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