Big Burns Supper toasts the Scottish Bard as the blistering, contemporary arts festival gets underway

The Big Burns Supper, now into its seventh edition wears its hard earned title of the world’s biggest Burns celebration with pride. The festival, which kicked off on the 18th and runs until 28th January, rocks the historical town of Dumfries with a heady mixture of cabaret, comedy, music and entertainment in the most modern of Scotland's celebrations of the National Bard, Robert Burns.

The contemporary arts festival transforms Dumfries into a virtual Burns Supper, bringing Burns to a new generation through bold, fresh and contemporary programming which is routed in the essence of a Burns Supper, bringing people together in friendship, solidarity and togetherness.

The hugely eclectic programme features a mix of local, national and international talent, who perform to audiences of over 30,000, across 200 live events taking place in over 30 pop-up and permanent venues across 11 culture packed days as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, supported by the Scottish Government.  

The opening weekend of the festival has been a storming success, with Queer Haggis raising the curtain and eyebrows with an epic LGBTQ party alongside sell out shows and a blistering start from the festivals own Le Haggis, Scotland’s only home grown five-star cabaret company.

With a full week still to come, there’s plenty of world class talent still on offer including: French comedian Marcel Lucont, Mercury Prize winner Badly Drawn Boy, Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers, legendary songwriter credited with influencing The Beatles and Bob Dylan, Donovan and hip hop rapper Ocean Wisdom, hailed as the ‘future of UK hip hop’, who are all still set to descend on Dumfries for a Burns celebration unlike any other on the planet.

On the 25th January, Burns Night, celebrations will peak with the magical Rabbie’s Birthday Lantern Procession through the streets of Dumfries followed by an alternative Burns Night Supper with Scottish artists Emily Smith and Robyn Stapleton alongside a host of local acts broadcasting to the world in the festival’s special Burns Night Live show which is beamed from the Spiegeltent on Burns Night across the globe, followed by a very special performance from Scottish singer songwriter Eddi Reader.

The Big Burns Supper brings residents and visitors together to experience world class comedy, cabaret and music worked around the theatrical story of Robert Burns in the arts led, sociable style of Burns to create a unique homage to the Bard.

Big Burns Supper Festival is a non-profit event, produced by local charity Electric Theatre Workshop Ltd.

Executive Producer, Graham Main said;

“In 2012 we created the Big Burns Supper to welcome visitors and friends to our home here in Dumfries to celebrate the essence of Burns - a community coming together for an arts led social celebration. Our seventh festival is now well and truly underway and we couldn’t be any prouder of this year’s programme which is our biggest and boldest to date, featuring the finest Scottish and international artists.

Burns Suppers have been bringing people together for many years, they have just gotten a little dusty and needed refreshed. The Big Burns Supper has created an entire Fringe Festival around the meaning of Burns Night, with the Dumfries community at its heart. We have recruited local pubs and venues to get on board and this year we present over 200 shows in 30 different venues over 11 days for what will be a modern, diverse Burns celebration unlike any other in the world.”

Guests will also get the chance to take part in an exciting global virtual toast to our national Bard by posting an image of their Burns celebrations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #CheerstoRabbie. Those images will be brought together on to show Burns fans toasting the poet from every corner of the globe.

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan, said;

“Inspired by celebration, culture is truly embraced at Big Burns Supper – one of the best events in Scotland at which to celebrate Scotland’s most famous poet.

“Burns Night is one of Scotland’s most well-known and best loved national days, celebrated by millions around the world. Every year on January 25th, the day of his birth, Scots, and Scots at heart remember the life and cultural legacy of Burns by attending events across the world, and Big Burns Supper promises to be a great one.

“The #CheersToRabbie campaign will also give people across the country the opportunity to join thousands across the globe who will toast the national Bard whilst enjoy food, poetry and celebrations, raising a glass to Burns from every corner of the world.”

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