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Burns 250th Anniversary - Homecoming Scotland 2009




Scotland’s Homecoming year, created and timed to mark the 250th anniversary of national poet Robert Burns, will officially open with a weekend of celebrations in his honour.

Over the weekend of 23rd-25th January, events are planned throughout Scotland, kicking off a 10 month long national programme featuring more than 300 inspirational events that connect with the year’s themes of Burns, golf, whisky, great Scottish minds and innovations and ancestry. Spanning the length and breadth of the country the programme of events has been created to encourage Scots, people with Scots ancestry and those who simply love Scotland to ‘come home’ and celebrate in 2009.

The opening weekend programme includes special events in Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway and Glasgow plus an invitation to join the World Famous Burns Supper Celebration, wherever you are in the world.

Launched this week is Iconic Burns, one of the highlights of the programme Staged in Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns on Saturday 24th January, it will see the village become a focal point for the Burns celebrations. Village locations such as Burns Cottage, The Brig O’ Doon and The Auld Kirk will be brought to life in a one-off extravaganza for this special year. Some of the UK’s top lighting and design artists brought together by UZ Events, are involved in what will be a unique Burns tribute. Free tickets are available by public ballot by registering on the 11th January 2009.

Another highlight is Burns Light on Sunday 25th January, a torchlit procession winding through the historic heart of Dumfries, where Burns spent the latter part of his life. This free event will feature hundreds of lanterns inspired by the works of Burns and paraded past notable locations such as Burns House. The finale takes place at the River Nith where entertainment includes music, film, verse and a spectacular 15 metre high Burns- themed fire sculpture.

In Glasgow, Celtic Connections, Europe’s most popular winter music festival, offers its biggest ever celebration of Burns with an especially extended Homecoming programme. Performers from all over the world as well as Scotland’s finest home-grown talent will unite to honour his great legacy with the likes of Sly and Robbie at Jamaican Burns Night, Eddi Reader at Auld Lang Syne and Bradford Marsalis in the Homecoming Suite. Folks will be able to see in the 25th at the Burns Ceilidh Night or dip in to the free 12 Hour Burns Concert. Between 23rd-25th January, Glasgow City Chambers in George Square will be illuminated with the story of Burns, told in sound and light and on the 25th all the family can join a free musical celebration featuring the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

In Edinburgh there’s a final chance to see Zig Zag: The Paths of Robert Burns at the National Library of Scotland. This exhibition brings together treasures from the National Burns Collection for the first time and will tour to Aberdeen, Dumfries and Glasgow throughout the Homecoming year. Families can join in the fun with special events at the National Library of Scotland, National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

Shirley Bell, Chief Executive of The Robert Burns World Federation said:

“We are delighted that people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe are able to participate in the many splendid Homecoming events taking place during 2009. We are especially pleased that the 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth will set the scene for an exciting year in Scotland’s story.”

The full programme of events is available at


For media enquiries, please contact:
Claire Dickson – International PR Executive, VisitScotland
Tel: +44 (0)131 472 2329
Fiona Stewart – PR Manager, VisitScotland
Tel: +44 (0)131 472 2033

Note to editors

About Homecoming Scotland 2009 (
• Homecoming Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative managed by EventScotland, the national events agency, in partnership with VisitScotland, the country's national tourism agency. The initiative is part financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.
• Robert Burns is the inspiration for Homecoming Scotland as 2009 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet.
• As well as Robert Burns, Homecoming Scotland events are also celebrating some of the other great contributions Scotland has given the world – golf, whisky, great Scottish minds and innovations, and as the ancestral home to millions of people around the world.
• Homecoming Scotland will engage Scots at home as well as motivate people of Scottish descent and those who simply love Scotland, to take part in an inspirational celebration of our culture, heritage and some of the many great contributions Scotland has given to the world.

The Robert Burns World Federation
The Robert Burns WorldFederation is the worldwide authoritative body regarding all things ‘Burnsian’; influencing and supporting the creation of new Clubs and Associations andencouraging the study of Burn’s life, works and philosophies

About UZ Events
• Glasgow-based UZ Events works nationally and internationally to create strategic, cultural events.
• Key projects that UZ Events has produced include Big in Falkirk – Scotland’s National Street Arts Festival, Glasgow Art Fair, Merchant City Festival, Glasgow International and MusicWorks.
• UZ Events continues the tradition of encouraging cross-pollination between art-forms with a commissioning policy that has resulted in the creation of some of the UK’s seminal outdoor pieces such as Improbable Theatre’sSticky, Mischief La Bas’ Painful Creatures and The World Famous’Full Circle.
• UZ Events has worked closely with the Scottish Government and relevant agencies (VisitScotland, British Council, Scottish Enterprise etc) to curate and present cultural programmes of Scottish work in New York, Canada, Sweden and Sri Lanka). Neil Butler, Artistic Director of UZ Event’s artwork Wraptheworld developed for the Millennium and produced by UZ Events was presented simultaneously in Johannesburg, Delhi, Sydney, New York, Porto and Glasgow and broadcast by the BBC worldwide.
• Artist’s biographies are available on request.

© Scoop Media

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