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Making big changes for Burns festival

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By Donald Turvill
Dumfries and West
Making big changes for Burns festival

A BAN on single use plastics, a new winter programme and a pledge to make use of empty buildings in Dumfries — these are just some of the changes set to be introduced by the Big Burns Supper following a community consultation.

Festival organisers received feedback from over 3000 people as part of the first stages of planning for next year’s events.

After sifting through responses, the team has committed to implementing seven key recommendations made through the consultation.

They include the creation of a Winter Fringe Festival run by the Big Burns Supper, which organisers say will have “more space and time for local and visiting audiences to make more of the festival experience and destination”.

In an effort to reduce negative perceptions of the festival and reduce disturbance, a new 10.30 pm curfew on weekday events and ban on loud music after 12.30 am on weekends will be imposed.

The 2022 line-up is also set to see more comedy, family, theatre, dance and hybrid experiences running at different times of the day to diversify the range of events on offer.

And there will be “higher levels of community engagement”, including the return of free community-based programmes like Dumfries Carnival, which it is hoped will “help offer opportunities to create multiculturalism”.

Following the success of this year’s Big Burns Supper At Home, which attracted more than 300,000 viewers worldwide, more future events will be streamed online in a bid to “sustain global interest” in the festival.

Promoters will also look to attract additional funds through public investment to meet programme costs and “reduce the risk the festival charity assumes for the event”.

In response to the climate crisis, there will be a ban on all single use plastics across the festival site, whilst drinks will be served in reusable polycarbonate cups.

Furthermore, organisers will be looking to utilise several of Dumfries town centre’s empty buildings for next year’s programme – and plan to do so by working in partnership with other local organisations.

Meanwhile, the first set of acts for the 2022 Big Burns Supper will be announced next week.

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