NORTH Berwick’s annual arts festival returns this summer with another host of world-famous names and faces – and plenty of local talent too.

This year, Fringe by the Sea – which runs from next Friday (August 5) to August 14 in North Berwick, will see Texas, Happy Mondays, Clive Anderson, Alexander McCall Smith and many others appear on stage.

Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will also navigate his way to the town to entertain local crowds.

Dunbar band Yoko Pwno, who appeared at Doune The Rabbit Hole festival earlier this month, will be performing, followed by a set from North Berwick’s DJ Refracta.

East Lothian Courier: Dunbar band Yoko Pwno will entertain music fans at this year’s Fringe by the Sea

Dunbar band Yoko Pwno will entertain music fans at this year’s Fringe by the Sea

Bugsy Malone, the fun-filled musical featuring gangsters, molls, speakeasies and cream pies, will be performed by the primary school children of East Lothian’s Drama Mill.

North Berwick-based writer Neil Francis also returns to the festival with his fifth book.

He will be talking about how to unlock creative potential and live creative life to its fullest.

The Gospel Choir North Berwick will perform a mixture of pop, soul and Gospel on the Belhaven Big Top stage.

The Boozy Book Club will also be back, with cocktails created by experts from the Marine North Berwick and in conversation with author Alastair McKay, whose book, Alternatives to Valium, charts his life from his childhood in North Berwick to finding his voice through punk music.

East Lothian Courier: Alastair McKay will appear at the festival. Image: Calum Colvin

Alastair McKay will appear at the festival. Image: Calum Colvin

Former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Ruth Davidson, who lives locally, returns in conversation with BBC Scotland’s political correspondent Glenn Campbell.

When Ms Davidson appeared at Fringe by the Sea in 2018, she faced a packed spiegeltent, and her comments about Boris Johnson were picked up by media throughout the UK.

Explorer Mollie Hughes, who lives in North Berwick and has previously skied solo to the South Pole, will talk about her book Blue Scotland: The Complete Guide to Exploring Scotland’s Wild Waters, offering tips and insights to enthusiasts of all levels of experience.

East Lothian Courier:

Explorer Mollie Hughes will be appearing at Fringe by the Sea this year. Mollie’s training regime for expeditions includes her pulling car tyres on the beach at Seacliff. Image: Mike Wilkinson

For those who want to explore North Berwick, former local councillor Dave Berry will take visitors to Walk The Toun; EZ Riders e-bike tours will take cyclists to Yellowcraig; and North Berwick in Bloom will lead a coastal walk through the flowers of the sand dunes.

In the town’s Lodge Grounds, visitors can work out with Zumba dance classes, various types of yoga, and Barre, a ballet-based routine.

Children will be entertained by Gifford-based Major Minor Music Club, who will bring musicians Nicky Lipp and Malka; while North Berwick’s Rock & Bird art shop will be on site with festival mask and kite making.

The county’s food and produce will be on display and East Lothian Food & Drink will be on site the second weekend of the festival.

David Jamieson, Scotland Food & Drink’s East Lothian food tourism ambassador, will be holding masterclasses in conjunction with Belhaven Brewery; and Supperclub NB will provide Middle Eastern meals each night.

East Lothian-based food stylist, photographer and caterer Amanda Farnese Heath will launch We Got Nuts, an immersive film experience which will show a screening of Chocolat, accompanied by a box of handmade chocolates.

Jackie Shuttleworth, Fringe by the Sea programmer, said: “There is so much to celebrate in terms of local talent and that’s the beauty of a community-focused festival.

“It is about enjoying the big names alongside the best of East Lothian.”

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