This is the tenth anniversary of Fringe by the Sea, a glint in the eye of the three organisers in 2008! The festival has grown from a dozen events over four days to a full-blown extravaganza of more than 60 performances over the entire week. The aim from day one was to be the best regional multi-arts festival in Scotland, and with its burgeoning reputation it is well on its way to achieving that ambition. 

With a varied programme of music, drama, comedy and film, the two Spiegeltents that are hired for the week help create a magical atmosphere that inspires performers as well as audiences. Almost half of those coming to the events are local and there is a very strong community bias, but importantly for the economy of East Lothian, the festival attracts visitors from all over Scotland, the UK and overseas. 

Opening the festival, in the 600 seat Spiegeltent is the fabulous KT Tunstall, a real coup for the organisers.

Other delights throughout the week include the best part-time band in the UK, Bombskare and the sure to ‘Make Me Smile’ star, that is Steve Harley with Cockney Rebel! Jazz enthusiasts will welcome The Big Chris Barber Band. Eric Bibb, the American blues guitarist returns this year after he blew the socks off his audience when he last performed at the festival. Elaine C Smith, also makes a welcome return with great chat, anecdotes and, no doubt, some songs! Finishing off on Sunday evening is the traditional Tribute Night (Dirty Harry and The Springsteen Sessions).

Other venues include Abbey Church, Masonic Hall and North Berwick Fry – allowing lots of other gems to be featured. Amongst these great offerings are The Honeycutters, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock, QuattroJazz, The Police Choir and Philip Contini’s Be Happy Band.
As is now customary, two nights have been put aside for Comedy Evenings and some big names are promised. A series of International Films will be shown through the week with a pre-general release viewing of ‘Tommy’s Honour’ (the story of Young Tom Morris).

Rumour has it that Tim Vine will be hosting a BBC half-hour chat show at some point during the week and the event’s organisers hope he can be tempted to do a little stand-up while he is in town!

NB Drama Circle provide the theatre this year and plans are in the pipeline for a couple of magic shows. There, of course, will be a series of ‘in-conversations’ with a number of authors.

And, with a full childrens’ programme, from Mr Boom to the East Bay donkeys, Fringe by the Sea 2017 is a must-visit festival for all the family and all generations!


KT Tunstall




7-13 August | for further information visit