Party at the Port

Leith Festival. Picture: Toby Williams

Leith Festival. Picture: Toby Williams

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ALL roads lead to the port of Leith from tomorrow, as the traditional Gala Day and Pageant kick off the 2016 Leith Festival, which this year boasts 43 events, in 27 venues, over nine days, all in the EH6 postcode.

Before all that, however, tomorrow’s Gala Day in Leith Links sees the return of the live music stage with performances from Boots For Dancing, Andy Chung, Gus Harrower, The Phoenix Choir and children’s favourite Mr Boom.

Also for the youngsters, the Gala Day Kids Zone will host Tricky Ricky, The Barrow Band, The Hula Honeys, Kalli Kids as well as the now obligatory bouncy castles and pony rides.

Festival highlights include the Citadel Arts Group’s presentation Leith Doctors and Dockers, a double-bill of plays reflecting the challenges of life in Leith in the 19th and 20th centuries - the hardships, triumphs and laughter.

The plays mark Citadel’s seventh consecutive year at Festival and run at the Dockers Club, Academy Street, on 24 and 25 June.

The first piece, Leith Docks: A Way Of Life, by Laure Paterson, is taken from real life stories of 1960s Leith on the eve of change.

A French onion seller - an Ingan Johnny - is befriended by a Docker’s family facing a crisis. His solutions surprise them.

The second, The Guid Doctor, by Elaine Campbell, is inspired by the achievements and struggles of Dr Thomas Latta from Newhaven.

This neglected 19th century medical pioneer honed his skills on a whaling ship, practised medicine in Leith and developed the intravenous drip for cholera sufferers.

Folk duo Coaltown Daisies, funk legends Lights Out By Nine, rock guitarist Willie Logan, and the sounds of the Rat Pack at Malmaison, as well as Hooked on Classics at St Andrew Church, are just some of the musical highlights of the week.

Also sure to be topical is a Trainspotting Tour, while The History of Leith, an audio guided tour starting at the Leith Dockers Club, will give a unique insight into the area.

There are also guided tours around Seafield Crematorium and Hibernian Football Club.

Add exhibitions such as Art by the Sea at the Coburg Street Gallery and the Gary Miller exhibition at Sofi’s Bar, poetry at the Cameo Bar, and a walk around the Maritime Museum at Trinity House, in the Kirkgate, and Leith Festival 2016 has something for everyone. The event comes to a traditional close on June 19 with The Leith Festival Tattoo, at The Piazza on the Shore, Tower Street.

Starting at 7pm the Tattoo will feature Siamsoir Irish Dance Academy, Band of the Black Watch Battalion, Army Cadet Force, Sanfoka Beats African Dance & Drum Group, The Polish Dance Ensemble and the Musselburgh & Penicuik Boy’s Brigade Pipes & Drums.

A full programme of Leith Festival 2016 events is available from www.leithfestival.com