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Around Town

Gone fishing

Kirstin Innes discovers the fishy wing of East Lothian’s 3 Harbours Arts Festival

‘W hen people from the cities think of visiting East Lothian, it’s always Gullane or North Berwick they go for,’ observes Adele Conn. ‘What we wanted to do was give them reasons to visit the three harbours on the way: Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton. But there was always that question: how do we get them to stop?’

What Conn and her colleagues managed to do, five years ago now, was create one of Scotland’s most original and appealing community-based arts festivals. The 3 Harbours Arts Festival has matured into a major festival thanks to the organisers’ unique idea to celebrate the creativity of the local communities by hiding works by local artists in and around the three harbours. This year over 250 visual artists will be exhibiting work in a variety of temporary galleries (including the huge industrial public space of Cockenzie Power Station, where the biggest names in the programme traditionally host their exhibitions), and the programme has swollen to include street theatre, live music, workshops and an ‘origami outreach programme’. We’re not making that up: one of the traditions to have sprung up over the last few years is that the festival is opened by the launching of a giant paper boat. However, this year there’s an additional attraction: the 3 Harbours Seafood Festival. ‘We ran the seafood festival as a pilot scheme last year: it started out as just one tent, in a field, as part

of the Arts Festival programme,’ explains Conn, ‘and it attracted over 3000 people over one weekend!’ The 3 Harbours team have wisely decided to trade in on that appeal this year: Conn has taken charge of the seafood side of things, so to speak, and they’re stretching to 20 tasting stalls, mostly manned by local fishermen and chefs, and offering tastes of everything from traditional local fish dishes to sushi, as well as a number of arts and crafts ventures, sea-themed craft workshops for kids, and The List’s own music tent providing a soundtrack to your mussel-munching. ‘The idea at first was that all the bands were going to have some connection to the sea we were hoping to get Fish to headline the tent eventually, we settled for all of the bands having some connection to the area.’

Conn is keen to stress that, although visitors are hugely welcome, this festival is primarily about the people of those three harbours. ‘Ninety-nine percent of the seafood caught here is exported immediately. We want to raise awareness of our community, of the creativity and amazing food stemming from this little bit of coastline, of the heritage and culture of the fishing industry on our doorstep.’

3 Harbours Seafood Festival, The Greenbelt, Edinburgh Road, Prestonpans, Fri 28–Sun 30 May. 3 Harbours Arts Festival, various venues, East Lothian, Sat 29 May–Sun 6 Jun. For full details see www.3harbours.co.uk

www.list.co.uk/aroundtown Hitlist FOOD, FISH, FUN & FEATHERS *

✽✽ Eat Well With Nell The telly nutritionist sprinkles some balanced, wholegrain magic over our dodgy diets, and signs copies of her new cookbook. Real Foods, Broughton Street Edinburgh, Sat 5 Jun. ✽✽ 3 Harbours Arts & Seafood Festivals Art and seafood together at last! A community celebration across the harbours of Cockenzie, Port Seaton and Prestonpans. See preview, left. Various venues, East Lothian, Fri 28–Sun 6 Jun. ✽✽ Cryptic Nights: ‘The Sounding’ by Joshua Armstrong Performance artist Joshua Armstrong creates a new piece through the lens of Jewish ritual tradition and ritual. As ever, there’s a great dining deal in the CCA and the chance of great conversation after the fact. CCA, Glasgow, Thu 3 Jun. ✽✽ Pass It On Day Rummage, recycle and renew in a nation- wide programme of events designed around the maxim ‘one person’s junk is another person’s treasure’. See listings or www.passitonday.com Various venues all over Scotland, Sat 5 Jun. ✽✽ William Chambers Millinery Course Basic Headpiece A chance to learn the delicate art of feathery headpiecemakery sorry, we mean millinery from one of Scotland’s most exciting young designers. See picture, page 40. Scotland Street School Museum, Glasgow, Sat 5 Jun. 27 May–10 June 2010 THE LIST 39