Out-there arts festival hits Dunfermline

Performances by award-winning writers and musicians, comedy in the dark, a disco for babies…

These are just some of the events on offer during the brand new Outwith Festival, taking place over four days in Dunfermline, from September 7 to 10.

There’s an impressive line-up of 60 performers with events in venues throughout the town including international names such as artist David Mach, Skids frontman Richard Jobson, playwright Alan Bissett and author Isla Dewar.

The music programme will see more than 35 bands playing at six venues, including on a stage in the High Street for local emerging talents Foreignfox, Moonlight Zoo and Dancing on Tables.

There will be plenty of events for kids, too, and there’s even a baby disco, which is almost sold out.

Festival director Chris Foote says there really will be something for everyone.

“There’s a real creative buzz around Dunfermline and the festival is a celebration of that,” he says.

“The town has always had a really good live music scene and there are loads of great bands coming out of the area.

“It’s basically about harnessing the creative energy around Dunfermline.”

So why the title, Outwith Festival? It’s a play on words, says Chris.

“The word, ‘outwith’ is a Fife word and we felt it embodied a sense of doing things outwith the ordinary, of doing something outrageous,” he explains.

“The festival is about pushing boundaries and trying new things.”

Venues include outdoor stages, pubs and nightclubs, but Chris reckons the most exciting events will be the small and intimate ones.

One of the most hotly anticipated events is the world premiere of David Colvin’s new play, Thunderstruck, at Carnegie Hall.

The new play is about how one young Lochgelly piper’s world was turned upside down by legendary bagpiper Gordon Duncan.

Another highlight includes the launch of author John Cairney’s book The Tycoon and the Bard, which tells how Andrew Carnegie was inspired by Robert Burns.

Meanwhile, Turner Prize nominee and one of the UK’s best-known artists, David Mach, is a Fifer who has exhibited dynamic large scale sculptures in London, New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Hong Kong. He will be showcasing a brand new and exciting work at Fire Station Creative.

Comedy in the Dark, a sell-out show on London’s South Bank, is a unique experience where comedians perform in total darkness and has been described as “the most fun you can have with the lights off”.

Isla Dewar, who wrote Women Talking Dirty which was made into a feature film by Sir Elton John’s film company, Rocket Pictures and starred Helena Bonham Carter, will discuss her most recent novel, A Winter Bride.

Alan Bissett, one of Scotland’s greatest novelists, playwrites, and performers, will perform extracts from the Moira Monologues, featuring “Falkirk’s hardest woman” as well as reading from his latest book.

Skids legend Richard Jobson will read from his new novel, The Speed of Life, a fantasy about two aliens who travel to Earth to find David Bowie. He’ll also read from his short, autobiographical story, 16 Years of Alcohol.

Outwith is being organised by BIDs company Dunfermline Delivers, along with arts hub Fire Station Creative and culture magazine Avocado Sweet.

Chris hopes this year will be a roaring success and is keeping his fingers crossed that folk turn up in their thousands.

For more details, see outwithfestival.co.uk

The Courier
1st September 2017