May is bursting with entertainment - Burnsfest 2016
For the first time ever, The Burns an' a' that! Festival has crammed amazing events into every weekend in May.
Supported by South Ayrshire Council and EventScotland , a team within VisitScotland's Events Directorate, Burns an' a' that! continues its 15th anniversary celebrations with lots of events and entertainment throughout May.
Under the new format there are four not to be missed weekends celebrating the best of Burns landmarks in South Ayrshire across Ayr, Alloway and Kirkoswald in Scotland's Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
Headline events include the free family festival - Burnsfest Picnic in the Park, the grand opening of Souter Johnnie's art gallery, the brand new Brigs of Ayr tour and more.
Weekend One – Alloway (Sat 7 – Sun 8 May) -
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum will host a brand new food and folklore event celebrating the best in local produce, traditional music, poetry and stories. This event is free to attend (Sun 8 May). 'Jig at the Brig' on Saturday 7 May is at the Brig o' Doon Hotel. Ticket price of £22.50 and includes a glass of sparkling wine on arrival and a 2 course supper with coffee and shortbread.
Weekend Two – Kirkoswald (Fri 13 – Sun 15 May) -
Grand gala opening - Souter Johnnie's Cottage becomes a brand new art gallery (Sat 14 May 11am -4pm) with food and entertainment. On Sunday 15 May from 10am there is the new 'Barrel Roll' event based on the antics of Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnnie. The barrel roll reflects the smuggling route from the beach at Culzean through the forest and hilly landscapes to the heart of Kirkoswald.
There is also a Whisky experience, see the website for more information. www.burnsfestival.com
Weekend Three – Ayr (Fri 20 – Sun 22 May) -
Ceilidh at Rozelle Park, Ayr (Fri 20 May 7pm – 10pm). Whisky Kiss will play a mix of traditional tunes with the hottest contemporary beats. Tickets go on sale for just £10 or you can reserve a table of 8 for £75. (Tickets from www.ayrgaiety.co.uk or 01292 288235)
Burnsfest Picnic in the Park (Sat 21 May 12pm – 10pm)
Rozelle Park will host Midge Ure, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, JJ Gilmour (ex Silencers), Laura Begley (The Voice 2016) Fairground, crazy golf, archery, bushcraft skills and The Forest Creatures.
Sunday 22 May head to Ayr town centre to celebrate the twa brigs! Take part in a walking tour and make your way around Rabbie's old haunts wi' surprises a plenty. (Tickets £7.50 / £5 via www.ayrgaiety.co.uk or on 01292 288235).
Weekend Four – Ayr, Alloway, Mauchline (Wed 25 & Sat 28 May) -
Land o' Burns Beer Festival (Sat 28 May) at Ayr Rugby Club in Alloway. Featuring a hog roast and live music as well as a range of beers,cider and wines. Tickets are £5 available from Ayr Rugby Football Club or on the door.
The Cross Country League Land o' Burns 10k Road Race takes place on Wed 25 May. The race is open to competitors 15yrs and over. You can enter now via www.entrycentral.com Entries close 21 May.
Jill Cronin, Head of Enterprise, Development and Leisure at South Ayrshire Council said: "These events tap into a rich vein of history, arts and culture and there really is something for everyone and not just fans of Rabbie Burns. May is a great month to showcase what South Ayrshire has to offer as we build up to other high profile events like the The Open Golf Championship at Royal Troon and Scottish International Airshow. I would like to thank our sponsors Burns Crystal, Burns Pet Nutrition and Owen Kerr Signs for their support of Burnsfest 2016."
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: "We are proud to be supporting Burns an' a' that!, with specific funding going towards the Brigs of Ayr tour this year. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and, in Burns an' a that!' we have a festival that will undoubtedly capture the imagination of visitors and locals alike. In 2016, the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design it is fitting that the festival will be celebrating the region's most notable Burns' landmarks as part of its exciting programme."