Ian Rankin, Larkin Poe and The Boy with Tape on his Face among highlights at Fringe by the Sea 2013

Ian Rankin, Larkin Poe and The Boy with Tape on his Face among highlights at Fringe by the Sea 2013

The Blues Band

North Berwick's Fringe by the Sea returns once again from Mon 5–Sun 11 Aug to provide a festival experience away from Edinburgh's hectic hustle and bustle. With a week's worth of music, comedy, kids, books, food and historical events to choose from – not to mention a strong natural theme to link in with 2013 as the Year of Natural Scotland – it's all the fun of the Fringe, without the stress.

The music strand is, as always, a strong draw. Two Spiegeltents are being erected to host a range of great musical performers this year, including Dougie MacLean, 2012 favourites The Blues Band, comedic folkies The New Rope String Band, trad stars Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, ska merchants Bombskare, American rock'n'bluegrass outfit Larkin Poe, Balkan upstarts Orkestra del Sol and more.

Comedy-wise, Fringe by the Sea attendees can look forward to seeing The Boy with Tape on his Face, Lucy Porter and Jenny Eclair, Elaine C Smith, Jarleth Regan, Gordon Southern and Mel Buttle. For book-lovers, events with Ian Rankin, Maggie O’Farrell, Liz Lochead, Christopher Brookmyre, Ray Perman and Alistair Moffat should prove a treat, while foodies can enjoy demos and tasters from the likes of haggis heiress Jo Macsween, Fife food ambassador Chris Trotter and Cafe St Honore's Neil Forbes. Finally, a full children’s line up of entertainment includes Mr Boom, Jo Jingles, Book Bugs and Little Voices Big Stars.

There is a whole section of the programme concentrating on wildlife and nature. There will be walks, talks (including one from internationally renowned photographer/author Doug Allan), beach antics and sea frolicking, including an open air visit by Orkestra del Sol prior to their Spiegel-gig. East Lothian’s Ranger Service are leading some natural history walks – including up Berwick Law and along to Yellowcraig, as well as two sessions on the Giants in the Forest Project – to augment Dave Berry’s legendary town history strolls. Always keen to offer ‘firsts’ in their programme, the organisers are also introducing ‘Performance Archeology’ – claiming it as unique at any festival in the UK. Those interested can get involved in a dig to see if an ancient village was ever actually on the area at the base of Castle Mound, try their hand at pole and kite camera exploration, learn how resistivity helps the archaeological detective work, and take part in topographic surveys.

Among the assorted highlights around town are a Beach Day on Wed 7 Aug (featuring donkey rides, a sandcastle competition, a historical game of rounders and surfing taster sessions) and a very special Paddy’s Night Two with Tim O’Leary and his band Islander – because who says there can only be one St Patrick’s Day?

Visitors from Edinburgh needn't worry about getting back to the city either, as both Scotrail and First Bus are putting on special late services for the duration of the fest.

So come on down and experience Fringe by the Sea! Tickets will be on sale via the website www.fringebythesea.com and in North Berwick itself from the festival's very own roving beach hut.

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.

Various venues: North Berwick

Fri 7 Aug

Times & prices vary / 07490 164 824

Sat 8 Aug

Times & prices vary / 07490 164 824

Sun 9 Aug

Times & prices vary / 07490 164 824

…and 7 more dates until 16 Aug

Ian Rankin

Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin OBE is best known as the creator of John Rebus, an Edinburgh-based detective who has been fighting crime his own way since 1987, with a bit of help from Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox. Rankin is other the author of a play, a graphic novel and numerous short stories. He's won the…

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