South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine led a debate in the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the Opening of the Big Burns Supper Festival in Dumfries.


Members Chic Brodie, Elaine Murray, Hanzala Malik and Alex Fergusson; spoke alongside Ms McAlpine and Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop MSP to congratulate the organisers of the world’s biggest Burns festival.


Margaret Wood – who sits on the Festival’s Board of Directors was also in attendance, accompanied by former Chairman Councillor Andrew Wood.


Ms McAlpine used the debate to highlight the exciting line up of events and musicians scheduled to take place in honour of the Bards’ birthday during the festival which runs from the 24th until the 26th of January.


The SNP MSP said:


“This festival brings Burns back into the heart of the community he loved and, indeed, into the hearts of the people who live there.


“Burns was an innovator and an internationalist, as well as a proud Scot, and the Big Burns Supper festival reflects all those facets of his personality.


“The festival is a collective community achievement. The strength of the festival team is testament to the talent in this town and the number of local volunteers reflects its strong sense of neighbourliness.”


Dick Gaughan, Big Country, the Hackney Colliery Band, local rock legend Cammy Black and Concha Buika the Miami based Cuban-Flamenco singer are among the musicians performing.


Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop MSP said:


“I congratulate all those who are involved in the Big Burns Supper festival, including the thousands of people from local communities who have worked so hard with partners on the organising team to help build the momentum towards the festival and to make it such a huge success.


“The story, poetry, art and heritage of Robert Burns is part of the attraction of Scotland, and year after year visitors flock to find out more about him. His emotional response to old Scotia, his homeland, has particular resonance this year because Hogmanay 2013 also marked the start of the second year of homecoming—a year of celebrations in which we will welcome the world to our great country and celebrate the very best of Scotland’s food and drink, our unique active and natural resources and our world-renowned creativity, culture and ancestral heritage.”



A Link to the official report of the debate can be found here: