Crowds flock to ‘best ever’ Puffin Festival

Posted on 01st June 2023 | in Community , Puffin Festival

This year’s Puffin Festival was the best ever according to organisers. The sun shone on both days, bringing bumper crowds to the Friendliest Port, to see the stalls, watch the live entertainment and take part in the family fun activities.

“We were delighted with the turnout at this year’s festival, and the feedback we’ve had has been fantastic,” said Julia Aston one of the organisers. “Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and lots say they’ll be back next year.”

Big crowds gathered to watch the Bare Toed Dancers perform music, storytelling and their aerial dance show, which had been created especially for the Puffin Festival. Tribe Zuza impressed the crowd as usual, after which Latin and samba band Salida brought out spontaneous dancing in the town square, and the Auckland Shanty singers got everyone singing along.

At the Little Shore Ranger Jane’s beach safari kept people of all ages busy learning about the seashore, and creating giant sand sculptures. Sand artist Claire Eason created an awesome sand-raked design of starlings to reference the Amble Bord Waalk bird sculpture trail. You can see how she and her helpers made it on our YouTube channel. (Ed: It’s also at the bottom of this article)

Northumberland Dog Rescue’s dog show was incredibly popular and other environmental and animal organisations teamed up to make it a really successful event. “The weather was perfect, the venue stunning and all the dogs behaved impeccably,” said a spokesperson.

On Sunday, the Baghdaddies brought their enthusiastic and hilarious brand of world music to the town square, continuing to play even as they took a ride on the children’s walzers. Hopefully they will have recovered before they play Glastonbury later this year. Caribbean Crew steel band, always a favourite at the festival then entertained the crowds, followed by Amble band the Boffs’ playing psychedelic rock favourites.

Walks and talks and the evening events were well attended, and the organisers thanked all who had taken part. The Dovecote Street Show and Dry Water Arts also held events during the festival, which added greatly to the cultural mix. Amble Masonic Hall, NTC Dovecote Centre, Cock & Bull micropub were thanked by organisers for the kind use of their premises.

“It was a cracking couple of days,” declared stall holder Sandy Higson aka The Mad Jam Woman. She and the other stall holders were busy throughout the weekend, and a live stream of the puffins directly from Coquet Island proved very popular (technology played up a little at times), providing a more serious note about the feathered stars of the festival. The RSPB were on hand to talk to people about the puffins on Coquet Island and answer questions about the birds, the struggles they are facing due to environmental changes, and the situation regarding avian flu.

Julia said: “It’s been a fabulous weekend. Thank you to the performers, event/activity holders, stall holders, volunteers, visitors of all ages, (including all the four pawed friends), puffin enthusiasts, and everyone who helped make this the best puffin festival ever. We also want to especially thank this year’s sponsors Coquet Cottages. Everyone has pulled together to make the event really special.”

Flags along the pier. Image by Ivor Rackham


Photos by Anna Williams (AW), Ivor Rackham (IR), Vivienne Dalgliesh (VAD), Len Smith (LS) and Clare Eason (CE)

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