Summer Festivals 2012: Community

Summer Festivals 2012: Community

West End Festival

Solas, Leith and West End Fests among the best community-focused fests around Scotland this summer

West End Festival

Where: Various venues, West End of Glasgow, 1–24 Jun, westendfestival.co.uk
Price: Free–£20 for bigger gigs
Line-up: James Yorkston, Howard Marks, Suzanne Vega, Michael Marra, We Were Promised Jetpacks
You want to learn Gaelic in an hour, get your Shakespeare fi x amid an audience of rare tropical flora, shop for darling vintage blouses, observe the transit of Venus, and round it all off with a gig? Well, have we got the festival for you. The WEF, now in its 17th year, is so enormous it encompasses several smaller fests, including nightly cutting-edge contemporary sounds at the Cottier Chamber Project, weekly beer ‘n’ jazz at the Three Judges Ale Festival, quirky charms down the Hidden Lane Festival and multi-cultural vibes at the Glasgow Mela. And then there’s the kids’ events, theatre, comedy, walks, talks, etc, etc … (Laura Ennor)

Leith Festival

Where: Various venues in Edinburgh, 8–17 June, leithfestival.com
Price: Free–£16.
Line-up: Leith Festival Tattoo, plays by Leitheatre and Citadel Arts Group, breakdancing classes for kids, whisky tasting
What can’t you do at the Leith Festival? Whisky tasting, belly dancing, pot pourri making: all covered. What about the Johnny Cash impersonator? He’s in there too, madam. And as if that wasn’t enough there’s also the Edinburgh Short Film Festival taking place at The Granary on The Shore on 9, 12 and 17 June from 7.30pm. This is a community festival in its truest spirit, with Leithers throwing together all sorts of bizarre and entertaining odds and sods. The highlight is, of course, the Gala day and Leith Walk Pageant (Pilrig’s answer to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras) on 9 June, but also look out for comedian Susan Morrison’s More Whores with More Sores night-time walking tour, an ‘antique guide to the prostitutes of Edinburgh’ (not a ‘hands-on’ experience). (Jonny Ensall)

Solas Festival

Where: Wiston Lodge, Wiston (by Biggar) 22–24 Jun, solasfestival.co.uk
Price: £10–£90.
Line-up: Raghu Dixit, Stewart Henderson, Marie Louise Cochrane, John Bell
This smart (and relatively undiscovered) family festival has some quality homegrown folk acts like Admiral Fallow and Roddy Woomble. Activites are centred on the themes of arts, justice and faith, and include storytelling, drawing games and outdoor play for the kids, cultural debates for the adults and some comic poetry from Harry Baker to break it all up. (Andrew Latimer)

Fringe by the Sea

Where: Various venues, North Berwick, East Lothian, 6–12 Aug, fringebythesea.co.uk
Price: £3–£25 per event
Line-up: Kate Rusby, Phil Cunningham & Aly Bain, Emily Smith
Imagine the Fringe, but with fewer flyers, crowds and student improv troupes, and more ice cream, fish suppers and sea air. The picturesque village of North Berwick hit on a winner five years ago with the first edition of this chilled but charming alternative to the cultural tornado blowing itself silly a few miles to the west. Six venues, including a purpose-built Spiegeltent on the harbour front, now host around 70 events over the week. The focus is on music (mainly the cooler, contemporary side of folk, with a sprinkling of jazz and world music for good measure), but there’s also theatre, dance, comedy, author talks and plenty to keep kids occupied. (Laura Ennor)

Fringe by the Sea

With a spot of sea air and an entertaining line-up of music, comedy, theatre, film, author and children’s events, North Berwick's multi-arts festival offers a respite from the madness of Edinburgh in festival season.

Leith Festival

The vibrant community of Leith shows off its festival skills with a fun-packed programme of events including exhibitions, concerts, walks, talks and films. Festival Gala Day, Sat 10 Jun, and Leith Festival Tattoo, Sun 18 Jun.

West End Festival

Taking over the West End of Glasgow each year, the festival treats the ears to a great musical line-up, tantalises all the senses with a carnival and delves into the creative depths of local studios and exhibitions with the Hidden Lane open days.

Solas Festival

An age-free arts festival with music, literature and spoken word, visual art and crafts, film and theatre as well as a programme of talks and debates. Featuring Raghu Dixit, Elisabeth Flett, The Vaselines, Alasdair Roberts, Nic Gareiss, Penny Stone, Liz Lochhead, Padraig O Tuama, Iain Macwhirter, Gerry Hassan, Jeane…

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