Travel 2022: Rock away at Kirkcaldy beach

Up to 10,000 people are expected to descend on Kirkcaldy Promenade next month to celebrate the new Breakout music festival, which will raise funds for the NHS while bringing people together again as Covid restrictions come to an end.

Love Is All Around hitmakers Wet Wet Wet will hope for dry conditions when they headline the Breakout music weekender. Picture: Dougie Souness

The three-day event, kicking off on Friday, 27 May, has been designed to have something for everyone, with the first night being headlined by the world-famous Scottish rock/pop band Wet Wet Wet.

The foursome gained success in the late-1980s and ’90s with hits including Wishing I Was Lucky, With A Little Help From My Friends, and Love Is All Around, which spent a massive 15 weeks at Number 1 in 1994 and featured on the soundtrack to Four Weddings and a Funeral.

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Former Liberty X singer Kevin Simm now fronts the band, taking over from founding member Marti Pellow in 2018.

Other pop heavyweights on the bill include Hue and Cry, whose biggest single, Labour Of Love, was released in 1987, and Banff-born singer Sandi Thom, best known for her 2006 debut track I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair).

Edinburgh-based singer/songwriter Callum Beattie will also take to the stage as a headliner on the Friday.

On Saturday, festival-goers can rock out to a performance by veteran Glasgow band Gun, who have had three UK Top 20 chart albums and eight UK Top 40 hits, most notably their 1994 cover of Cameo’s Word Up!

Attendees can also pogo away to vintage Edinburgh punk act The Rezillos, fronted by singers Eugene Reynolds and Fay Fife.

Those more keen on the dance scene can rave to a set by radio presenter and DJ George Bowie, aka GBX, while pop fans can sing along to numbers by Midge Ure, formerly frontman of 1980s new wave synthers Ultravox.

On the final night of the festival, the crowd can bounce to Dunfermline-born Big Country, recognised for their distinct folk-inspired sound on singles including In A Big Country and Wonderland.

Also on stage will be punk act The Skidz and Celtic rockers the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who have used their bagpipes to cover chart-topping tunes by artists including Queen, Coldplay and Journey.

Festival organisers Ian Arnott and Stuart Prentice are excited to see Kirkcaldy Promenade become host to a live music event for the first time after Breakout was rescheduled from October due to Covid.

“We have all relied on the NHS at some point over the years and to see so many people there enjoying and supporting this event will be incredible,” says Stuart.

“The location is amazing as it is right on the prom and right at the waterfront where nothing like this has ever been done before. It will be a great backdrop and atmosphere.

“I was at the Hydro recently for the first time in a long time and it was just great to see live music again in front of such a big crowd. To be able to see that in our own town will just be fantastic.”

The site is also home to Europe’s longest street fair, Links Market, and there will be funfair rides over the weekend as well as a food village featuring feel-good favourites such as burgers, pizza, noodles and hot drinks.

Whether it is rock, dance, pop or punk, the family-friendly Breakout festival provides the ideal opportunity to visit the historic Fife town and its abundant sights and attractions.

The festival’s waterfront location –an hour’s drive from Edinburgh or Perth – is a stunning seaside sight in itself and forms part of the 116-mile long Fife Coastal Path.

To the south of the promenade is the vast sandy Seafield Beach, which is a fantastic spot for sunbathing, picnics and paddling on sunny days.

Two miles north is Ravenscraig Castle, which was built for Queen Mary of Guelders in 1460.

The ruins are viewable from the exterior only, and create a dramatic backdrop to photos from Pathhead Sands beach.

Stuart adds: “The backdrop of the prom is the sea and views across the Firth of Forth over to Edinburgh – you don’t get that at many festivals.

“Kirkcaldy has something for everyone. The festival is not that far from the town centre so people can come and go as they please, do a wee bit of shopping in between – there is an ice rink and the park.

“For us, the most exciting thing is there are not many venues that are going to have the fantastic setting that we do.”

Ian says: “It is come one come all, there is a spread of music for everybody at this festival.

“There is no specific theme, so there is something for absolutely everybody. The support that we have received from everybody attached to the project has been unbelievable and the only word I can use is that it has been humbling at every point and has come together through a natural progression.”

Tickets for Breakout festival range in price between £21.40 to £128.40. Go online and visit breakout-together.com

- This article first appeared in the spring edition of Scotsman Travel 2022

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