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The Big Burn 2014

The third Big Burns Supper Festival really found its stride this year – there was a palpable feeling that the toon had taken BBS to its heart and was joining in at every turn…..big respect to the festival team and to Doonhamers everywhere!

The Stove joined in too – it has now become a bit of a tradition that we contribute something of the outdoor ambience to BBS (not quite sure how we ended up with that job at a festival in January!). This year we staged the Big Burn – but before we get to that there were a coupl of other wee Stovish things to enjoy – we made a lantern for the procession:

The Stove’s ‘bunch of balloons’ lantern – made by Danae Marshall, Iain Gisbey, Hayley Stephens and Sara Redden. Seen here at the front of the Homecoming Parade – carried by Hayley and Sara and ably assisted by Sara’s daughter Daisy.

More pics of the amazing parade and BBS generally at Colin Tennant’s Flickrstream

Katie Anderson made her own installation ‘Close Enough’ for the close next to The Stove:

‘Close Enough’ by Katie Anderson – domestic wallpaper designs stretched and interpreted in UV paint with an accompanying soundtrack of environmental sound and spoken word

The idea of The Big Burn was dead simple – to tell folk that we were making a bonfire in the middle of the High Street and to see what happened. We hoped to make a place that people would hang out a bit and get a bit of a warm….to bring a little of a familiar bonfire vibe into an unfamiliar setting and see what happened.

Will proved his mettle as firestarter general
No barriers….no problem

The first addition volunteered for The Big Burn came from Phoebe Marshall who brought along hazel twigs, marshmallows and chocolate biscuits. Toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits makes a smoor……

Regular marshmallow action on the flaming logs that stood around the fire
Extreme marshmallow toasting

The next unexpected addition was the arrival of the Cairn Chorus who were led to the Big Burn by Wendy Stewart. They sang beautifully for 20 minutes and included the most emotionally stirring version of Auld Lang Syne that I have ever heard. The fact that we were sitting around a fire in Dumfries on Robert Burns’ birthday was lost on no-one.

The Cairn Chorus at The Big Burn

The next intervention around the fire was the arrival of a troupe of mysteriously masked dancers:

Dancers in black and white at top left

There were no clues at all to the identity of the dancers – and if anyone knew, then they were giving nothing away… they melted back into the night just as they had arrived.

One of our Turkish neighbours played a bit of drum and danced briefly… tatties were baked and consumed and tea was had. Then the D+G Fire service arrived and offered to help us put the fire out… who can refuse a handsome fireman with a hose…

D+G Fire Rescue performing at The Big Burn

And that was that really – except that the 20 or so folk who were still around the fire then all help clear away the Big Burn. A human chain was formed and 1.5 tonnes of bricks were moved to behind The Stove… in under one hour from the fire engine arriving there was no sign at all that anything had happened in the square that night – apart from some very happy memories.

Thanks to everyone who made The Big Burn such a success – great craic and lovely to spend time with old friends and new. We have a feeling this just might become a Big Burns Supper regular feature… maybe we might be allowed an even bigger fire next year???

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