Poignant tributes add local connection
The East Neuk Festival came to a stirring finale on Sunday, with organisers hailing it a huge success.
A classical concert at Cambo Barn brought the curtain down on a packed week of activity, much of it paying respect to those who served in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Among the touching tributes was the annual sand sculpture on Crail High Street from the Sand In Your Eye team, who were also joined on Elie beach by pupils from Waid Academy to create two sand drawings.
They began the first drawing at dawn on the 100th anniversary of the battle, which depicted soldiers returning from the front, whilst the students wrote the names of 44 teachers and students from Anstruther who died in the war.
On Friday evening whilst the tide was out a second drawing was complete, depicting a different band of soldiers marching off to war.
Svend Brown, artistic director of the festival, said the festival had been “fantastic” and praised the input from local people in helping to make it an event to remember.
He said: “The most exciting thing about this year’s festival for me was they way we extended it to the people that live there.
“We had the kids from Waid Academy helping with the sand drawings and there were three local choirs that took part.
“For me it gave the festival a real sense of connection with the local community and that’s something we plan on extending and have already had some discussions about it for next year.”
One of Svend’s highlights was the performance ‘Memorial Ground’ by choirs from Waid Academy, St Andrews Chorus and Anstruther Philharmonic.
“I’ve had people contacting me on Facebook and Twitter saying that they were in tears because they were so moved by it,” he said. “And what was amazing was that genuinely half of those involved were amateurs from the local area working with professionals and doing just brilliantly.”
Svend also praised the sand sculpture ‘Those Left Behind’, which he said highlighted an area of WWI that was sometimes overlooked.
“I think what is so wonderful about it is that it throws a spotlight on the women who were left behind to look after the children and hold everything together and had a terrible, terrible time,” he said.
“With the drawings on the beach, the pupils from Waid Academy joined in and combined it with researching the history of those people from Anstruther who died in the war.
“In the end the festival is about creating great memories, and for all those pupils on the beach – all of whom turned up at 6.30am! – that’s something they’ll never forget.”