Four hours of free street entertainment and the return of Scottish folk music legend Dougie MacLean will herald the start of the 15-day St Ives September Festival of music and arts on Saturday.

More than 300 events will include big-name nights at The Guildhall featuring MacLean - best known for writing and performing the Scottish "folk anthem" Caledonia and music for the film Last Of The Mohicans.

He will be followed during the first week by BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys and Irish Band Dervish - recently named as this year's Lifetime Achievement Folk Award winners - who have performed at festivals from Glastonbury to the Great Wall of China before Festival patrons Show of Hands bring down the festival curtain on Saturday, September 28.

The festival also includes a five-night Film Season, theatre, talks, walks, exhibitions, 49 artists throwing open their doors for Open Studios, Bob Devereux's daily free open-air lunchtime poetry and music in Norway Square and a big choice of free music in the pubs every night.

While other seaside town are heading quietly into autumn the festival will once again bring an influx of late-summer tourists to St Ives.

The town's mayor Tony Harris said: "There is no doubt that the festival brings economic as well as cultural benefit to St Ives.

It is a celebration of the town’s artistic, musical, theatrical and literary heritage through which residents and visitors alike enjoy the talents of many artistes who help bring the town alive during September.

"St Ives Guildhall, a number of smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, will feature some of the best arts and entertainment from around the county and beyond."

One of the more "unconventional" venues mentioned by the mayor will be beachside on Pednolva Walk - better known locally as Lambeth Walk - where TV blacksmith Rod Hughes will step back in history to the days of pirates and Poldark when he demonstrates the art of making cutlasses and swords every day from Monday to Saturday next week.

Ceramic artist Mary Kaun English will also be on the beach - alongside the surfers at Porthmeor - on Sunday, September 22 - as she digs a temporary kiln in the sand to demonstrate her pit-firing techniques for the ninth successive year before excavating the finished items the following morning.

A newcomer to the street entertainment programme this year is the Hat Juggler - Pema Bradley-Peer who will not only be juggling but will have a stack of hats to teach passers-by some hat moves.

Pema comes from Sky High Arts, the St Ives-based contemporary circus and theatre group run by contact juggler Tree Stewart, a St Ives Festival street entertainment favourite who will be returning this year.

The line-up for the free street entertainment on Saturday is:

Fore Street - Noon: Singer-guitarists Rick Chappell and Barry Hunt; 12.45pm: Contact juggler Tree Stewart; 1.30pm: Kidz R Us sing Cats; 2.15pm: St Ives shanty singers Bamaluz Bootleggers; 3pm: The Hat Juggler Pema Bradley-Peer.

Loggia, Tate St Ives - Noon: Penzance Guizers; 12.45pm: St Ives Concert Band; 1.30pm: drummer Josh Knuckles; 2.15pm: Penzance Guizers; 3pm: Ukulele Group.

Fishermen’s Lodges - Noon: Ukulele Group; 12.45: Phoenix Singers; 1.30pm: Hat Juggler; 2.15pm: Joe Duke; 3pm: Tree Stewart.

Full festival details and tickets at