It’s fair to say that Edinburgh rather hogs the limelight when it comes to arts festivals in August, but such is the wealth of creative talent locally that you don’t have to head to the capital for an arts fix at this time of year.
This Friday (25 Aug) sees the start of the 2017 Creative Peebles Festival – a 10-day celebration of the many artists, musicians, arts groups, film-makers and crafts people found in this most arty of towns.
The festival opens with the traditional Open Galleries Evening from 7-9pm on Friday. It’s always a great opportunity to check out the huge variety of visual art produced, displayed and sold at a host of venues around Peebles.
Renowned galleries such as Tweed Art (in the Old Town), Breeze Gallery and Tweeddale Museum & Gallery (both on High Street) and Moy Mackay Gallery (Northgate) are joined by a variety of smaller studios and venues around Peebles. The Tontine is delighted to also be involved as we display a collection of paintings by three contemporary Scottish Borders-based artists: Fiona Millar, Alan Richmond and Moy Mackay. All are part of a special festival Art Trail, with maps available from participating venues, including the Eastgate Theatre.
Once again, this year’s festival also offers an exciting mix of indoor performances and workshops, plus a chance to explore the rich history, architecture, nature and landscape of Peebles through an expanded programme of walks and tours. Even locals learn a thing or two on these!
The programme begins on Saturday (26 Aug) with a fascinating stroll that reveals the stories behind the many different bridges that can be found in Peebles today. Other highlights include a look at the railway heritage of Peebles, some of the town’s hidden gardens and green spaces, a tour of L. Grandison & Sons’ treasure trove of a plaster workshop, plus a trip up to Soonhope Burn to learn more about the community of colourful huts that straddle the glen.
Ever eclectic, the festival also sees the Tweeddale Society Festival Lecture by eminent Professor Sir Ian Wilmut (of Dolly the Sheep fame), and Music in Peebles’ 70th anniversary concert, featuring Michael Collins and the Heath Quartet. And this Sunday (27 Aug) look out for hundreds of energetic lip-syncers who will take part in one of the biggest community film projects ever seen in the Borders as a huge flash mob films a music video to Dancing in the Street.
Throw in top-class live music from the glamorous Swingcats and Rachel Hair Trio, thought-provoking new drama from Dogstar Theatre Company, plus the wildly-entertaining Small Town Sarsaparilla and we reckon Peebles more than gives Edinburgh a run for its money!
Photograph: Rich Rowe
The 2017 Creative Peebles Festival runs from 25 August to 3 September. For much more on the Open Galleries Evening, plus the wider festival, visit www.creativepeeblesfestival.co.uk