January 2015

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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