2015

Dumfries Challenged to Make 4,500 Lanterns for 2016 Burns Carnival

01 December 2015

The public are being challenged to help light the streets of Dumfries with a record-breaking 4,500 lanterns for the 2016 Burns carnival.

A total of 24 lantern-making hubs are being set up across the region where people can drop in and learn how to make their own lanterns – materials are free, but makers need to provide their own LED lights.

Groups and organisations are also being invited to hold their own lantern-making workshops.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Artistic Director, said: “The Burns carnival is one of the biggest winter festival events in Scotland and it’s a brilliant way to bring the whole community together. We want this carnival to be the best and brightest yet.

“Last year there were well over 3,000 lanterns and we are challenging the public to help us push it up to 4,500 in 2016.

“It’s great fun to make your own lanterns and then take part in the carnival procession to celebrate Burns Night. We’ve made it as easy as possible for people to get involved by popping along to our hubs, or by having workshops for groups and organisations they belong to at their own venues.

The hubs will be run from 4 to 23 January in Dumfries, Annan, Caerlaverock, Sanquhar and elsewhere – for full details check the Big Burns Supper website or brochure.

Big Burns Supper takes place from 22-30 January and the carnival is on Sunday, 24 January.

The 2016 event will be the fifth Big Burns Supper.

Each year there is a large-scale event involving the public, for the past two years this has been the carnival.

Anyone who would like to volunteer should register online at www.bigburnssupper.com.

Invitation Goes Out to Join the Big Burns Supper Volunteer Crew

29 November 2015

Festival’s 2015 Volunteer Co-Ordinator Heads to Downing Street

People across Dumfries and Galloway are being offered the chance to play a key role in one of the region’s biggest and brightest annual events.

Big Burns Supper and the Burns street carnival provide great opportunities for volunteers – these can include being part of the team at the Spiegeltent where big-name acts like The Beat, Black Grape, Eddi Reader and Jason Byrne will be appearing.

The role of our volunteers has been so important and impressive that it has come to national attention.
Moira Priestley, the 2015 Volunteer Co-Ordinator, has been invited to 10 Downing Street for a reception hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The event, on 2 December, has been organised just after St Andrew’s Day to celebrate the achievements of Scots who have received Mr Cameron’s special Points of Light Award for those who have made an exceptional contribution to their community.

Moira attended an earlier reception when she originally received the honour, in January, which was given for her role in leading an army of 200 BBS volunteers.

The social care worker from Dumfries, said: “It was a surprise to receive the award – I loved being a volunteer and being part of the Big Burns Supper family.

“It’ll be a lovely treat to go to Downing Street and meet all these other people from across Scotland and find out about the projects they have been involved in.

“I’d really encourage people to get involved and volunteer with Big Burns Supper, it’s lots of fun, you pick up all sorts of skills and meet some really interesting people.

“But what’s most exciting is being part of a big event from the early stages, helping pull the whole thing together – when it finally happens you get a real ‘proud mum’ moment.”

Every contribution is valued. No previous experience is needed and there are roles suited to people of every age.

This time people are being invited to join specific teams, so they really get the most from the experience.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Artistic Director, said: “As well as being a great experience, there are some great benefits from volunteering.

“All our volunteers get access to shows and events. We also provide creative industry training for anyone who is interested in learning about the work we do.”
Right now there are vacancies in the:
• Carnival Crew: Crucial to the success of this event, our volunteers help us glue, stitch, saw and everything else that goes with creating costumes and floats. It’s really lively and supports young people and community groups to take part in the carnival.
• Bar Crew: We need an energetic crew to help us serve those drinks in the glitzy Spiegeltent bar. If you have a smiley face and you know what it feels like to wait for a drink, you’re hired!
• Spiegeltent Crew: An elite team – delivering all of the Spiegeltent operations which range from front of house to production and technical elements.
• Event Crew: Help make sure that our outdoor events run safely and that the public can navigate the festival easily. They are on the front line on carnival day acting as stewards for the procession.
• PR Crew: Our press team work around the clock to make sure that all the artists’ stories, news and gossip gets through the right channels on time. These roles are in our media centre, and include welcoming members of the press to venues, and making sure they have a great time.

Big Burns Supper takes place from 22-30 January and the carnival is on Sunday, 24 January.

Anyone who would like to volunteer should register online at www.bigburnssupper.com.

Brightest Ever Big Burns Supper Packed With Fun For 5th Birthday

29 November 2015

Dumfries winter festival lines up The Beat, Eddi Reader and Jason Byrne plus spectacular carnival, cabaret, folk and trad

The line-up for the fifth Big Burns Supper has been unveiled with headliners including Black Grape, Jason Byrne, The Beat and Eddi Reader.

The nine-day festival in Dumfries, from 22-30 January, will be overflowing with party spirit from start to finish and will bring thousands of people onto the streets for the annual Burns Carnival, which takes place on Sunday, 24 January.

Big Burns Supper 2016 has received support as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals events programme.
On the Bard’s birthday itself there will be the festival’s own fifth birthday party, featuring special guest performers, and a family Burns Supper for around 300 inside the mirror-lined Spiegeltent which is the event’s main venue.

Another major highlight of BBS 2016 is Le Haggis III which sees a triumphant return to Dumfries of the saucy and spectacular Caledonian cabaret after its award-winning run at the Edinburgh-Fringe. As ever it will be a feast of Scottish and international circus, aerial dance and music – featuring some of the country’s best young trad and folk musicians.

There will also be a strong emphasis on children’s entertainment with the arrival of Celtic Circus, a Spiegeltent show with acrobatic thrills and spills to delight a younger audience.

Dumfries children themselves take command for a series of By Kids activities. One will be the pop-up Salon 1962, where adults will have their nails and make-up done by enthusiastic Lochside Primary School pupils. The most daring will also have their hair cut!
Graham Main, Artistic Director, said: “It’s our fifth birthday, so we want Big Burns Supper 2016 to be huge fun for everyone. It will be packed with great music, comedy and cabaret plus a fabulously colourful street carnival.

“We’re offering a really joyful mix of the current and the classic – and a great chance to dig out your Harrington, trilby and DMs.

“As one of Scotland’s fastest-growing winter events we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of people from all across Scotland, the rest of the UK, Ireland and beyond for an event which celebrates all that’s best in life.”

As a “thank you” to the Big Burns Supper’s many loyal supporters the festival will be bringing back some highly popular acts from previous years. These include the magnificent singer songwriter, and huge champion of Rabbie Burns, Eddi Reader and also the wonderful Inner Mongolian musicians of Anda Union.
There will be a new performance and bar area at the Spiegeltent where audiences will find themselves in the capable hands of Big Burns Supper 2016 Mistress of Ceremonies the ever-bonnie, if occasionally unshaven, Misschief Amor.

There will be a host of other superb shows from Irish vocalist Camille O’Sullivan, the Scots trad Treacherous Orchestra, comedian Andrew Maxwell and Irish folk act the Dublin Legends.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Big Burns Supper, which is now in its fifth year, is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our Scottish identity. I congratulate the festival organisers for another impressive performance line-up and I’d encourage friends, families and loved ones to come together to take part.

“The celebrations are part of the Scottish Government’s Winter Festivals programme which this year has been provided with a record £390,000 of funding to support 21 key cultural events in 15 local authority areas across the country.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said: “The Big Burns Supper has fast become a real favourite of our regional events calendar and it’s fantastic to see it attracting more and more visitors to the region every year. It’s a unique, exciting and vibrant celebration which embodies and befits our national Bard. The event is brimming with spirited character, spontaneity, irreverent humour and bawdy fun, and is underpinned by great music and story-telling.

“With its superb line-up of talent and packed programme, next year’s Big Burns Supper promises to be bigger and better than ever before. It will definitely be an unmissable highlight of the New Year so I hope as many people as possible will come along and enjoy the party atmosphere in Dumfries throughout the festival’s nine days.”

Lesley Douglas, Principal Teacher of Lochside Primary School, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the children and they are really excited about taking part in the carnival and in Big Burns Supper. It brings them a whole breadth of new opportunities and fits perfectly with the Curriculum for Excellence.”

Tickets for Big Burns Supper are now on sale at www.bigburnssupper.com and from the box office at 28 Munches Street, Dumfries or by calling 01387 271820. Box Office is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

Big Burns Supper is a registered charity and is funded by Holywood Trust, Robertson Trust, Scotland’s Winter Festival programme, and through Dumfries & Galloway Council’s event strategy, and sponsored by 8020 Communications, and Electric Theatre Workshop.

Free - working with the media event for businesses and budding PRs

29 November 2015

Big Burns Supper hosts Dumfries masterclass

Big Burns Supper head of PR Matthew Shelley is hosting a free masterclass for people interested in working with the media.

The event, which takes place at the Electric Theatre Workshop in Munches Street, Dumfries, on Saturday 7 November at noon, is a chance to learn about how to run a PR campaign.

It is ideal for young people who are thinking about a future in communications or for those wanting to promote their own businesses.

The event will also be a chance to find out about some exciting media volunteering opportunities with Big Burns Supper 2016. Media volunteers can get practical experience of press and social media work for one of Scotland’s biggest and brightest winter festivals.

Matthew said: “Media work can be really good fun. It gives you the chance to do all sorts of unusual things and meet some remarkable people. It’s also essential for anyone running their own business to understand at least the basics, so they can make sure they stand out from the crowd.

“Passing on these skills is something I really believe in and it’s great that Big Burns Supper is dedicated to helping people pick up new skills.”

Matthew is a communications and PR specialist working in the arts and cultural sector. In addition to working for Big Burns Supper he also works for well-known organisations like Spring Fling.

The first half of Matthew’s 25 year career was spent in journalism and he has worked for many leading titles, for example as a Scotsman news editor and as features editor of the Bristol Evening Post.

The PR Masterclass is free but ticketed and places are limited. To reserve a place simply sign up on the Big Burns Supper Facebook page or email Matthew at MJHShelley@hotmail.co.uk or call 07786704299.

Join Musicians, Dancers and Singers for the Big Burns Supper Free Fringe

29 November 2015

A great event taking local performers into the community

The Big Burns Supper Free Fringe is attracting everyone from singers, poets and musicians to dancers and a magician – and now it’s set to get bigger.
The event gives local people a chance to show off their talents by putting on free shows – just like performers flock to do at the Edinburgh Fringe.

In this case the idea is that the performances will also take place in and around the communities where people live rather than in the town centre.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Artistic Director, said: “This is something very new for us and Dumfries and we had no idea what to expect when we put the call out for performers.

“But the response has been really encouraging so we have decided to expand the Free Fringe even further – so if you’ve got the talent and ambition to put on a public performance then get in touch with us and make it happen.”

Among those already signed up is singer Elia Davidson, who will be performing their own original works plus some covers alongside her friend her friend Kate Kyle.

Elia said: “We’re both excited to be part of the Big Burns Supper and are looking forward to having another chance to play our music to a local audience.”

And a local poet known as Ginger added: “It’s tremendous to take part in the festival fringe, a unique and magical event held in oor toon.’‘

The Free Fringe is also an opportunity for Big Burns Supper to carry out some talent spotting for future shows and events.

Sign up at http://2014.bigburnssupper.com/about-us/take-part.php or contact Jack Finlay for more information at jack@electrictheatreworkshop.com.

Those signing up should think of a short, sharp and appealing way to sum up what they do – sell it to us and potential audiences in a maximum of 10 words.

Big Burns Supper 2016 will take place over nine days from 22 to 30 January, with a whole host of shows and entertainment wrapped round the Bard’s birthday – there will also be the fabulous Burns Night Carnival.

Acts Invited to Take Part in the new Big Burns Supper Free Fringe

29 November 2015

Free shows and events planned throughout communities in Dumfries over the annual nine day festival

Big Burns Supper 2016 will have an exciting new feature – the Free Fringe, giving local talent the chance to perform for audiences across Dumfries.

The initiative will bring entertainment to the doorsteps of thousands of Doonhamers as part of the festival’s 5th birthday celebrations

And the call is going out now for musicians, dancers, poets, comedians and others to sign up and get the chance to show what they can do.

The idea is that the Free Fringe will take entertainment of every kind into the community, with activities being planned across the north of Dumfries.
Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Director, said: “As a community-based organisation we want to knock down barriers between people and performers wherever possible.

“One of the best ways we can do this is to enable local performers to go out into the community and entertain people for free.”

It’s also a great way for Big Burns Supper to help discover and promote talented people of every kind.
Graham said: “The Free Fringe is part of our ongoing search for the region’s top talent – and our belief that you can find talent hiding in all corners of our community.

“Our award winning show Le Haggis proves that local people can rise to the challenge if we give them the platform to shine.

“We promise that our local audiences will give Free Fringe entertainers a hearty cheer and lots of encouragement to get up and do a turn!”
Sign up at http://2014.bigburnssupper.com/about-us/take-part.php by 2 October at 5pm, or contact Jack Finlay for more information at jack@electrictheatreworkshop.com.

Those signing up should think of a short, sharp and appealing way to sum up what they do – sell it to us and potential audiences in a maximum of ten words.

Those that take part in the Free Fringe will be included in next year’s Big Burns Supper programme alongside international and national acts.
Big Burns Supper 2016 will take place over nine days from 22 to 30 January, with a whole host of shows and entertainment wrapped round the Bard’s birthday – there will also be the fabulous Burns Night Carnival.

Irish Inspiration Celebrated at Major Scottish Burns Night Festival

29 November 2015

Top Irish talent at nine-day event and carnival inspired by huge success of St Patrick’s Day celebrations and Dublin Fringe

Irish talent including comedians Jason Byrne and Andrew Maxwell, vocalist Camille O’Sullivan and the Dublin Legends are taking top spots in Scotland’s nine-day Big Burns Supper festival.

The link is more than coincidental as the event’s artistic director, Graham Main, learned his trade at the Dublin Fringe Festival and as the youngest ever producer with Dublin Opera Festival.

Indeed – it’s largely thanks to Ireland and what it has achieved with the St Patrick’s Day celebrations that Big Burns Supper exists in the first place.

January 2016 will be the fifth Big Burns Supper and one of the main attractions is the annual Burns Carnival, taking place on Sunday 24 January, which was directly inspired by Graham’s experiences working on Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade.

He said: “Working in Ireland had a huge impact on me and when I saw what has been done with the St Patrick’s Day celebrations I realised we should take it for our inspiration and start to turn Burns Night into a big, fun and public celebration.

“My home town of Dumfries was ideal for this as it’s a place he lived, loved, reveled and wrote some of his greatest work.

“Big Burns Supper is now one of Scotland’s fastest growing winter festivals and is developing all the time – and as it’s our fifth birthday I wanted 2016 to do something to really mark those Irish connections.

“What we’re offering is a rich mix of the current and the classic, for every taste and age group with an event which is shaped by the spirit of Burns and takes joy in all that’s best in life.”

Other well-known names at the festival include Black Grape, The Beat and Scottish singer Eddi Reader, the Scots trad Treacherous Orchestra and comedian Andrew Maxwell.

Big Burns Supper 2016 has received support as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals events programme.

The event, from 22-30 January, will be overflowing with party spirit from start to finish. On the 25th, theBard’s birthday itself, there will be the festival’s own fifth birthday party, featuring special guest performers, and a family Burns Supper for around 300 inside the mirror-lined Spiegeltent which is the event’s main venue.

Another major highlight is Le Haggis III which sees a triumphant return to Dumfries of the saucy and spectacular Caledonian cabaret after its award-winning run at the Edinburgh-Fringe. As ever it will be a feast of Scottish and international circus, aerial dance and music – featuring some of the country’s best young trad and folk musicians.

There will also be a strong emphasis on children’s entertainment with the arrival of Celtic Circus, a Spiegeltent show with acrobatic thrills and spills to delight a younger audience.

Dumfries children themselves take command for a series of By Kids activities. One will be the pop-up Salon 1962, where adults will have their nails and make-up done by enthusiastic Lochside Primary School pupils. The most daring will also have their hair cut!

As a “thank you” to the Big Burns Supper’s many loyal supporters the festival will be bringing back some highly popular acts from previous years. These include the magnificent singer songwriter, and huge champion of Rabbie Burns, Eddi Reader and also the wonderful Inner Mongolian musicians of Anda Union.

There will be a new performance and bar area at the Spiegeltent where audiences will find themselves in the capable hands of Big Burns Supper 2016 Mistress of Ceremonies the ever-bonnie, if occasionally unshaven, Misschief Amor.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Big Burns Supper, which is now in its fifth year, is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our Scottish identity. I congratulate the festival organisers for another impressive performance line-up and I’d encourage friends, families and loved ones to come together to take part.

“The celebrations are part of the Scottish Government’s Winter Festivals programme which this year has been provided with a record £390,000 of funding to support 21 key cultural events in 15 local authority areas across the country.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said: “The Big Burns Supper has fast become a real favourite of our regional events calendar and it’s fantastic to see it attracting more and more visitors to the region every year. It’s a unique, exciting and vibrant celebration which embodies and befits our national Bard. The event is brimming with spirited character, spontaneity, irreverent humour and bawdy fun, and is underpinned by great music and story-telling.

“The celebrations are part of the Scottish Government’s Winter Festivals programme which this year has been provided with a record £390,000 of funding to support 21 key cultural events in 15 local authority areas across the country.”
Tickets for Big Burns Supper are now on sale at www.bigburnssupper.com and from the box office at 28 Munches Street, Dumfries or by calling 01387 271820. Box Office is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

PR Masterclass

13 October 2015

Miss Behave

PR Masterclass.

We are all about giving people the chance to learn new skills and this year our top industry staff will be giving free masterclasses in a variety of subjects.

You will learn:

What journalists want
How to write a press release
How to master moden media

The Masterclass will be delivered by Dr. Matthew Shelley who is a national journalist with 25 years experience leading arts and cultural PR.

The Masterclass will take place on November 7th 2016 from 12pm – 3pm. It will take place at Electric Theatre Workshop, 28 Munches Street, Dumfries.

To register, click here!

Please note there are limited places available.

Carnival Opportunities during Big Burns Supper 2016!

08 October 2015

Burns Night Carnival 2015

9 days, 140 events, 1 Carnival.

Our Burns Night Carnival takes centre stage in the entire Festival, and partners gets high profile visibility on the street event which attracts an annual audience of over 10,000.

As part of our fifth anniversary Festival we are looking to work with 8 new emerging artists and makers to help us create the magic of Burns Night for the 2016 Carnival. Artists will work alongside our Producer to bring our community together through the power of creativity.

Click here to download the Creative Opportunities Pack

If you are interested in being one of our 8 new emerging artists, please register before 23rd October 2016. REGISTER HERE!

Further information can be received by contacting our Carnival Producer – Cara McNaught at cara@bigburnssupper.com.

Please send your email with “Carnival Artist registration” as the subject line. You will be contacted with more information after registering your interest.

Huge Turnout for Spectacular Burns Night Carnival in Dumfries

Huge Turnout for Spectacular Burns Night Carnival in Dumfries

26 January 2015

Scottish Government Minister Declares he is “blown away” by the event and the creativity of the people of Dumfries

A spectacular Burns Night carnival through the streets of Dumfries attracted at least 10,000 spectators and participants.
The parade was lit by at least 3,000 lanterns – far more than the 2,015 organisers had hoped for in order to mark the 2015 UNESCO Year of Light.
Spectators lined the streets and packed the centre of the town – where Burns lived, loved, revelled and wrote some of his greatest work.
Scottish Government Minister Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Europe and International Development, said: “I came to Dumfries with high expectations, but I was absolutely blown away by this carnival. The creativity of the people of Dumfries is absolutely incredible. I have been so impressed and really hope to be invited back next year.”
The procession included dozens of local schools, groups and organisations with costumed dancers and interactive puppets plus:
• 6 large main floats
• 6 bands
• 432 specially made costumes from 20 community artists
• 3,000 lanterns
• 4,000 participants in the parade.

There were an immense variety of costumes – many taking environmental and farming themes for Scotland’s 2015 Year of Food and Drink. They included tattie-bogle scarecrows and also the funeral of a carrot – highlighting environmental destruction. There were also sea creatures, including a 10 foot octopus and a multi-coloured fish. They were joined by bumble bees, seagulls and swans.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Artistic Director, said: “Tonight was just astonishing – I think Rabbie Burns would have been astounded to see so many people turning out for such a huge celebration of his work, his spirit and of Scottish culture.”
The carnival has taken months of preparation with the organisers working closely with schools, community groups and many others to plan and create the costumes and the floats.

Costumes will include a giant haggis, vegetables and tattie-bogle scarecrows, plus all sorts of creatures from the oceans.

The carnival started at 5pm and was led by a huge lantern made in conjunction with Barnardo’s Scotland, which is Big Burns Supper’s partner charity.
Around 25% of the materials used in the carnival (for example a lot of cardboard and some of the costumes) are recycled and remodelled from last year. And each year BBS finds ways to reuse materials, for example by donating them to other arts projects.
BBS is a festival of contemporary and traditional culture and a huge public celebration of the birthday of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns, in his beloved town of Dumfries. It is also part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals (a programme of events managed by EventScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government) and attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK and overseas.

The festival is made possible by support from many organisations including Creative Scotland, 8020 and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Beacon Event Programme.

Once again BBS has teamed up with other local festivals and promoters to present eclectic club nights which include the Eden Opening Party.
The carnival is supported by the Robertson Trust, Holywood Trust and Awards for All. Year of Food and Drink Scotland will build on the momentum generated by Homecoming Scotland 2014 with a series of exciting events and activities celebrating Scotland’s outstanding natural larder.

To see the Burns Night carnival live online just go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQRxrNwr7lA

This year Big Burns Supper has teamed up with Barnardo’s Scotland as its first ever charity partner. Text BURNS to 70500 to donate £3 to Barnardo’s Scotland.

Nina Nesbitt Wows the Crowds at Big Burns Supper

Nina Nesbitt Wows the Crowds at Big Burns Supper

24 January 2015

Singer Song-Writer Joins fans at Eden festival party in Dumfries

Nina Nesbitt sported a special tartan skirt for her Big Burns Supper performance last night in Dumfries.

After her show the young singer-songwriter partied with fans at the Eden Opening Party after her performance.

In the Green Room before going on stage Nina said: “I’m really excited to be part of these Burns celebrations, we studied him at school and I always loved his poetry. I’ve worn a tartan skirt especially because it’s a festival all about the spirit of Burns.

“This is my first time in Dumfries and I’m looking forward to getting to know the town and meeting people afterwards.”

The show took place in the atmospheric Spiegeltent – a 1930s style marquees lined with mirrors and stained glass.

Fan Kirsty Pickering said: “It was really cool, she opened the show with The Apple Tree and finished with Stay Out – and got the whole crowd up on their feet to join in.

“It was amazing seeing her coming and joining everyone afterwards at the Eden Opening Party.”

BBS is a festival of contemporary and traditional culture and a huge public celebration of the birthday of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns, in his beloved town of Dumfries. It is also part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals (a programme of events managed by EventScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government) and attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK and overseas.

The festival is made possible by support from many organisations including Creative Scotland, 8020 and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Beacon Event Programme.

Once again BBS has teamed up with other local festivals and promoters to present eclectic club nights which include the Eden Opening Party.

The carnival is supported by the Robertson Trust, Holywood Trust and Awards for All. Year of Food and Drink Scotland will build on the momentum generated by Homecoming Scotland 2014 with a series of exciting events and activities celebrating Scotland’s outstanding natural larder.

To see the Burns Night carnival live online just go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQRxrNwr7lA

This year Big Burns Supper has teamed up with Barnardo’s Scotland as its first ever charity partner. Text BURNS to 70500 to donate £3 to Barnardo’s Scotland.

Fun, Colour and Spectacle – the Making of Burns Night Carnival

24 January 2015

Watch live online as 2015 lanterns light up the streets of Dumfries for this year’s huge procession.

Huge Tattie-bogle scarecrows, giant fish and 2,015 lanterns will be among the interactive puppets, floats and other colourful features of the spectacular Burns Night carnival in Dumfries on Sunday.

Organisers gave a sneak preview today of some of the amazing puppets which community
groups, schools and others have been creating for the past few months.

The carnival is one of the highlights of Big Burns Supper, a nine-day festival of music,
comedy, theatre, cabaret, culture and fun. This year the carnival is taking Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and UNESCO’s 2015 Year of Light as its themes.

Scottish Government Minister Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Europe and International Development, will be travelling to Dumfries for the event and to meet the team that has created the carnival.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Artistic Director, said: “It’s a huge piece of work to create a carnival, but it’s great because so many people get involved. We have volunteers of all ages, schools, community groups and others. They spend months in planning and making the costumes, learning dances and getting everything to look just right.

“The lanterns will look brilliant and we will have around 2015 of them especially for the Year of Light. But really, nothing could be better than a food and drink theme for a carnival on Burns Night when people all round the world will be thinking about Scottish cooking as they tuck into haggis neeps and tatties.

“We are really looking forward to the event and welcoming people from all over Dumfries
and Galloway, Scotland and beyond to be part of a magical occasion. And we are delighted to be able to welcome Mr Yousaf to Dumfries to share in these fabulous celebrations.

“It’s also good news that anyone who can’t make it in person can see it live online.”

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Europe and International Development, said: “The chosen themes of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and UNESCO’s Year of Light lend themselves to what will be a spectacular carnival. The Big Burns Supper’s national and international standing continues to grow thanks to the talented local team behind it and the people of Dumfries and Galloway. The event will be part of great final weekend to Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

“The crowds in Dumfries will be joined by Scots and Scots-at-heart from around the world
on Sunday to celebrate one of our greatest ever sons, Robert Burns. Wherever you are and
whoever you’re with, I hope you join in and celebrate Burns Night and his enduring legacy.”  

The carnival has taken months of preparation with the organisers working closely with
schools, community groups and many others to plan and create the costumes and the floats.

Here are a few statistics to give an idea of the size of the event and what it takes to make it look so special.

Making the costumes, lanterns and floats involved:

 900m square of modelling foam

 100 metres squared of tissue paper

 200m of polypipe tubing

 100 square metres of metal foil

 150 litres of glue

 6 km of sticky tape

 12 km of willow

There will be:

 6 main floats

 6 bands

 432 specially made costumes from 20 community artists

 2015 lanterns

 4,000 participants in the parade

Costumes will include a giant haggis, vegetables and tattie-bogle scarecrows, plus all sorts of creatures from the oceans.

The carnival starts at 5pm on Sunday, 25 January and will be led by a huge lantern which has been made in conjunction with Barnardo’s Scotland, which is Big Burns Supper’s partner charity.

Around 25% of the materials used in the carnival (for example a lot of cardboard and some
of the costumes) are recycled and remodelled from last year. And each year BBS finds ways
to reuse materials, for example by donating them to other arts projects.

BBS is a festival of contemporary and traditional culture and a huge public celebration of
the birthday of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns, in his beloved town of Dumfries. It is also part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals (a programme of events managed by EventScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government) and attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK and overseas.

The festival is made possible by support from many organisations including Creative Scotland, 8020 and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Beacon Event Programme.Once again BBS has teamed up with other local festivals and promoters to present eclectic club nights which include the Eden Opening Party.

The carnival is supported by the Robertson Trust, Holywood Trust and Awards for All. Year of Food and Drink Scotland will build on the momentum generated by Homecoming Scotland 2014 with a series of exciting events and activities celebrating Scotland’s outstanding natural larder.

To see the Burns Night carnival live online just go to

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQRxrNwr7lA

This year Big Burns Supper has teamed up with Barnardo’s Scotland as its first

ever charity partner. Text BURNS to 70500 to donate £3 to Barnardo’s Scotland.

Vaselines Lead the Glasgow Charge at Europe’s Largest Winter Fringe Festival

Vaselines Lead the Glasgow Charge at Europe’s Largest Winter Fringe Festival

24 January 2015

The Vaselines – loved by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain – head the list of talent from Glasgow and the west taking part in the Big Burns Supper.

BBS, in Dumfries, is one of Scotland’s first major events of 2015. It’s a nine-day festival of contemporary and traditional culture and a huge public celebration of the birthday of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns. BBS is also part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals (a programme of events managed by EventScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government) and attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK and overseas.

The Vaselines will appear on Saturday, 31 January, at the main venue, The Spiegeltent which is a 1930s-style circular marquee, lined with mirrors and stained glass, which can hold an audience of 500. Other acts playing there during the festival include Nina Nesbitt, Hue and Cry and the Undertones.

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Festival Artistic Director, said: “Big Burns Supper is an amazingly colourful and fun festival – and we are really looking forward to welcoming the Vaselines as an important part of the mix. This will be a fabulous night out for all their Scottish fans and, as everyone who loves Kurt Cobain knows, it’s a chance to get close to Nirvana.

“Lots of people travel from Glasgow and the west to be part of an event which brings some real cheer to the dreich days of January. In 2015 we hope to welcome yet more people from the west of Scotland for an event which has now grown into Europe’s largest winter fringe festival.”

BBS features 140 events which are taking place during BBS from 23-31 January. A highlight will be the Burns Night street carnival on 25 January which will feature bands, huge interactive puppets and hundreds of costumed performers. As 2015 is the UNESCO Year of Light one of the main features of the carnival will be lanterns made and carried by people from all across the region.

Other acts with roots in the west include:

· Hector Bizerk – Their live show is something of a cultural phenomenon combining front-man Louie’s razor sharp poetry with the incredible tribal rhythms of Audrey Tait and grooving funk bass lines of Fraser Sneddon to create a crescendo of thought-provoking music that encapsulates audiences to move both mentally and physically.

· Caileag – Scottish folk trio plus guitar, fiddles and piano. Fresh from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Caileag promise a night filled with Burns songs, folk tunes and traditional Scottish music.

· Erica Von Stein – a young poet from Glasgow who performs her work at events across the UK and wrote the welcoming ceremony for the Commonwealth
Games 2014.

· Quirky Jade – acapella trio who perform a mixture of Scottish, folk, African and modern songs. They came together in 2003 and recorded their album “Quirky” in 2011. On their home patch of Renfrewshire they are well known for singing at Burns Night celebrations. They are now in the studio recording again.

· Fine voice and Mesmerising Guitar – from Glasgow and Paisley, Pauline Alexander and Edwin Gallacher perform across Britain. Pauline’s beautiful vocals and Edwin’s mesmerising fingerstyle guitar, secured them a place as Isambard Folk Award finalists this year with their blend of contemporary, folk, easy listening and blues.

· LOOP Theatre – Glasgow’s newest integrated physical theatre company channel the words, beats and songs of the Bard in a celebration of the underdog. Look Beyond challenges our perceptions on disability and art. The cast and musicians have devised this performance, inspired by works such as “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose.”

· Melanie Jordan and Caitlin Skinner – a show called Sanitise where a woman alone discovers there is something dark living beneath the bath. A playful and original production without words combining physical theatre, dance, music and multimedia to explore our most intimate insecurities and fantasies.

The festival is made possible by support from many organisations including Creative Scotland, 8020 and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Beacon Event Programme.

Once again BBS has teamed up with other local festivals and promoters to present eclectic club nights which include the Eden Opening Party.

The carnival is supported by the Robertson Trust, Holywood Trust and Awards for All. Year of Food and Drink Scotland will build on the momentum generated by Homecoming Scotland 2014 with a series of exciting events and activities celebrating Scotland’s outstanding natural larder.

This year Big Burns Supper is proud to announce that it has teamed up with Barnardo’s Scotland as its first ever charity partner.

Major names and emerging talent head for Big Burns Supper

24 January 2015

Major names and emerging talent head for Big Burns Supper

Nina Nesbitt and Craig Hill will be among the top acts from Edinburgh to perform at Big Burns Supper this Year.

BBS, in Dumfries, is one of Scotland’s first major events of 2015. It’s a nine-day festival of contemporary and traditional culture and a huge public celebration of the birthday of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns. BBS is also part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals (a programme of events managed by EventScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government) and attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK and overseas.

Nina Nesbitt will appear on Friday, 23 January, followed by Craig Hill on Tuesday, 27 January, at the main venue, The Spiegeltent which is a 1930s-style circular marquee, lined with mirrors and stained glass, which can hold an audience of 500. Other acts playing there during the festival include Hector Bizerk, Hue and Cry and the Undertones.

Nina Nesbitt said: “I can’t wait to play at Big Burns Supper. It’ll be so nice to be back in my home country. As a lover of poems and lyrics I’m so glad it’s to celebrate the life of Robert Burns.”

Craig Hill said: “I’m just so chuffed to be part of such a great line up of events and what a brilliant idea to have a whole festival based around Rabbie Burns! I love that we’re celebrating our national bard and sharing his songs and poems with as many people as possible from far and wide….and it’s nine days long! Now that’s what I call a celebration! “

Graham Main, Big Burns Supper Festival Artistic Director, said: “Big Burns Supper is an amazingly colourful and fun festival – and we are really looking forward to welcoming Nina Nesbitt and Craig Hill as an important part of the mix. This will be a fabulous night out for all their Scottish fans, and will surely be a night to remember, filled with comedy and music.

“Lots of people travel from Edinburgh and the east to be part of an event which brings some real cheer to the dreich days of January. In 2015 we hope to welcome yet more people from the east of Scotland for an event which has now grown into Europe’s largest winter fringe festival.”

BBS features 140 events which are taking place during BBS from 23-31 January. A highlight will be the Burns Night street carnival on 25 January which will feature bands, huge interactive puppets and hundreds of costumed performers. As 2015 is the UNESCO Year of Light one of the main features of the carnival will be lanterns made and carried by people from all across the region.

Other acts with roots in the east include:

· Viewmaster – Ryan Van Winkle and musician Dan Gorman lead you on a playful, sometimes surreal, journey to a distant land and bring you back in under 15 minutes. Ryan is Poet in Residence at Edinburgh City Libraries. In 2012 his show Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel, was one of the top ten best-rated shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Dan is a musician who has done field recordings in Afghanistan, Syria and an abandoned military base in Germany.

· Sanitise – Melanie Gordon and Caitlin Skinner (from Edinburgh and Glasgow) take a theatrical journey through the fantasy world of one woman alone in her bathroom. Combining physical theatre, dance, music and illustration, Sanitise is a quirky, imaginative production that follows one woman’s quest for domestic and sexual liberation.

Once again BBS has teamed up with other local festivals and promoters to present eclectic club nights which include the Eden Opening Party.

The carnival is supported by the Robertson Trust, Holywood Trust and Awards for All. Year of Food and Drink Scotland will build on the momentum generated by Homecoming Scotland 2014 with a series of exciting events and activities celebrating Scotland’s outstanding natural larder.

This year Big Burns Supper is proud to announce that it has teamed up with Barnardo’s Scotland as its first ever charity partner.

Disability-led theatre company are looking for Scotland’s undiscovered disabled artists

24 January 2015

Birds of Paradise Theatre Company launch nation-wide talent search.

​After the success of the Paralympic opening ceremony in finding hidden disabled talent, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company are searching Scotland to find undiscovered deaf and disabled performers. Following the critical and popular success of their most recent show Wendy Hoose, Birds of Paradise believe the time is ripe to increase representation of people with impairments on stage and screen.

​Garry Robson, one of the company’s Artistic Directors, said ​“We had a simple question – where are the disabled performers of the future in Scotland?”

​To answer that question, Birds of Paradise are launching Looking for Talent (L4T) ​ a large scale outreach project designed to find deaf and disabled people who could be the professional actors and theatre makers of tomorrow. The company are working with partner groups and venues throughout Scotland to deliver workshops during the early part of 2015 building towards an intensive programme later in the year year. Partners include; ​Dundee Rep Theatre, Eden Court Theatre (Inverness), Electric Theatre Workshop (Dumfries) and Aberdeen Performing Arts

​The first stage of this process will be a roadshow which will visit various parts of Scotland giving an introduction to deaf and disability arts and creative access followed by group workshops and individual auditions auditions for deaf and disabled people interested in theatre and performance.

​From these events Birds of Paradise will identify a group of individuals to work with them to create a new show written by leading Scottish playwright David Greig.

​Robert Gale, the company’s other Artistic Director, said: “We are eager to identify a pool of highly talented disabled people from around Scotland who are ready to develop their skills and experience and become readily employable performance and theatre artists for any company in Scotland, the UK or further afield”

​Garry Robson said: ​“The day will introduce participants to the work of professional deaf and disabled performers in Scotland and beyond and demonstrate how this influx of new artists and the imaginative application of access is changing the face of modern theatre and performance.”

Choirs Think Big For Burns

Choirs Think Big For Burns

24 January 2015

Big Burns Supper audiences are in for a treat with two of the finest vocal ensembles from each side of the Pond. Countermeasure, from Toronto, Canada, is the new ‘a cappella’ sound in vocal music, known for their upbeat presentation, sophisticated harmonies, and infectious energy. InChorus, the celebrated community choir from Peebles, boasts 100 singers from all ages and backgrounds that form a musically powerful choir capable of entertaining a broad range of audiences. The two groups will be featured in the Transatlantic Songbook Concert on Sunday, January 25 at 11 a.m. in the Spiegeltent the Big Burns Supper. Ticket are available at the Festival box office on Munches St, by phone at 01387 271820, or online at http://2014.bigburnssupper.com/transatlantic-songbook.php

Big Burns Supper is Europe’s Largest Winter Fringe Festival. Headquartered in Dumfries, it is one of Scotland’s fast-growing cultural events. Hundreds of people take part in one of Scotland’s biggest community celebrations that spans across 9 days, 100 different shows in over 50 different venues and boasts the World’s biggest Burn’s Night Celebration.

Led by award-winning composer/arranger Aaron Jensen, and featuring 14 of Canada’s top young vocal talent, Countermeasure’s genre-defying, contemporary sound has earned the group critical and public acclaim. From Cole Porter to the Beatles to Feist, Countermeasure delivers a memorable musical experience. Songs range from lively pop, jazz, and contemporary, to originals, sung in complex but playful arrangements highlighting the breadth and range of the voice. They will be performing songs from their award-winning debut CD, “14 Characters”. “We challenge expectations with a fresh and innovative approach to well-known and new pieces,” says General Manager and bass singer J-M Erlendson. Formed in 2010 and now dubbed “the leading a cappella chorus out of Toronto” by the Washington Examiner, the group has won praise from critics and fans. “Riding the hot a cappella singing craze, Countermeasure, from Toronto, Canada, is one of the hottest new vocal groups” wrote the Annapolis Patch.

InChorus was founded in 2008 in Peebles in the Scottish Borders. 97 people turned up to the opening rehearsal and the choir remains 100-strong today. They’ve filled Edinburgh’s Usher Hall and Festival Theatre twice, and performed sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Fringe by the Sea. In 2011 they sang at the 10th anniversary commemorations of 9/11 in New York. Last year they won ‘Choir of the Day’ at the BBC’s ‘Choir of the Year’. This spirited choir presents contemporary works in a unique mixture of the modern and classic under the musical direction of Aly Skidmore. She said, “We are delighted to share the stage with Countermeasure and are looking forward to joining forces in a vibrant and entertaining choral show for the festival. Canada has a strong affinity with Scotland and what better way to celebrate this than by singing at this special concert on the anniversary of Robert Burn’s birthday.”

InChorus is a registered charity, and raises funds for local and national causes.

Jack Findlay, from the Big Burns Supper, said, “We are delighted to be bringing together artists from as far apart as Toronto and Peebles to perform in our Spiegeltent. Merged with the appetite for local community choirs in Dumfries and Galloway, we are providing a musical smorgasbordfor culture hungry audiences. We can’t wait to hear the choirs perform.”

Countermeasure’s appearance is made possible by the generous support of Ontario Media Development Corporation, Ontario Arts Council, FACTOR. We acknowledge the financiasupport of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters.

Transatlantic Songbook is presented by the Dumfries Community Choir.

For artist information, visit www.countermeasuremusic.com and www.inchorus.org.uk.

For festival information, visit www.bigburnssupper.com

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:        

J-M Erlendson, General Manager

info@countermeasuremusic.com

416-605-8123

Lorna Turnbull, InChorus Choir Manager

manager@inchoruschoir.co.uk

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