Acts announced for BBS 2019, KT Tunstall, Craig Charles and Talisk set to steal the show

By lee medd

Big Burns Supper the world’s biggest contemporary Burns celebration takes place from 24th January – 3rd February 2019


KT Tunstall, Frank Turner, Ed Byrne and Craig Charles feature in the line up for the Big Burns Supper 2019 festival announced today.

They headline a programme of Scottish and international artists for the biggest contemporary celebration of Scotland’s national poet in town he called home, Dumfries.

Big Burns Festival 2019 runs from 24th January – 3rd February with over 111 events transforming the historic town with a blistering cultural celebration.

Scottish rocker KT Tunstall will lead the celebration on January 25th for Burns Night Live which will be very far from the traditional formalities of a Burns Supper.

Award-winning contemporary Scottish folk band, The Peatbog Faeries and psychedelic cult rockers, Colonel Mustard & the Dijon Five will also join comedians, celebrity hosts and some of Scotland’s top party animals to blow the roof off the world famous Spiegeltent for a Burns celebration quite unlike any other in the world.

That’s just for starters, the party doesn’t stop after Burns Night at Big Burns Supper.


The festival plays host to a hugely exciting array of musical talent to suit every possible predilection. Acoustic-folk extraordinaire and one of the UK’s finest singer/songwriters Frank Turner (31st Jan) shares classic hits and tracks from his new album with an intimate solo performance. Actor, presenter, DJ, funk and soul icon, Craig Charles (1st Feb) will keep the dancefloor packed into the wee small hours followed by a very special afternoon celebration of Scottish trad music as one of the fastest rising bands on the UK Folk scene, Talisk join Tide Lines (2nd Feb) an upcoming powerful 4-piece from the Highlands for a proper foot-stomping workout!

The London Gospel Community Choir (26th Jan) one of the UK’s leading gospel choir who have performed alongside the likes of Tina Turner, Puff Daddy and Sting bring their stunning harmonies followed that night by an entirely different musical experience with Ibiza Live (26th Jan), think a collision of DJ’s, sax, live bands and circus for a late-night party. Leading contemporary chamber ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble (28th Jan) who have established themselves as one of the foremost chamber music collectives in the UK delight audiences with celebration of trios, and quintets including Bach and Mozart.


Comedy plays a strong hand across the festival programme featuring some of the best comedic talents from around the world including; top Irish stand-up comedian, TV presenter and actor Ed Byrne (1st Feb), Scottish comic, BBC Radio 4 Sketchtopia host, Celebrity Big Brother star and Question Time and This Week regular Hardeep Singh Kohli (27th Jan) and International superstar, the boy wonder of Berlin, Hans Like a German (27th Jan) who is currently staring in America’s Got Talent!


The Big Burns Festival Fringe runs every Friday and Saturday of the festival with an innovative and challenging programme designed to showcase emerging artists and new work from established companies. Performances are housed in the pop-up festival venue, The Container Theatre which was created by festival organisers last year as part of their continued commitment to support theatre performers, producers and directors with accessible performance space and programming. Programme highlights include; We know now Snowmen Exist, is a ground-breaking piece of new writing which has emerged from the festivals Creative Sparks programme for new ideas, and tells the story of four girls who go missing in the Scottish mountains. Alan Bissett offers a distinctly Fife perspective with the highly comical The Moira Monologues, and if kitchen sink sounds too much like your own life, there is always the highly entertaining Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppetry.  


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 a heart wrenching Celtic rock harmony laid on rhythmic tribal anthem from an incredible live band of Scottish musicians alongside an international host of variety acts. It’s not La Clique and it’s not La Soiree, it’s Le Haggis and it’s a Scottish national treasure. Returning after last year’s storming success is Queer Haggis (26th Jan) which this year welcomes a brand-new cast of the nation’s most celebrated LGBT artists peppered with a tight bondage of cabaret, aerial acrobatics, drag and disco.


Big Burns Supper 2019 ensures that audiences of all ages are welcome to celebrate together. Kicking off with the Youth Beatz Take Over (24th Jan) when for one night only Scotland’s biggest free youth music festival will take over the BBS Spiegeltent for a brilliant night of live music and DJs. Following a hugely successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018, strap on your safety goggles and get ready of science’s greatest and most volatile show, Brainiac Live! (2nd Feb). A fabulous Family Roller Disco (26th Jan) and the return of last year’s hit Baby Loves Disco (27th Jan) alongside a very special Family Sunday (27th Jan) featuring a blend of locally sourced bands including up and coming Kasama, and Juke Box Bingo which is in interactive musical quiz for all the family and completely free. The festival retains its popular kids go free at music shows offer, as well as the students go free offer to help encourage audiences of the future.

Big Burns Supper 2019 will conclude with an interactive arcade game projected through centre of Dumfries with computer games being played on buildings as the finale light show to the festival which will run from the 31st January– 3rd February, titled, Arcade and co-produced by live art agency, D-Lux.

Executive Producer, Graham Main said: “Our 2019 Festival is packed full of surprises, featuring big names acts alongside quirky and interactive moments for everyone to enjoy. There isn’t a Spiegeltent programme in the world that beats our artistically diverse and intimate programme, offering local audiences and visitors a warmly authentic winter festival experience.”

“2019 marks the eighth year of the Big Burns Supper and we are hugely grateful to our loyal local audiences who support every aspect of the festival, from buying tickets to performing themselves. This local support, coupled with the thousands of visitors and new audiences our festival attracts gives Big Burns Supper it’s heart. It’s the sense of togetherness, of coming together to celebrate culture in the dark winter nights that Burns himself held dear and which Burns Supper’s all over the world seek to mark, we just pride ourselves in doing it a bit differently here in Dumfries!”

KT Tunstall said: “I’m delighted to be a part of 2019’s Big Burns Supper. It’s always fun to celebrate Burns Night, but it’s been a long time since I spent one in Scotland, so I’m definitely doing it right in 2019!”

Minister for Europe, International Development and Europe Ben Macpherson, said: “The Big Burns Supper is a great occasion to bring together audiences from far and wide and showcase Scottish and international talent.

“Burns Night is one of Scotland’s most well-known and best loved national days, and an opportunity to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of what it means to be Scottish. This year, I invite everyone in Scotland to join the celebrations as a fitting finale to Scotland’s Winter Festivals.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council events champion, Adam Wilson, said “This year’s programme for the Big Burns Supper looks another exceptional one with a superb range of events.   The event always provides a fantastic atmosphere and wonderful crowds. At previous Big Burns Suppers, I’ve spoken to people from all over the country who have travelled to Dumfries for the Big Burns Supper which demonstrates to me how important it is that our council continues to support events locally.

“The Big Burns Supper is one of the Council’s signature events which we fund based on its strategic importance to the industry and impressive cultural benefits and economic impact. Our sustained, targeted investment in the best events projects can ensure many more memorable events in the future and opportunities for local businesses to benefit from the visitors encouraged to visit our region. The extensive range of first-class events and festivals which take place in Dumfries and Galloway is a fantastic tourism asset and can ensure that we continue to build on the fantastic successes.”

2019 marks the eighth edition of the festival which created by festival organisers in 2012 as a coming together of people and culture, centred around the core meaning of a Burns Night celebration, togetherness. The festival has enjoyed steady growth in audiences year on year through passionate local support and innovative programming, bringing top UK and international talent to Dumfries, performing alongside the finest local artists and providing a vital platform for emerging Scottish artists. Big Burns Supper is the local festival that opens its heart to the world.

The 2019 Big Burns Festival runs from 24th January – 3rd February. Tickets are available to book from 30th October via or by calling 01381 271 820.

Big Burns Supper Festival is a non-profit event, produced by local charity Elektronika and has received support through Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

 Category: Big Burns Supper

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