Anyone who has an art...

Cellardyke festival group''Left to right, Sean Dooley, Jake Brown, Jill Calder, Robin Forsyth, Sarah Banjo.
Cellardyke festival group''Left to right, Sean Dooley, Jake Brown, Jill Calder, Robin Forsyth, Sarah Banjo.

IT doesn’t have an official name yet but its a pretty safe bet Cellardyke will have its very own arts festival next summer.

While Pittenweem’s annual gathering kicks off this weekend, a mere two miles along the coast a small group of artists and musicians are huddled up with creative plans of their very own.

In amongst the group is seasoned photographer Jake Brown, the brainchild behind the idea.

“I’ve been wanting to do it for years,” he said, “and as soon as it was discussed there were a lot of people that wanted to jump on board.”

A core group of people has quickly formed to kick start the project and, so far, 14 artists have expressed an interest in taking part.

While keen not to draw comparisons with its festival neighbour, Cellardyke’s collective nevertheless believes it is time for something different to emerge on the local arts scene.

What certainly works in the group’s favour is the proven pulling power of local arts events along the East Neuk.

The Anstruther area punches well above its weight thanks in part to the national success of folk musician King Creosote, aka Kenny Anderson.

The Mercury Music Prize nominee is the mastermind behind the Fence Collective and its associated Homegame music festival.

Despite humble beginnings in 1982, the Pittenweem Arts Festival is now bursting at the seams with a staggering 100 venues taking part this year.

What’s perhaps less well known among visitors is that each exhibiting artist is required to pay a £275 registration fee which does not include use of a venue.

That can represent an investment of as much as £1000 before a single work is even sold.

Local musician Sarah Banjo, who is married to artist Robin Forsyth, said: “There are a lot of artists and musicians in Cellardyke that haven’t had the opportunity to exhibit or perform. Many people can’t afford to take part in the Pittenweem Arts Festival, especially those that are maybe just starting out.”

With this in mind, the Cellardyke group intends to run a more ‘laid-back’ week-long festival based in the local town hall.

Although small, Cellardyke boasts a “wealth of creativity” assured photographer Sean Dooley.

“Everything needs renewal, something fresh,” he said.

“We have to keep things new and interesting or the same people just keep coming back again and again.”

David Shields, who is spearheading the new project, is now seeking funding from various sources, including Fife Council.

The intention is to have a working plan in place to make the festival’s launch a reality next summer

“This is an opportunity to get started now and let everybody know what we want to do,” he said.

People interesting in helping out or taking part in the new Cellardyke festival, should feel welcome to call David at the Ship Tavern on 01333 310347.

SHOULD Cellardyke succeed in establishing its own arts festival, it would actually be one of the last East Neuk coastal burghs to put its creativity in the public spotlight.

Elie, Crail and Anstruther have either established artists’ studios or host occasional exhibitions.

As far as a ‘full blown’ festival is concerned, St Monans holds one which is going from strength to strength.

The ‘Community Arts Festival’ usually runs in September, the month after Pittenweem’s grander affair, and features music, performance, dance, photography, theatre, poetry, visual arts, reminiscences and arts and crafts.

Of course, the entire area is embraced by the more musically orientated East Neuk Festival which ran at the end of June.