IT MAY well be closer to Christmas than the summer, but preparations are most assuredly underway for the return of EH6 Festival this year.

Based in Leith, the three-day event is scheduled for November 26-28 with a few eye-catching acts already signed up.

Callum Beattie, The Pigeon Detectives and Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 are on the bill, along with Billy Mitchell, Connor Fyfe, Scarlett Randle, Parliamo, Robin Ashcroft, NOVA, Eleanor Hickey, Amie Huckstep and much more.

The majority of performances will take place at the Biscuit Factory with additional sets around other venues in the area.

Also, more than half of the artists announced are female, with efforts to improve gender balance on Scottish festival billings clearly at the forefront.

Mike Ward, festival organiser, has been working away with Craig Wares to develop a massive line-up for the event ahead.

"We are massively excited," Mike said. "Craig has came in to help with a lot of the local talent and is filling the second venue in the Biscuit Factory.

"He has done a great job – there are so many exciting young acts as well as some big tunes.

On the addition of so many female artists, he added: "It was definitely a conscious decision – it helps there are a lot of great female acts out there just now."

A number of Scottish festivals have already been forced to cancel their 2021 event with the end of restrictions coming too late in the year, and with no insurance polices being obtainable.

Calls have been made, relentlessly, for government intervention but no viable support has yet been offered.

Both Party in the Palace and Doune the Rabbit Hole were due to take place in August – either side of the crucial August 9 "re-opening" day – but both postponed once again.

While nothing is certain in the post-Covid world, the fact that EH6 is due to take place much later in the year gives great encouragement to the organisers.

Mike added: "I do think people are still a bit hesitant though and sales will pick massively once a few events happen and there's more clarity.

"By the time November comes I think we will be fine. We have budgeted and are selling to half capacity, initially, just in case, but I'm confident we will have full cap by then.

"Also, selling to half cap, initially, means we can socially distance, but I don't think it will be an issue."

EH6 has been a real labour of love for Mike over the last few years, and has built a reputation for bringing a series of huge acts to Leith from all over the UK.

Past incarnations have seen Alabama 3, Gerry Cinnamon, Big Country, The View, Jake Bugg, The Coral, The Snuts and much more.

The event is always filled out with the best up and coming Scottish acts with previous performers including VIDA, Luke La Volpe, Mark Sharp, Oskar Braves, BETA WAVES, The Rah's, Brownbear, Carly Connor, Shambolics and so many more.

Mike added: "I wanted to bring the best acts in the UK to Leith and have brought some top-class acts over the past few years.

But, more than anything else, I wanted to bring a weekend where the whole of Leith is buzzing and a lot of the businesses get a turn, which we have done.

"This year will be better than ever."

Tickets for the three-day festival are priced at £21.28 per day or £56 for the full weekend.

Visit www.skiddle.com/festivals/eh6-festival to secure briefs for the event on November 26-28.