Photo by Musselburgh Festival / Facebook
Summer is festival season in Musselburgh, with the annual Musselburgh Festival taking place from the 21st to 29th July this year. This historic festival is a celebration of the local community, and there’s plenty going on throughout the town.
The History of the Musselburgh Festival
The idea of a Musselburgh Festival was first thought up in 1935, by a group of young men who met in the Scout Hall on Hercus Loan. They enjoyed the spirit of local patriotism that events like the Riding of the Marches created, so wanted to set up a special festival to celebrate the local community in Musselburgh.
The Honest Toun’s Association was then set up to organise the festival each year, which included choosing an Honest Lad and Honest Lass to represent the community throughout the year. The very first Musselburgh Festival was held in 1936, with James Arthur as the Honest Lad and Ina Vass as the Honest Lass.
The festival has been held every year since (with a wee break during World War Two), with lots of events and celebrations being held for locals of all ages.
What’s on at this year’s Musselburgh Festival
There’s lots to look forward to at this year’s Musselburgh Festival – here are a few of our favourite events to keep an eye out for.
Big Beach Clean – Saturday 21 July, 2pm – join the local community to clean up the beach and keep our seafront looking beautiful.
Kirkin Service – Sunday 22 July, 2pm – this service at St Michael’s Kirk marks the official beginning of the Musselburgh Festival. At 1.30pm the Town Band will lead a procession from the Town Hall, through Newbigging and Inveresk, to arrive at St Michael’s for 2pm.
The Sashing – Sunday 22 July 4.15pm – the traditional sashing ceremony, which presents the Honest Lad and Lass with their official sashes, will take place on the green beside the historic Hayweights Clock. This year’s Sasher is Colin Gerrie, the Headteacher of Musselburgh Grammar School.
Treasure Hunt & Teddy Bear’s Picnic – Monday 23 July, 10.30am – starting from Fisherrow Harbour, families will be tasked with finding treasure hidden around the town. After the treasure hunt, there will be a teddy bear’s picnic for lunch at Loretto from 1.45pm.
Crusaders’ Chase – Monday 23 July, 5.45pm – The Crusaders’ Riding Club have been organising the Crusaders’ Chase since 1937. The fast-paced race will ford the Esk at the Roman Bridge, and afterwards there will be a duck race between the Roman Bridge and the Store Bridge. In the evening, there will also be Supper Dance at Eskmills Bowling Club.
Fisherrow Fishwives Film – Tuesday 24 July, 7.30pm – enjoy movie night at the Baptist Church on New Street for a special screening of the Fisherrow Fishwives film, exploring the stories of the traditional fishwives of Musselburgh.
Community Concert – Thursday 26 July, 7pm – head to the Brunton Theatre for the annual Musselburgh Festival Community Concert with entertainment from a wide variety of local acts, including singers, dancers, choirs, musicians and the brand new Tutti Community Orchestra.
Fancy Dress Parade – Friday 27 July, 7pm – the much-loved Fancy Dress Parade will be held on the Friday, starting from Pinkie Road and finishing at the Fisherrow Links. There will be floats and pedestrians taking part in the parade, with prizes for different categories.
Festival Ball – Saturday 28 July, 7pm – to celebrate the end of Musselburgh Festival, join the party at the Festival Ball at the Brunton Hall.