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May 21, 2008

Three Harbours joined by the Arts

This is the time of year when communities the length and breadth of the country are getting ready for community gala days and local festivals. The Three Harbours Festival – a joint effort between the communities of Cockenzie, Prestonpans and Port Seton – is starting to attract visitors from far and wide and has a reputation for putting art in unusual places


This year’s festival is indeed blessed by its setting, along the wonderful coastline of East Lothian and this year, we look to the sea as our theme. Historically, this rich coastline was a place where much industry took place – fishing, boat building, potteries, mining and salt making to name but a few. It was a hive of activity, enterprise and creativity. It is therefore not surprising that we see in the area the legacy of the past continuing in a flourishing of the arts and the 3 Harbours Arts Festival celebrates this each year. This year we continue to grow and our paintings, sculpture, literature and history walks are a testament to the hard work and creativity of people from all over the area with all levels of skills.

The Prestongrange Museum will act as the gateway venue into Prestonpans. This fantastic facility, with its visitor centre, powerhouse, murals and massive beam engine will host a variety of paintings, light installations and music.

Further along the Prestonpans route, be sure to visit Cuthill Park. The 2nd Murals Fest will take place here in the first weekend.

In celebration of East Lothian’s famous John Muir Walkway, we have developed the John Muir art trail. This will include art installations at various points along the trail, including events and venues which will link us with our friends in the towns of Dunbar and Aberlady.

Paper boats were a big hit last year and this year they go global – our local schoolchildren have really found a place at our festival and delight in being involved, their artistic talent inspiring everyone, including the many artists from all over the world who have sent us their paper boats to exhibit. This year too we extend happy anniversary wishes to Cockenzie Power Station, celebrating 40 years of operation. The power station remains one of East Lothian’s iconic landmarks and we are glad to announce that the chimneys will once again light up the skies in their usual spectacular fashion. A major highlight will be a special appearance by Tamsin Little, the world-renowned violinist, who will play to the chimneys on our opening night.

The 3 Harbours Arts Festival continues to encourage and support community events, particularly those involved in the arts. Discover the cows painted by a local school which can be found grazing somewhere in Prestonpans and take a look at the John Muir Totem Poles, a successful collaboration between the East Lothian Inclusion Unit, Prestoungrange Arts Festival and Kenny Grieve of Brotus Rural Crafts.

You are also invited to join Prestonpans Infant School’s Jubilee celebrations by supporting a Summer Fayre on the second weekend at the school. The festival also extends congratulations to Port Seton and Cockenzie Gala, commemorating 60 years of community spirit and pride. The 3 Harbours Arts Festival thank them and Prestonpans Gala for the opportunity to link in with both gala days.

The popular annual exhibition of model boats will this year be expanded to include items made by the women of Cockenzie and Port Seton. The 3 Harbours Arts Festival is also pleased to announce the launch of a book,‘ Boatie Blest’ as well as a short film on the model boats. This has all been made possible with a grant from Awards for All.

In keeping with ‘the sea’ as the festival’s theme, there will be lots of activity at Port Seton harbour. Students at Preston Lodge High School have had the opportunity to build coracles with Dave Purvis, Ripon Youth Trust and will have fun sailing them in Port Seton Harbour A fitting end to the festival is ‘Fishy Tales’ performed by the Port Seton Players from the Resource Centre in association with Stevenson College and Lung
Ha’s Theatre Company.