The 2016 Festival has ended.
See you next year: 19 to 29 July 2017
Chairman’s closing statement for 2016 Crail Festival
The closing of the putting green on Sunday 28 August will have brought the 2016 Crail Festival to an end.
Performance events and the Art Exhibition – which saw a steady stream of visitors on a daily basis – ran from 20 to 30 July. The putting green opened on 25 June and there was a well-attended Street Market on 23 July. Although a few events failed to attract the expected audience numbers, we received the warmest of praise and appreciation of the events by those who attended. For audience enjoyment the Festival was undoubtedly a great success, thanks to the wonderful performers we are fortunate to attract to Crail.
As usual a distinctive feature of the Festival was a strong programme for children. The sandcastle competition, afternoon at the movies, rock pool guddle, crabbing competition, fossil hunt, putting and workshops (art, drama and ceramics) are ever-popular hardy annuals. Thrilling additions included balance bikes; magic skills, circus skills, a great Crail bake off; new workshops in fused glass and krafty kids with a seaside theme. Zoolab permitted the handling of exotic creatures. CSI Forensics with Dundee Science Centre revealed some of the secrets seen on programmes like NCSI Los Angeles and NCSI New Orleans.
Music is always at the heart of the adult programme. The excellent Jimi Shandrix Experience Ceilidh Band led the festival ceilidh; Opera Bohemia’s new production of 'La Traviata' had Catriona Clark giving an outstanding singing and acting performance in the role of Violetta; Richard Digance gave a splendid concert featuring many of his own humorous songs set amidst a fund of very funny stories; Claire Hastings and Jenn Butterworth performed folk music in an enchanting style that really enthused the audience to give a well-deserved standing ovation, a response also accorded Christine Bovill for her songs associated with Paris in a show that went on to the Edinburgh Fringe; Matthew McAllister, a "local" classical guitarist, gave a recital that clearly showed why he has a rapidly growing national and international reputation; Jimmie McGregor performed a short version of his 'Gathering of Songs, Stories and Famous Folk' that entranced an audience which went joyfully with him down memory lane; and Buddy Holly and the Cricketers brought the Festival to a rousing, rocking close.
Other events in the packed programme included a performance by the Equity compliant Illyria Company of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in the atmospheric Castle grounds – it was the worst weather of the Festival, but one of the funniest performances of the play that many of us have ever seen warmed an otherwise cold audience to the very talented small (i.e. five) troupe of actors – how do they do it? Les Barker delivered a selection of his zany poems in a wry, dry manner that had the audience in fits of laughter from the very first stanza of the evening; a Festival stand in for Kirsty Young (Tony Kingsbury) led Clive Russell, the prominent Scottish actor, through his choice of Desert Island Poems at an event - afternoon-tea with Prosecco - that also featured talented harpist Rachel Newton; and in an enthralling occasion, Kirkcaldy's Val McDermid, a crime writer with fans worldwide, talked with Russel D McLean about the characters and influences in her work - Russel was formerly Dundee-based but now living in Glasgow and gaining in reputation as a Scottish crime writer.
There really was something for everyone and in due course a wide selection of photographs giving a flavour of the various activities will appear in our social media pages. And in time photographs and other alerts will foreshadow the 2017 Festival. We plan for another exciting programme of events and hope to enjoy the continuing support of audiences drawn from Crail residents and visitors alike.
CRAIL FESTIVAL 2017 will run from 19 to 29 July
The 2016 Festival benefited, as usual, from the generous gifts of a great range of raffle prizes by many local businesses – too numerous to list here but you know who you are – and willing assistance of a veritable army of volunteers and other businesses in completing the myriad tasks entailed in mounting a Festival of this magnitude. And how could we operate without suitable venues to host our events? We are indebted to the family of the late Sheriff Graham Cox for allowing us to use the Castle grounds; Crail Community Trust for use of the Town Hall; Crail Branch of the Royal British Legion for the Legion Hall; the Session of Crail Parish Church for the Kirk Hall; the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh for Crail Catholic Church; Fife Council through Lindsey Brown for the Community Hall, and especially John, the Hall Keeper, for his unstinting help in mounting our various events there. To all of them, along with the Friends of the Festival for their donations, the Byre Theatre for their assistance with ticketing, and the advertisers in the brochure, the warmest of thanks are due and gladly given.
And finally a big thank you to Caroline Rodger for creating and maintaining the Festival website; Arthur Nuttall and his team for organising and running the Art Exhibition; Helen Byres for the year-long task of organising the Street Market; Jenny Gowans for leading the children’s programme and her enthusiastic managing of the putting green and its preparations throughout the year; the technical team led by David Fraser and Dennis Gowans for ensuring that events were well staged, lit and heard; Tony Kingsbury for his unfailing skills in attracting and securing a wide range of excellent performers; and my personal heartfelt gratitude to the hard-working Committee, small in number but big in heart and energy, for their unflagging support throughout the year, my final one as Chairman of the Festival Society.