Thousands expected at Pittenween Arts Festival

Sir Menzies Campbell with exhibiting artist Derek Collins.
Sir Menzies Campbell with exhibiting artist Derek Collins.

Thousands of people are expected to descend on a Fife village from this weekend for one of the region’s most popular festivals.

An estimated crowd of 25,000 is attracted to the Pittenweem Arts Festival each year, providing a significant boost to the local economy.

This year more than 100 artists will be exhibiting in venues around the village, ranging from studios and galleries to garages and sheds.

The headline exhibitors for this year are wildlife artist Keith Brockie, artist and writer Alasdair Gray, freelance illustrator Jonny Hannah and Brigid Collins with a body of new work entitled Thisness.

There will also be music, talks, guided walks, workshops and children’s entertainment.

Festival chairwoman Jean Duncan said: “We always try to get four big names along and someone that everyone will know.

“This year that’s Alasdair Gray.”

Award-winning writer Gray is best-known for his 1981 debut novel Lanark, which is regarded as a classic, and Mrs Duncan said: “So many people know his books but we think a lot of people will come to have a look because they might not have seen his artwork in an exhibition before.”

Installation artist Brigid Collins will be showing a series of 3D objects “in conversation” with hung paintings.

Fife-born illustrator Jonny Hannah, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, will be launching new prints made especially for Pittenweem.

Keith Brockie will show some of his ever-popular wildlife paintings and sketchings and talk about his latest book.

Mrs Duncan said: “That will be of interest to another sector of visitors. We try to have something that interests everyone.

“I think it’s going to be a good year, especially with the weather looking a bit more promising.”

A ceilidh in the Fish Market with Billy Anderson’s Scottish dance band will herald the launch of the festival. It will be officially opened by Sir Menzies Campbell MP.

From humble beginnings in 1982, the Pittenweem Arts Festival has grown to become one of Scotland’s best-loved arts festivals, attracting artists of international stature.

It has also helped to launch the careers of many aspiring artists. This year its box office is in its newly refurbished base, Art@47.

The festival runs from August 3 to 11.