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Leith Festival organisers say they are proud to return for 2012 despite funding troubles, and the jam-packed programme in and around the heart of Leith which was launched with the Gala Day on Saturday.

The Festival runs until Sunday 17 June, with an exciting line-up of 170 free or low cost events at 36 venues, showcasing home grown artistic and musical talent, local theatre and dance groups.

In 2011 the Festival played host to 25,000 visitors from across Scotland and beyond. This year, the programme remains the same size despite harder times.

The famous Leith Gala Day and Pageant on Saturday 9 June was expected to attract 10,000 people throughout the day. Alastair Tibbitt of Greener Leith and STV has reported on the day’s events here.

Gala Day is the traditional community event that has been a crucial part of the Festival for over 100 years, celebrating all strands of the community in a day of multi-cultural arts.

Leith Pageant returned to Leith Walk, and ended on the Links, the site of the Gala Day bringing together performers and locals.

Leithers rallied to the call when in December last year, the Leith Festival committee held emergency meetings. Thanks to fundraising by our friends, the Festival will go ahead.

Karen Toscani, Festival Manager said: “There have been a lot of changes because much of our funding is no longer available. 

“That makes us all the more grateful for the support of Scotmid, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 98.8 Castle FM, who have made direct contributions and in kind to the Gala Day, the Tattoo and the Festival production costs, and to office accommodation.  

“We are very indebted, and without their help there would be no Festival 2012.”

Rowan Campbell, a past Festival manager and board member said: “We are greatly relieved that Leith Festival is back on a proper footing.  

“The gloomy news in December brought Leith people out to help.  We hope this will continue, to give another successful year.

Councillor Gordon Munro said: “The Festival is a vital part of the Leith community and this year especially deserves the support of everyone in the local community.”

The printed programme is now available from venues or the office at 17 Academy Street, Leith.  For information, go to the Festival website, or call 07532 371 712 or 0131 629 1214 or read the programme below

Programme Final A6