The annual winter arts and culture festival in Dumfries is planning its biggest and boldest programme to date as it announces the lineup for its seventh edition


Comedian Bill Bailey and musician Badly Drawn Boy have been announced among the acts to appear at the seventh edition of the Big Burns Supper – the annual arts and culture festival staged in Dumfries.

The multivarious Irish musician Camille O’Sullivan, electro-instrumentalists Public Service Broadcasting, French comedian Marcel Lucont and Scottish singer songwriter Eddie Reader will also appear at the festival, which runs in venues acoss the town from January 18-28.

Organisers say the Burns-inspired festival will be a “celebration unlike any other on the planet” as they confirmed the return of the iconic Spiegeltent which will house many performances including Le Haggis, Scotland’s ‘finest five-star cabaret experience’.

Big Burns Supper is now entering its seventh year and last year attracted attendances of more than 30,000 across 11 days of music, theatre, comedy, cabaret and children’s events. Situated in the heart of Robert Burns country, the Big Burns Supper is one of Scotland’s fastest-growing cultural events and now a firm fixture on the Winter Festivals calendar.

Executive Producer Graham Main said: “The full line-up makes this our most ambitious festival in our seven years, and we are thrilled to welcome diverse artists to the already jam-packed programme. Our 2018 Festival programme is about experiencing something different by bringing our audience to our festival hub which is reclaiming its rightful position in the centre of Dumfries, at the heart of the amazing venues that help make our programme incredible.”

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan, added: “The festival is adopting a modern, creative twist to celebrate our national bard. Big Burns Supper has created a world-class programme that will include concerts and outdoor events planned across Dumfries.”

Hip hop rapper Ocean Wisdom hailed as the ‘future of UK hip hop’ and iconic Scottish pop band, Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers, will also descend on the town.

Festival organisers Electric Theatre Workshop also confirmed the Spiegeltent will host Queer Haggis, the biggest LGBT party in Dumfries and Galloway starring home-grown artists.

Other top acts confirmed to appear include one of Scotland’s most celebrated musicians, Dougie MacLean, legendary songwriter credited with influencing The Beatles and Bob Dylan, Donovan, Irish pioneers of the Celt Grass movement, We Banjo 3, 2017 Edinburgh Fringe smash hit Trumpageddon, Dumfries & Galloway legends ONR and the rocket-fuelled Dangleberries as well as a Jamaican dub outfit Jamaica Sings Robert Burns and many others throughout the 11 days of the festival.


The family programme includes brand new children’s theatre, as well as the return of the sell -out Roller Disco, including special sessions just for the under 5’s.

On the 25th January, celebrations will get underway with the magical Rabbie’s Birthday Lantern Procession through the streets of Dumfries followed by an alternative Burns Night Supper with 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.

A brand new Free Fringe will run from the Festival site each day, featuring over 100 different acts presented, including a brand-new show case of the region’s school talent, as well as local favourites Ward & Watson, LOKA, Stoney Broke and Scott Maxwell.

The inaugural Dumfries Fringe – the newest part of the festival includes up to 60 shows and events taking place in venues across Dumfries featuring highly acclaimed performers such as; UK physical comedy sensation The Kagools, top reviewed Edinburgh Fringe comedian Jay Lafferty, ‘son-of-a drag’ queen Alfie Ordinary, 2015 Brighton Fringe Nominated magician Tony Roberts.

The D-Lux, Festival of Light makes a return with an even bigger programme of installations and events beaming across the winter night sky throughout the Big Burns Supper.

The festival also presents a range of new experiences including a brand-new ballroom dancing masterclass, Ballroom Blitz which will culminate in a big band event, live from the Spiegeltent, and free cooking demonstrations in the festival hub.

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 will raise the roof in their eclectic style as they play a post Le Haggis late night special on Saturday 27th.

The festival team will move into a new pop up venue on the Whitesands on the 15th November and tickets for all events can be purchased through the festival website or by calling 01387 271820.