Cumbrian favourites will be joining big names in comedy and music at the Big Burns Supper festival across Dumfries in the new year.
Comedians Russell Kane, Nish Kumar, Rosie Jones and Rich Hall, and musicians Eddi Reader and The Skids top the bill in January along with festival favourites Skerryvore, Scottish Album of the Year 2021 contenders Stanley Odd, the return of Celtic cabaret Le Haggis Royal and London African Gospel Choir performing a special rendition of Paul Simon’s Graceland.
Appearing alongside them will be Penrith’s Soul Junction, murder mystery company Highly Suspect, musical duo A Little of Us, and Carlisle band Hardwicke Circus, the fourth time they will have played at the festival.
Zoe Leigh Gadd of Carlisle contemporary dance company Dance Ahead will be the lead dance artist for Dumfries Carnival on January 29.
Now in its 11th year, the organisers promise a return ‘as close to normal as possible’ for the 2022 festival which runs from January 14-30, with the focus on supporting the recovery of the local community and freelance economy.
An increase in comedy signals a refreshed vision for the Big Burns Supper to develop as Scotland’s Winter Fringe Festival, which includes the same number of events but over a longer period to help accommodate audience capacity, public health measures and to offer a relaxed experience.
It opens with the Eden Winter Warmer, a magical winter celebration in partnership with the Eden Festival.
The festival is also increasing its range of talks and demonstrations with environmental scientist Dr Tara Shine sharing her views on How to save your planet one day at a time, Bake-off winner Edd Kimber giving a bakery demonstration in The Boy who Bakes, and members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) talking about how they supported miners during the 1980s strikes.
The dates to catch the local acts are January 15 at the Cairndale Hotel for Highly Suspect and January 29 for Soul Junction.
Community engagement remains at the of the festival, including the return of the much-loved Dumfries Carnival, commitment to utilise empty buildings in Dumfries town centre as festival spaces and Stand-Up Dumfries, a new stand-up comedy show showcasing local comedic talent.
There are also more than 190 free shows and events, showcasing and supporting local talent.
Graham Main, chief executive of Big Burns Supper, said: “Our line-up and remodelled festival includes as much humour and community togetherness as we could possibly achieve.
“We’ve always enjoyed huge support from Cumbria and hope to see many people coming over the border for the festival to start 2022 in the best possible way.”