in the 1940s with Swingin’ in the Docks. Strange Town Youth Theatre present 12 Stories featuring 33 characters in four days. Everything from homegrown Gothic thrillers to wacky European animation will be premiered at the Leith Short Film Festival. Rising star of Scottish crime fiction Karen Campbell talks about After the Fire, her new novel featuring Sgt Anna Cameron, a contender for Rebus’ crown. Pop combo Aberfeldy return to the place they originated from to play a gig in advance of the release of their third album.
Ocean Terminal gets a makeover as its transformed into a giant art gallery. And that’s a smattering of what’s on. There’s also a plethora of walks, talks, tours, workshops, food and arts and crafts stalls.
Phew! That’s all folks?
By no means. The week-long programme of events climaxes with the Gala Day and Parade at Leith Links, where live bands and radio broadcasts from Leith FM will provide a soundtrack to a summer afternoon of sunshine on Leith.
The Leith Festival, is at various venues, Leith, Sat 5–Sun 14 Jun.