Big Burns Night Celebrations

Paint the town tartan – Dumfries unveils a three-day festival of music, carnival, cabaret and theatre

THREE days of fabulous entertainment have today been unveiled for January’s Big Burns Supper festival in Dumfries – part of Homecoming Scotland 2014.

The acclaimed Scottish rock band Big Country will be among the highlights of an event which includes everything from carnival and cabaret to live music and theatre – plus lots of chances to enjoy a Burns Supper.

Today’s launch saw the statue of Robert Burns, in Dumfries, dressed in tartan for Big Burns Supper (BBS) 2014.

The events, which are a key part of the Homecoming Scotland and Scotland’s Winter Festival celebrations, take place over the weekend of 24-26 January – wrapping round Burns Night itself on Saturday 25th.

Graham Mains, Festival Director, said: “The Big Burns Supper celebrates our national bard and all that’s best about contemporary Scotland. Burns loved life and lived it to the full, and that’s the spirit of our festival.

“BBS 2014 will be the biggest yet and we look forward to welcoming people from all over Scotland, Britain and the world to enjoy three days of superb fun and entertainment.

“The festival is a real call to arms, as the nation gets ready for its biggest year on the international stage with the 2014 Year of Homecoming. The programme reflects our desire to connect with more international work, while providing a platform for local talent.

“We have also focused on making BBS 2014 highly accessible so there is plenty to enjoy for revellers of every age and taste. There won’t be a bigger, better or more exciting way to enjoy the Burns Night weekend than with us in Dumfries.”

At the heart of the festival will be the magical Spiegeltent – a large 1920s-style mirrored tent where audiences can enjoy shows, cabaret and music including:

• The great Scottish rock sound of Big Country
• Sensual Spanish-born singer Buika
• The richly diverse Mull Historical Society
• Folk guitar genius Dick Gaughan and special guests
• Bagpipes, drums and guitars from the Dangleberries
• The Hackney Colliery Band

After 11pm Club Spiegel arrives, with two party nights plus a wild roller disco.

BBS 2014 events will be taking place at a variety of venues, and on the streets themselves as Dumfries hosts the first ever Homecoming Carnival.

This lantern-lit procession will be one of the first major events of the 2014 Year of Homecoming, and certainly among the most colourful – with 2,000 people expected to take part.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said: “The Big Burns Supper in Dumfries has become another superb event in Scotland’s successful Winter Festival’s programme.
“I was delighted to attend the first Big burns Supper festival in 2012 as well as We Can Be Heroes, the community theatre production created for the Big Burns Supper in 2013.

“The success of the young festival, which is financially supported by Scottish Government agencies, is a great credit to the talented local team behind it and the people of Dumfries and Galloway. This year’s Homecoming programme promises to be the most exciting yet.”

The next BBS will be the third and largest so far. There will be lots of Burns Supper options so everyone can tuck into their traditional haggis, neeps and tatties. These include the award-winning 10-minute Burns Suppers.

Dumfries Provost Ted Thompson, said: “The Big Burns Supper is a popular event and I am sure that it will be a fantastic addition to the early part of the Homecoming 2014 programme. Our Council believes that such events are vital in stimulating our economy. We will be introducing a Major Festivals and Events Strategy to ensure such events will become a permanent fixture in the calendar, attracting visitors from far and wide.”

Caroline Packman, Homecoming Scotland Director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with The Big Burns Supper as part of the ever-extending Homecoming Scotland 2014 programme”

“The festival continues to grow from strength to strength and I’m sure the Homecoming Carnival will really capture the essence of the 2014 celebrations which focus on placing the spotlight on our greatest assets and icons.

“I hope the plans announced today will encourage even more people to experience the event next year.”

Dumfries is the last resting place of Robert Burns and the place which inspired some of his most famous work.

BBS 2014 is a community-based event that involves a host of groups and individuals from around Dumfries and has rapidly built up a reputation offering a great atmosphere and giving a real boost in the lull after Hogmanay.

With Dumfries being in easy reach of the Central Belt and northern England, BBS attracts visitors from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Carlisle and many other places.

The festival is made possible by support from many organisations including Creative Scotland, Homecoming Scotland, Scotland’s Winter Festivals, 8020 and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

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