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Arbroath Sea Fest brings fishing heritage to life

Posted onAugust 11, 2014

Arbroath Sea Fest brings fishing heritage to life

Arbroath Sea Fest brings fishing heritage to life


On Saturday, the Provost of Angus, Cllr Helen Oswald, spent the afternoon at Arbroath Sea Fest, where she found out first hand why the event was presented with the Angus Ambassador Tourism Award 2013 at the annual award ceremony.

After being met by Arbroath Sea Fest committee members Peter Donald and Alistair Martin, the Provost was given a tour of the bustling site, including a look behind the scenes, where she met event manager Eleanor Whitby of Red Pepper Events and Arbroath Sea Fest treasurer, Lynn Cameron.

“This weekend is the culmination of a year of planning and preparation,” Lynn told the Provost. “We pride ourselves on providing something for everyone, from the traditional fishing boats in the harbour to the sandcastle competition to the first Arbroath Sea Fest Strongman Competition.”

After looking round the many stalls, the Provost made her way to The Reaper, one of several restored fishing boats which had sailed to Arbroath to participate in the festivities. The Provost was welcomed on board by Ian Murray, retired fisherman and crew member of The Reaper, the Fife herring drifter which is the flagship of the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther.

Next stop for the Provost was Arbroath’s RNLI Lifeboat. RNLB Inchcape. “The commitment of the RNLI volunteers who crew the lifeboat and those who are involved in fundraising for the RNLI, including the Lifeboat Ladies Guild who sell cream teas at Sea Fest every year, is quite amazing,” said the Provost.

While listening to the Milenberg Jazz Band, Arbroath Sea Fest committee member Peter Donald explained to the Provost that the two-day event started in 1997, with the aim of highlighting the town’s maritime history and traditions, as well as providing a showcase for local organisations, community groups and businesses.

“Over the years, Arbroath Sea Fest has gained a reputation for being a great family day out and, as a result, attracts high numbers of visitors from across Scotland – as well as a sprinkling from further afield,” continued Peter. “As a result, Arbroath Sea Fest benefits the local economy while also enhancing the town’s reputation as a seaside destination. We were delighted when this was recognised in November 2013, when Arbroath Sea Fest was presented with the Tourism Angus Ambassador Award.”

As the Provost prepared to leave Arbroath Sea Fest, Fairweather Rigg Sea Shanty started singing on one of the two stages providing live music throughout the weekend. “Where else would you hear sea shanties being sung in their natural environment – by the sea?” asked the Provost. “There are so many different things to see and do at Arbroath Sea Fest.

“Arbroath Sea Fest is a great event for the local community, for local businesses and for Angus, while also giving the people of Arbroath and the surrounding area a chance to touch base with their fishing heritage, either by visiting one of these marvellous fishing boats or simply tucking into a freshly-made Arbroath Smokie.”

Below Fairweather Rig perform a Sea Shanty at Arbroath Sea Fest 2014

You can find out more about Fairweather Rig on Facebook here  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairweather-Rig-Scotlands-Shantymen/592714444177743

See also The Limelight Company Flash Dance in the harbour   http://dundeechannel.com/blog/limelight-flash-mob-arbroath-seafest-2014/

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Arbroaths Sea Fest 2012

Posted onAugust 3, 2012

Arbroaths Sea Fest 2012

Arbroaths Sea Fest 2012This weekend, Arbroath Harbour will be the place to be, as Arbroath Sea Fest celebrates the town’s maritime heritage with a host of things to see and do.

Arbroath Sea Fest 2012 has a 1940s’ theme, with wartime characters, artefacts, music and boats playing an important part in the festivities. Weather permitting, three historic fishing boats from this era are expected to sail into the harbour between 1pm and 2pm on Sea Fest Saturday, August 4, which will hopefully coincide with Sellers Brothers Swing Seven playing 1940s’ music on the Beacon Green stage.

“Going to Sea Fest is the highlight of the boating year for us,” said Peter Weightman of North East Maritime Trust, which will be sailing three of its historic fishing boats – Sovereign, Favourite and Rachel Douglas – from their present home in Newcastle to Arbroath. “Each of these vessels has been extensively restored to how they looked sixty years ago, when nearly all our harbours, including Arbroath, had a fleet of these seine netters.”

In a new addition to the Sea fest 2012 programme, Arbroath Abbey Timethemes will be presenting the premiere of a specially-written short play with a 1940’s theme. “We’ll be performing this play outside our Wartime Canteen on Beacon Green at 2pm on Sea Fest Sunday, August 5,” explained Bill Smith of Arbroath Abbey Timethemes. “Also, on the hour every hour, and in different parts of Beacon Green, Arbroath Abbey Timethemes will be joined by several members of Arbroath Male Voice Choir for a 1940s’ sing-along.”

One of the many fishing-related attractions at Arbroath Sea Fest 2012 will be the traditional boatbuilding demonstrations and displays by Northboats, an Aberdeenshire family-run boatbuilding, repair and restoration business. There will also be demonstrations of the making of Arbroath’s most famous export – Arbroath Smokies – by Iain R Spink, and the chance to go on board the beautiful old lady of the seas, Reaperone of the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s fleet of historic fishing boats.

Arbroath RNLI will be making a splash at 2.30pm on both days of Sea Fest with the launch of the Arbroath Lifeboat, which will be followed by a re-enactment of a rescue. And, as part of their fabulous fundraising efforts for the RNLI, Arbroath Lifeboat Ladies Guild will be selling cream teas from their stall alongside the lifeboat slipway.

The area around Arbroath Harbour is currently undergoing its annual Sea Fest transformation and, over the next few days, a multitude of stalls will soon be springing up around the harbour and on Beacon Green. “We’re delighted by the number of bookings we’ve had from stallholders this year,” said Alistair Martin, Arbroath Sea Fest committee member. “The wide variety and high number of stalls at Sea Fest are among the many reasons thousands of local people and visitors flock to Arbroath Sea Fest every August, which can only be good news for our town.”

Alistair stressed that family fun is always an important element of Sea Fest. “This year is no exception,” continued Alistair. “Children attending Arbroath’s weekend of seaside celebrations can enjoy lots of treats, including story-telling sessions and free face painting.”

Gates open at 10am on Saturday, August 4 and 11am on Sunday, August 5, with the admission charge of £3 (children under the age of five free).

For more information about Arbroath Sea Fest 2012, visit www.arbroathseafest.co.uk.


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Changes At The Top For Arbroath Sea Fest Committee

Posted onApril 28, 2012

Changes At The Top For Arbroath Sea Fest Committee

Changes At The Top For Arbroath Sea Fest Committee

After twelve years as Chairman of Arbroath Sea Fest Committee, at the AGM on Tuesday, April 24, Alistair Martin handed over the reins to a new chairman, local businessman Marco Macari.

“We can’t show Alistair enough appreciation for everything he has done to ensure Arbroath Sea Fest has become one of the most successful and popular annual events in the east coast of Scotland, with a fabulous programme of special attractions and lots of fun for all the family,” said Marco.

“Alistair has been involved with Sea Fest since its early days and he has devoted so much time and energy without reward or recompense to ensuring the success of this weekend celebrating Arbroath’s links to the sea. On behalf of the committee and everyone who has ever attended Arbroath Sea Fest, I would like to say a massive ‘Thank you’.”

Marco added that Alistair is to remain a member of Arbroath Sea Fest Committee and that a new Vice Chair, Peter Donald, has been appointed. “With the Seafront Spectacular no longer on the calendar, Arbroath Sea Fest is now the summer festival in Arbroath and the surrounding area and I am determined to continue Alistair’s good work,” continued Marco, who has been a member of Arbroath Sea Fest Committee since 2005.

“Sea Fest is a wonderful, feel-good weekend which provides a fantastic opportunity for local people to meet up with friends old and new while also showcasing Arbroath’s fishing heritage, harbour, local produce and musical  talent, as well as generating tourism and income. I’m certainly looking forward to being at the helm.”

As preparations begin in earnest for Arbroath Sea Fest 2012 – which will be held on Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5 - Marco stressed that the search is currently underway for new Sea Fest committee members. “To ensure that Sea Fest remains an exciting, dynamic occasion which attracts over 30,000 people from near and far year after year, we desperately need new people to join our committee,” said Marco. “We’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers with lots of ideas on how we can ensure Sea Fest continues to develop – and continues to live up to its excellent reputation.”

Potential committee members should contact Sea Fest Event Manager Eleanor Whitby by emailingEleanor@redpepperevents.com. For more information about Arbroath Sea Fest 2012, visitwww.arbroathseafest.co.uk.


Arbroath Sea Fest – The First 15 Years

Posted onMarch 13, 2012

Arbroath Sea Fest – The First 15 Years


The organisers have announced that Arbroath Sea Fest will take place on Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5, 2012 – and, as this will be the 15th anniversary of this highly popular event, they’re hoping for a highly successful weekend.

“Over the years, Sea Fest has attracted thousands of visitors to Arbroath,” said Alistair Martin, chair of Arbroath Sea Fest Committee, the dedicated group of local volunteers who are behind this major tourist attraction. “Last year, about 30,000 people attended Sea Fest, ensuring a considerable boost to Arbroath’s economy while also providing a timely reminder of Arbroath’s connections with the sea.”

The concept of Arbroath Sea Fest was first aired during an informal meeting between two members of Arbroath Business Association, Alan Wallace and Harry Simpson, and a member of Angus Council’s Economic Development Unit. “We were chatting about how to encourage more visitors to Arbroath, help local businesses and promote the town when the idea of a festival celebrating the town’s strong links with the sea surfaced,” explained Harry Simpson.

“We suggested this to Arbroath Business Association and it was decided that, in partnership with Arbroath RNLI, Arbroath Fisherman’s Association, Arbroath Community Council and Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, Arbroath Business Association’s annual summer fête would be transformed into a two-day, large-scale festival.”

Councillor Bob Spink was one of the many local people who soon became involved in the exciting new project. “Many others in Arbroath shared my good impression of the town and were keen to highlight how much Arbroath could offer as a place to live, locate a business or visit on holiday,” recalled Cllr Spink. “In addition, Arbroath Sea Fest was, potentially, an excellent way of capitalising on the tremendous tourism potential of Arbroath’s fishing heritage.”

In July 1997, the first Arbroath Sea Fest was held. “It was wonderful to see so many people at the harbour, enjoying a day out in Arbroath,” recalled Harry Simpson, who estimates that about 15,000 people attended the inaugural Sea Fest.

After three successful years, Arbroath Sea Fest became a limited charitable company and Arbroath Business Association’s involvement ceased. “That’s when I became involved,” explained Alistair Martin. “Since then, and with the support of the excellent committee, Arbroath Sea Fest has continued to grow, with ever-increasing numbers of stalls, visitors and special attractions.”

Cllr Spink was a member of Arbroath Sea Fest Committee until 2009 and retains a keen interest in the event. “Sea Fest’s a very good day out – and it’s certainly lived up to its original aim of attracting people to the town,” he said.

Sea Fest Event Manager Eleanor Whitby confirmed that Sea Fest brings a mini-tourist boom to Arbroath every August. “Statistics show that, during the weekend of Sea Fest, Angus benefits from a good increase in tourism figures, with local accommodation providers fully booked well in advance,” said Eleanor.  

The Provost of Angus, Ruth Leslie Melville, has attended several Sea Fests. “Arbroath Sea Fest is a marvellous, happy family event which is appreciated – and attended – by the people of Arbroath, people across Angus and beyond. Hats off to all those involved in this event, who take on these responsibilities out of civic pride and commitment to the Royal Burgh of Arbroath.”

For more information about Arbroath Sea Fest 2012, visit www.arbroathseafest.co.uk.

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