Counting down to three hours of Leith arts extravaganza

Martin Campbell leads bowl-making at the Old Ambulance Depot during LeithLate 2012. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Martin Campbell leads bowl-making at the Old Ambulance Depot during LeithLate 2012. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A BARBER’S shop, an ambulance depot, a former army drill hall and a charity shop are among the venues for a three-hour cultural extravaganza taking place in the Capital next month.

More than 30 artists, musicians and performers will display their talents and entertain audiences at 17 venues, including pubs, shops and cafes, in Leith between 6pm and 9pm on Thursday, June 13.

LeithLate 13, now in its third year, is expected to attract hundreds of visitors to locations on Leith Walk and surrounding streets, with participants being urged to experience as many of the free exhibitions and performances as possible over the three-hour period.

Co-ordinator Morvern Cunningham said the festival was a celebration and showcase of Leith’s burgeoning arts scene.

She said: “The event is a collaboration between local business and the artistic community and gives people a chance to enjoy art in unexpected places – whether that’s the John Brown’s Stuffland installation of repackaged everyday goods in the shop window of Leith Athletics, or elements of Omar Zingaro Bhatia’s acclaimed Spuriosity Shop in the waiting room of Leith Walk Barber’s salon.

“There’s also some new and exciting collaborations and showcases taking place, including a spoken-word mash-up between poets Rally and Broad from Edinburgh and Words Per Minute, who are coming over specially from Glasgow for the event at I Heart Cafe.”

Ms Cunningham said the festival captured a real sense of community spirit in Leith. She said: “There’s a lot of artists based in Leith. Partly it’s practical because if you want to rent studio space it’s less expensive than in the city centre.

“But there’s also a community vibe about Leith that makes people want to support each other.”

She said many of the bars which are hosting events are also providing financial backing which enables the festival to go ahead. Ms Cunningham added she hoped LeithLate would next year receive some kind of community funding grants to help it increase in size.

David Griffin, owner of book and record shop Elvis Shakespeare on Leith Walk, where local bands including The Pink Dogs, White Lightin’ and Blueflint will be playing on the night, said: “Last year the place was jumping. It is a really fun evening and I love the idea of my shop being bracketed with the local art galleries round here.”