Everything you ever wanted to know

Posted by in May's Magazine

Every year, the Leith Festival grows and grows. By the Leithers and of the Leithers, this annual ten day event gives us the chance to celebrate and others the opportunity to discover some of the things that make those folk at the Foot of the Walk tick.

Run by a small handful of staff and a collection of willing and able volunteers, the 2011 programme is no mean feat. Taking place from 10-19 June, this year’s festival places a strong emphasis on showcasing the projects and activities taking place in our community all year round, as well as celebrating the colourful history and artistic endeavours of Leith’s residents.



The programme also features a prominent youth strand, giving young people the chance to try out everything from football and boxing to street dance, music and knitting, meet new people and show off their talents. And the even younger have not been forgotten either, with Primary School children exhibiting their artwork and entries into the festival poster competition at Ocean Terminal and Leith Library respectively until 25 June.

And it’s not just events and exhibitions, there will also be plenty of chances to relax and soak up the unique sights, sounds and smells of Leith. You can download a full programme at www.leithfestival.com, or if you trust us, just use our recommendations below.

Gala Day
Featuring a selection of stalls, activities and preview performances, Gala Day is the perfect start to this year’s festival. Also featuring the famous Leith Festival Pageant and the 10th anniversary of the Leith Pub Teams Tug o’ War.

11 June, 11am-4pm, Leith Links

Pageant from 12-1.30pm, Lochend Park to the Links

Tug o’ War on the Links, 3-4pm

Leith Festival Tattoo
A rousing finish to the year’s shenanigans set to the sounds of pipes, drums and brass.

19 June, 7.15-9pm, outside Malmaison

Cool Wool Guerrilla Knitting Project
Back in January, Festival Manager Adele Conn put out a call to arms for knitters, requesting 6 x 6 inch squares that would eventually become jumpers for trees on Leith Links. Squares have flooded in not only from Leith and the surrounds but also as far afield as Shetland and New York. The woolly trees will be unveiled at 12pm on 10 June.

Leith Festival Music Sessions
Taking place at a selection of venues, these gigs give you the chance to watch some up-and-coming and established local talent for only a fiver.

Acts include Radio Forth One to Watch award winner and hotly tipped singer/songwriter Callum Beattie. He supported X-Factor contestant Aiden Grimshaw on tour earlier this year, a dubious accolade perhaps, but on the plus side, Dizzy Rascal has described one of his tracks as ‘an anthem’. And he would know.

Emelle, Kat Healy, Callum Beattie and Chris Bradley. 12 June, 7pm-12am, Leith Dockers Club, £5

Pirate Radio Party
What’s not to love about pirates? A swashbuckling evening organised by champions of new Scottish music Leith Records, setting sail (almost) at the Shore. Bring your eye patch.

17 June, 7-11pm, Mary of Guise Barge, free

Literature and Film
What was once the Leith Short Film Festival has rebranded. 2011 is the inaugural year of the Edinburgh Short Film Festival, showing a selection of international shorts, first at the Cameo Cinema on 9 and 10 June, then as part of the Leith Festival in the following week. Visit the festival’s website at www.edinburghshortfilmfestival.com for more details.

Sun 12 and Frid 17 June, The Granary, tickets £4/£3

On a literary note, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to throw in a plug for our very own esteemed contributor, Mr Daniel Gray, author of Stramash: Tackling Scotland’s Towns and Teams (“A brilliant way to rediscover Scotland” – The Herald) and Homage to Caledonia, who will be introducing A Yorkshireman’s Scotland. Unfortunately he will later be in conversation with, ahem, our Editor

June 16, 7pm, The Parlour Bar, free (or the Editor will pay you to go)

Walks and Talks
Continuing the pirate theme, Jim Tweedie of the Leith History Society will delve into our timber-shivering past in The Pirates and Privateers of Leith.

14 June, 7.30-9.30pm, Leith Community Centre, free

Dance Base
Since its launch in September last year, Dance Base at the Thomas Morton Hall has brought a wealth of opportunities for strapping on those dancing shoes to Leith, inspiring a big focus on dance in this year’s Leith Festival programme. During the festival, Dance Base will be offering classes in everything from hip-hop to ceilidh dancing.

Deco Dance
Is the Charleston one of your best moves? Get ready to don your glad rags and return to the Jazz Ages at Deco Dance, a one-off vintage spectacular organised by Miss Fitz-Poste’s Modern Mixers. Including taster classes, cabaret and a vintage swing band, find out more about this unique interactive event at www.modernmixers.co.uk.

12 June, 6-9pm, Queen Charlotte Rooms, £6

Strictly Leith Tea Dance
This is the culmination of a ten-week programme of professional dance training offered to ladies from 14 to 50+, with funding from the Big Lottery Fund 2014. Grab a partner and take to the floor or sit back and watch the pros in action.

13 June, 1.30-4.30pm, South Leith Parish Halls, £3

Leith Lives is a triple bill of short plays – performed by Citadel Arts Group – from Alan Mountford, Laure Paterson and Cecilia Rose, all inspired by Leith’s colourful history. They focus on 3 eras: Golden Leith, the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots at the Port in 1561, the pull of the Gold Rush for one poor Leith family and life on the Leith home front during the War.

11 & 17 June at 2.00pm, 16 June at 7.30pm

Duncan Place Resource Centre, £6/5

Leith Community Theatre Summer Production
Formed from players who took part in the Leith Christmas Panto, the Community Theatre presents their very first independent production: two one-act comedies, Gosforth’s Fate and Streuth.

16 & 18 June, 7.30pm, The Yard, £6/£4

The Leith Festival is a brilliant opportunity to see the very best in local stand-up before they hit the Fringe. This year’s comedy sessions feature well-known talents Susan Morrison and Keara Murphy as well as hotly tipped newcomer Keir MacAllister. Don’t miss Bob Doolally and what’s not to like about a show called Silence of the Trams! Plus:

Leith Festival Floating Laughter  –  17 June, 8-10pm, Cruz, £7/£5

Leith Festival Comedy Late ‘n’ Live – 18 June, 10pm-1am, The Granary, £7/£5.


Info: To book, visit Box Office at 121 Giles Street from 23 May, or call 0131 555 0501
See leithfestival.com for even more!

Photograph by Callum Alden– there’s a gallery of Leith Festival photographs here.

8 responses to “Everything you ever wanted to know”

  1. jonathan says:

    the monsters are an f-ing disgrace. what does that say about the vibrant hip-cool-dancy leith that a frivolous spray-tanned slapper doesn't. it just doesn't make sense. this isn't a kids play thing, its a community festival- and a great one. this wull put people off coming to the thing! ridiculous, waste of money.

    • Macuistean says:

      your wrong. the kids love the wee things if someone weere to make them as toys eveyone in leith would rally to them. i would certainly.

  2. messenger says:

    As is the acceptance of bio mass money in their grubby little hands, give us the money and suffer little children!

    • Macuistean says:

      read this in the paper yesterday. that's really worrying to hear though forth ports always through money at the festival as i remember.

  3. messenger says:

    Check out the children before one of the sponsors ruins their lungs!

  4. Macuistean says:

    well this sounds more entertaining than the programme led me to believe maybe a problem of the size. my wee peepers can't read half the bloody thing!

  5. jackie says:

    400 pounds is an outrage! How much did each of the main sponsers give? Is there a way to find out…..

  6. wee ger says:

    here we go here we go here wee go!

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