HAVE you been practising your Address to the Haggis?

Burns Night is officially January 25 but the celebrations of our national Bard begin early with events planned around the country to chase away the January blues.

One of the biggest is a new six-day Burns Festival for Edinburgh. Burns & Beyond will celebrate the life of the poet, inviting audiences to discover the very best in creative talents from across Scotland in some of the capital’s most well-known buildings and a few of its more secretive spaces.

The National:

With support from City of Edinburgh Council, Essential Edinburgh, Scotland’s Winter Festivals and Marketing Edinburgh, the festival will run from January 22-27 and will offer something for everybody. This includes dancing, music, theatre, comedy, a family activity along Rose Street and a not-so-traditional Burns Supper, in a vibrant programme of events across the New and Old Towns.


THE centrepiece of Burns & Beyond is the installation of the spectacular Museum of the Moon at St Giles’ Cathedral. This touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram measures seven metres in diameter and features incredibly detailed Nasa imagery of the lunar surface.

Museum of the Moon will be free to visit during daylight hours from January 22-26, but will really come into its own during the dark evenings when the full majesty of the artwork can be

enjoyed along with a specially commissioned musical score.

READ MORE: Auld Lang Syne show follows in Robert Burns's footsteps

These will include an intimate acoustic show and Burns Songs from critically acclaimed “folk-noir” balladeer Rachel Sermanni on January 23, the multi-award winning songwriter and legendary Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble on January 25 and St Giles’ Cathedral Choir on January 24. A Moon by Candlelight evening and a specially commissioned soundscape for piano and electronics composed by Napier University’s Dr John Hails will complete the programme which begins with a “Moon Lecture” by Dr William Taylor from Edinburgh’s Royal Observatory on January 22.


SCOTLAND’S street orchestra Nevis Ensemble’s vision is music for everyone, everywhere, and on January 25 and 26, the collective will be popping up in locations and venues throughout Edinburgh city centre including scheduled stops at schools and community centres.

The National:

On January 26, a Free Family Ceilidh, featuring Edinburgh performers the Kilter Ceilidh Band,­ will bring together traditional dances for a family audience and the Major Minor Music Club will give parents and children the chance to enjoy great music. The performance of the Major Minor Music Club will feature Pictish Trail in a special event.

READ MORE: A crack wi Robert Burns!

The flagship Burns & Beyond Culture Trail will take place on January 26, when audiences will embark on a cultural journey, discovering hidden performances on a trail leading them to eight landmark buildings and secret spaces spread across the city centre. Venues such as St Giles’ Cathedral, Freemason’s Hall, and Assembly Roxy will be transformed, providing surprises throughout the night, as audiences will only find out who is performing in each venue when they get there.



The National:

The Big Burns Festival 2019 runs from January 24 – February 3 in Dumfries with over 111 events transforming the historic town with a blistering cultural celebration and a warm welcome for all. Burns Night Live on January 25 is very far from the traditional formalities of a Burns Supper, as Scottish rocker KT Tunstall, award-winning contemporary Scottish folk band, The Peatbog Faeries, and psychedelic cult rockers, Colonel Mustard & the Dijon Five will join comedians, celebrity hosts and some of Scotland’s top party animals to blow the roof off the famous Spiegeltent for a Burns celebration quite unlike any other. Included in the 2019 line-up are Frank Turner, Ed Byrne, Craig Charles, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Hebrides Ensemble, Bootleg Beetles and Brainiac Live.


IN Perth the illuminations of the Riverside Light Nights festival include a Burns-themed night on January 26. A parade from Perth city centre will end at Norie-Miller where there will be music, poetry, storytelling, comedy and more, along with Scottish and Burns-inspired lighting throughout the evening. The celebration of Burns continues on January 27 with food, drink and plenty of surprises.

Also in Perth, the Burns’ Club annual dinner, one of city’s foremost social occasions, will be held on January 26 when the Immortal Memory will be proposed by Donald Paton, current president of The Burns Club of Vancouver.

In Alloway, the place where it all began, there is a special fundraising event to celebrate the Bard’s birthday hosted by Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum on January 25.

The celebrations begin at the museum on January 18 with an informal Burns Supper and dancing to music by the Borland Ceilidh Band.