The 9th Big Burns Supper, the world’s biggest contemporary Burns celebration, takes place from 23 January – 2 February 2020
Dumfries, one of Scotland’s friendliest towns flings open its doors for 114 events across 11 days of top-class music, comedy, dance and cabaret
Critically acclaimed Band of Burns bring their unique take on the Bard’s works plus original songs inspired by his values for Burns Night Live
Scottish and UK musicians including Newton Faulkner, Morcheeba, Elephant Sessions and Turin Brakes to get Dumfries dancing
International artists Keb Mo and Felice Brothers, and Kingdom Choir
Local community will join forces with artists to create a farewell poem to Europe in the face of Brexit
Tickets on sale from 11th November via www.bigburnssupper.com or by calling 01381 271 820
The world’s biggest contemporary Burns celebration, Big Burns Supper, kicks off on 23 January 2020 in its home of Dumfries for its 9th edition. The festival will run across 11 jam-packed days, from 23 January to 2 February, with world class musicians and performers raising a wee dram to Scotland’s national bard, in the town he called home.
With community at the festival’s core and writ large across every aspect of the festival, Dumfries will once again provide a warm welcome to all those who wish to come and celebrate culture in a spirit of togetherness, as championed by Rabbie himself as the short days and cold nights of winter take hold. Events will take place in a beautiful mirrored Spiegeltent right on the banks of the River Nith, along with the ever-popular Festival Hub tent next door where audiences can catch free live performance from the finest local talent, a pint and a bite to eat.
Big Burns Supper prides itself on bringing the very best genre-spanning musical talent to Dumfries, from folk, trad, rock, blues and just about everything in-between showcased across the festival programme.
On 25 January, a Burns party like no other gets festival revellers dancing in Burns Night Live. Multi award-winning Scots folk band Rura, Dumfries’ own metal heads Turbyne and party starter Kate Kyle will all raise the roof of the tent in a big Burnsian bash to be remembered. The critically acclaimed Band of Burns bring their unique take on the Bard’s works plus original songs inspired by his values. Audiences will also witness a unique collaboration with members from Band of Burns, Afro Celt Sound System, The Langan Band and The Breath who all turn their hand to some of Robert Burns’ most powerful songs. Headlining the night will folk pop troubadour Newton Faulkner performing his smash hit singles from across his 12-year career.
Noughties rockers Turin Breaks will also make an appearance, playing tracks from across their 8-album discography and 1 million worldwide record sales including Top 5 UK hit single ‘Painkiller (Summer Rain)’.
Electronic specialists Morcheeba bring their unique blend of trip hop and rock to Dumfries audiences, performing work from an impressive and much-loved back catalogue of 9 studio albums across the last 2 and half decades.
Following their show stopping performance of Stand By Me at the Royal Wedding on 19 May 2018, led by one of the UK’s most respected gospel tutors and choir conductors Karen Gibson, The Kingdom Choir bring their powerful united sound, warm energy and enthusiastic performance to festival audiences for the first time in 2020.
There’s multiple homegrown folk and trad artists on the bill, firmly cementing Big Burns Supper as a destination for fantastic Scottish music. These include, Celtic rockers Skerryvore, rising indie-folk stars Elephant Sessions.
Since arriving on the scene in the early 1990s, four-time Grammy Award winner, Keb’ Mo’ has earned a reputation for his mastery of multiple blues styles, his ability to combine traditional approaches with a contemporary attitude, and for his timeless storytelling sensibility.
The music festival within a festival, the Sunday Sessions will return on the final day of the Big Burns Supper 2020 for one last hoorah! The full line-up is yet to be announced, but headlining are storming Stornoway trio, Peat and Diesel, renowned for their raucous live shows which has earned them a MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards nomination for ‘Best Live Act of the Year’. Expect local musical talent performing across day and night to end the festival on a high.
Life is a Cabaret
Cabaret is the frantic beating heart of the festival and no stronger example of its ability to provide a contemporary reflection of Burns can be found than through that of the home-grown cabaret smash-hit, Le Haggis. Expect rabble rousing contemporary Celtic rock from house band Face the West, alongside an international host of astounding variety acts from across the globe under the dastardly direction of internationally renowned artist, performer, director and producer Empress Stah. It’s not La Clique and it’s not La Soiree, it’s Le Haggis and it’s a Scottish national treasure!
Another Fringe favourite making its way South West is Massaoke, Britain’s original and best live band singalong party. A brilliant live band smashing out the greatest anthems of all time, big screen lyrics and a crowd singing and dancing their hearts out together is an experience not to be missed!
International touring music-cum-circus superstars, The Electric Swing Circus are bringing their 6-piece fusion of saucy 20’s swing and stomping electro beats to Dumfries. With an explosive sound that reverberates back through time, ESC’s own unique style of swing always brings the party! Their live set includes electric double bass, vintage samples, gypsy-jazz guitar, keys, drums, synths and electro beats. Fronted by a sassy female double-act, the ESC delivers a consistently dazzling show.rs a consistently dazzling show.
A Family Festival
Brand new for this year’s festival is the exciting addition of two performances of Family Le Haggis, bringing all that is brilliant and bizarre from Dumfries’ favourite cabaret show but suitable for audiences young and old. Expect hilarious comedy and jaw-dropping circus skills to astound the whole family!
What better way to start the day than with dancing? Families will need their dancing shoes on for the Silent Disco down in the Spiegeltent, while elsewhere in the family programme there’s Nick Sharratt’s smash hit Shark in the Park as well as two family fun days.
For fans of big band music of yesteryear, look no further than The Glen Miller Orchestra. Plus, the festival’s intergenerational High Tea returns by popular demand in 2020, which includes relaxed performances accompanied by afternoon tea.
It takes a village
The local community is at the very heart of what Big Burns Supper is about. From the producers to the bar staff, the box office to the artist liaisons, this is a festival put on by locals for locals, but also offering a warm Dumfries welcome to anyone who wishes to come and celebrate culture in all forms in the home of Robert Burns.
The Festival Village at Whitesands in central Dumfries will once again be a focal point for both local residents and visitors to meet, share a drink at the bar, grab a bite to eat and experience some brilliant live music from up and coming musical talent, alongside the likes of the Dumfries Town Band and Carlisle Community Choir. A full list of the Festival Hub’s 132 free music performances can be found here: http://bigburnssupper.com/free-music-line-up/.
New for 2020, the festival has also launched an Exclusive Members Lounge where audiences will be able to order pop up entertainment for groups of 15, ranging from folk, cabaret and karaoke.
Brexit is confronted head-on as the community of Dumfries will come together on the 31st January as part of Europa Picnic– a farewell to Europe!, when the local community join forces with artists, poets and songwriters to pen a community wide poem, marking our potential last days as part of the European Union. Audiences will also be able to take part live online.
Executive Producer, Graham Main said: “Next year’s festival heralds the start of a new decade, with redefined borders throughout Europe, and collaboration is a key theme with lot of sessions featuring different artists playing together. Perhaps where politicians have failed, artists and communities might make more sense out of the last couple of years.”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our support for Big Burns Supper in its ninth year as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals. Scotland provides the perfect stage to celebrate our national bard and this eleven-day celebration in Dumfries will showcase the culture and hospitality that our country is famed for.”