'Bolder' Big Burns Supper begins in Dumfries

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image copyrightBig Burns Supper
image captionThe Le Haggis cabaret show is on for a number of nights during the festival

The Big Burns Supper Festival is kicking off in Dumfries with a line-up of more than 200 events.

Among the acts involved are Bill Bailey, Badly Drawn Boy, Donovan, Eddi Reader and Dougie MacLean.

It is the seventh year of the festival and has seen the return of its Spiegeltent venue which was dropped for the last edition.

It has been set up on the town's Whitesands and will host a wide range of acts until 28 January.

image copyrightBig Burns Supper
image captionEddi Reader is a regular at the Big Burns Supper

Associate Producer Jack Finlay said it promised to be a special year for the festival.

"The programme is bigger and bolder than we have ever been before," he said.

image captionComedian Bill Bailey will perform in the Spiegeltent venue

"You have got big names in small places - Bill Bailey is coming to Dumfries.

"I am afraid it is a sold-out gig already - I couldn't even get my granny in if I tried."

image copyrightBig Burns Supper
image captionOrganisers said Donovan's appearance was "hugely significant"

Mr Finlay said that the comedian was not the only big name in the line-up this year.

"Donovan coming to Dumfries is hugely significant," he said.

"Even 40 or 50 years down the line, I can fall in love with Atlantis, Hurdy Gurdy Man or Mellow Yellow."

image copyrightBig Burns Supper
image captionDougie MacLean said he had played in "all kinds of exotic parts of the world"

Another of this year's well-known performers is singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean, who said he was looking forward to playing in Dumfries.

"This will be my 43rd year, I think it is, as a travelling troubadour folk singer and I play in all kinds of places," he said.

"Over the years it has been brilliant, it has allowed me to end up in all kinds of exotic parts of the world.

"I play smaller places, bigger places - it is a wonderfully varied kind of career I have had."

As well as the one-off performances, the Le Haggis cabaret show returns for a number of nights during the festival along with a special procession through Dumfries on Burns Night itself.

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